In telecommunications, superframe (SF) is a T1 framing standard. In the 1970s it replaced the original T1/D1 framing scheme of the 1960s in which the framing bit simply alternated between 0 and 1.

Superframe is sometimes called D4 Framing to avoid confusion with single-frequency signaling. It was first supported by the D2 channel bank, but it was first widely deployed with the D4 channel bank.

In order to determine where each channel is located in the stream of data being received, each set of 24 channels is aligned in a frame. The frame is 192 bits long (8 * 24), and is terminated with a 193rd bit, the framing bit, which is used to find the end of the frame.

In order for the framing bit to be located by receiving equipment, a predictable pattern is sent on this bit. Equipment will search for a bit which has the correct pattern, and will align its framing based on that bit. The pattern sent is 12 bits long, so every group of 12 frames is called a superframe. The pattern used in the 193rd bit is 100011 011100.[1][2][3]

Each channel sends two bits of call supervision data during each superframe using robbed-bit signaling during frames 6 and 12 of the superframe.

More specifically, after the 6th and 12th bit in the superframe pattern, the least significant data bit of each channel (bit 8; T1 data is sent big-endian and uses 1-origin numbering) is replaced by a "channel-associated signalling" bit (bits A and B, respectively).[1][2]

Superframe remained in service in many places through the turn of the century, replaced by the improved extended superframe (ESF) of the 1980s in applications where its additional features were desired.


  1. Motorola (September 1996). "Appendix D: T1 Overview" (PDF). FT100 M User's Guide. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  2. Davidson, Floyd (5 Oct 1998). "Re: T1 signalling". Newsgroup:
  3. T1 Overview Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
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