An evaluation of risk management practices in multi-protocol label switching networks

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Mwamba, Sarah Nsama
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The University of Zambia
Risk Management has become key in ensuring stable networks. The greatest risk that service Providers (SPs) face is client, revenue and reputation damage. To avoid or mitigate these risks a good client management plan is required. With the ever increasing competition in the Telecommunication industry customers churn among service providers is common. Service Level Agreement (SLAs) are key in managing the contract between Service Providers (SPs) and customers as they specify measurable terms of what services an ISP will provide and what penalties will exist if the service provider cannot meet the established goals. The aim of the study is to analyze how SLAs are being managed with a focus on the use of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics which include availability, link utilization, latency, packet loss, and mean time to resolve (MTTR). Hence, the focus will be on what is currently being done by service provider to ensure that policies and compliance are in place and are constantly monitored. This study will help Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers compete favorably once SLAs are adhered to and continuous improvement in managing risks is exercised. Purposeful or targeted sampling was used for the study. For the client analysis 20 questionnaires were administered among all the existing banks and a 65% success rate was achieved. In addition internal questionnaires to 7 key Zamtel personnel managing the MPLS Network were also administered and 86% success rate was achieved. Lastly, an MPLS network checklist was also used for verification of network metrics and risks leading to SLA breaches were also analyzed. The results of the research are as follows. As per the agreed SLAs the following were the achieved result :70ms latency was achieved by 77% and 2% for Packet loss was achieved by 93% .The agreed MTTR standards for SME and consumers were meet though the target for Corporate was not meet. Consumer 9:42mins at threshold 24hrs, Corporate 5:29mins at threshold 4hrs and SME 7.32mins at threshold 12hrs. Key Words: Multi-Protocol Label Switching, Service Level Agreement, Key Performance Indicator, Virtual Private Network
Telecommunication industry--Risk Management--Zambia , Service Level Agreement--Telecommunication industry--Zambia