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Traceroute is a utility that allows us to determine the route data packets take to get to a particular host.

Similar to the ping utility which shows us the overall time taken to reach the host, traceroute breaks this process down further by showing us the statistics of each hop the packets go through.

It works by increasing the TTL (time to live) value of the packets and recording the time taken to reach each hop until the final destination is reached.

There are various programs available that will perform a traceroute for you, but one of the most commonly used is that provided as part of your operating system.

Windows has a DOS based utility called tracert that allows us to check and troubleshoot connections, and help identify any hops which may be causing a problem.

To do this Start >>> run >>> type "cmd"
Then from the prompt type "tracert [destination]".

tracert window

Interpreting the results.

to [] Resolves the host name to an IP no
over a max of 30 hops By default the no of hops is set to 30.
This can be changed by using the -h command.
eg "tracert -h 20
1 <1 ms router

Time in milliseconds to reach the first hop.
In this example it shows it has taken less than 1 millisecond to reach my router.

2 23ms 24ms 25ms By default 3 packets are sent, so we can see an average by (23 + 24 + 25) / 3 = 24ms [] refers to the IP address of the next hop.
DNS resolves this address to the name
Using the -d command stops the host names being resolved to the IP address.

Occasionally you may see "*ms" displayed.
This means that this hop has timed out, whilst waiting for a reply.
You could use the -w command to increase the time-out.
e.g. "tracert -w 5000 [host]" to allow replies within 5 seconds.


Save your results.

Ive done a tutorial here on how to save your results and also how to output them to a text file.

Tracert Commands

syntax - tracert [options] destination_host

-d   Do not resolve address to hostname.
-h max hops Sets the maximum no of hops to try to reach the host.
-j host-list Loose source route along host-list.
-w timeout Timeout in milliseconds to wait for each hop reply.
Ctrl + C Stop tracert
> c:\filename.txt Send results to a text file


See also the software section for tracert tools


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