The traceroute is a necessary tool that every network admin should be familiar with. This feature will help you to troubleshoot network issues effectively.
What is Traceroute?
The Traceroute is a utility that records the route through the Internet between your computer and a specified destination computer. It also calculates and displays the time each hop took.
What is Hop?
In a packet-switching network, a hop is the trip a data packet takes from one router or intermediate to another in the network. The number of hops a packet has taken is called the hop count.
The traceroute tool is included in many operating systems like Windows and Unix based operating systems. In Windows, the traceroute is a command tool. Along with the Ping command, it is useful for understanding Internet connection problems.
Suppose you are having problem connecting to a website. The ping will tell you whether the site is alive or not. Otherwise pinging may be disabled in the server. Now, the traceroute will tell you where the actual problem is. It is as powerful as it can visualize the path traffic takes between your computer and the webserver. The traceroute is otherwise called tracert.
How to use traceroute tool?
When you tried to go to a website, have you ever thought about the path of the traffic? There is many intermediaries between the web server and a local computer such as the local router, the ISP’s router, etc.
Steps to traceroute on Windows
1) Click on Start
2) Click in the search box
3) Type “cmd”
4) You will get the terminal box. Now type the following in the box.
where example.com is the website we are trying to traceroute.
Steps to traceroute on MAC
1) Click on Hard Drive
2) Open Applications
3) Open Utilities
4) Click on Terminal
5) The command prompt will be opened. Type in the following command with your domain name.
Steps to traceroute on Linux
1) Open the CLI from Applications >> Utilities >> Terminal.
2) Run the following command in the terminal.
These are the ways to use the traceroute command in various operating systems. Let’s see the features of the utility now.
How to troubleshoot with the tracert?
We can use the tracert to find out where the packet stopped on the network. In the following example, the default gateway has found that there is no valid path for the host on 184.108.40.206
See an example below.
Tracing route to 220.127.116.11 over a maximum of 30 hops
1 18.104.22.168 reports: Destination net unreachable.
While using the traceroute, there are also many options we can use when using the tracert command. Let’s see the options that can be used with the tracert and the purpose of the various options.
Options to use with the traceroute utility
We are going to see the following options and their meaning in the traceroute utility. Options are same as the switches in the Linux commands.
-d – Specifies to not resolve addresses to host names.
-h maximum_hops – Specifies the maximum number of hops to search for the target.
-j host-list – Specifies loose source route along the host-list.
-w timeout – Waits the number of milliseconds specified by timeout for each reply.
target_host – Specifies the name or IP address of the target host.
See an example of using the options with the tracert utility.
tracert -d -h maximum_hops -j host-list -w timeout target_host
This is how traceroute works and using the traceroute utility to troubleshoot network issues.
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