Traceroute

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A Traceroute or tracert is a network tool that calculates the path taken by network traffic from one destination to another, it can be useful in diagnosing networking problems.

Imagine a packet is a car on a journey, the car starts its journey at your home, it drives to the end of your road and takes a turning (hop), the time taken to get to this location is the ping, it then takes the turning, drives to the end of that road, this process repeats until your car has reached its final destination.

Sometimes the car cannot take a certain route, or can but can't report the time it took, this can either indicate a problem, or the fact the hop (or junction) has blocked the reporting, or a firewall has, this can be perfectly fine.

Running a Traceroute

Windows

WinMTR is the tool of choice for Windows traces. There is a command in cmd, but WinMTR provides more data.

Installation

Download WinMTR, it does not matter which version you choose as both the 32 and 64 bit versions are bundled together.

Once downloaded, you will have a zip file, extract this and navigate to the folder with the 32/64 bit folders.

WinMTR Files

Select the relevant version, if you are unsure, use the x32.

There are some README.TXT files which are worth reading for additional help and info.

Running

The exe files are portable, they do not need installing, you can just double click and it will start a GUI, if you read the README.TXT you can add it in as a command line tool.

Double click the WinMTR.exe, it will start up a program.

WinMTR GUI
A. Hostname/IP input
B. Start/Stop button
C. Copy E to clipboard
D. Export E to file for saving
E. Trace output

Enter the hostname or IP you want to trace to in A, and press the start button in B.

The trace will run until it is stopped, or the program is closed/exited, however, you will need to export or copy the data out first (C or D).

If you export the data (E), then save it to a text file, alternatively, copy it out using C, then paste it where required.

Once you have the results, send it to us with all the required information.

Linux

MTR is the tool of choice to Linux traces. This will perform a ping command as well as tracing the route.

Installation

Debian/Ubuntu
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install mtr-tiny
CentOS
yum update
yum install mtr-tiny

Running

In your terminal, run the command:

mtr hostname or IP
mtr -r hostname or IP

Using the -r option will send 10 packets and provide a report after a few seconds, without this option, you will be given a live trace that updates.

Running MTR

Reverse Tracing

If you have access to the destination via SSH or RDP, you should run a trace back to the original source, send us the results.

Sending Results

If you have run a trace, and a reverse trace, send us the results.

If you have only run a forward trace, send us the results, but also send us a source IP (the IP you ran the trace from), you can find the source IP by visiting this website on the source: What's My IP.

You can have multiple users run traces and send them in to us.

Important Notes

  • Whilst traces can give us a good indication of where there might be an issue, it may also not show anything at all.
  • Traces may indicate an issue that is outside of our control, such as outside our network, for example, if an issue is indicated with your ISP, you would need to contact them yourself and arrange any possible fixes.
  • More traces can be useful, have a few users run them and provide source IPs or run reverse traces yourself if you can
  • Only run traces when you suffer, or believe you suffer, from network related issues, running a trace when the network is fine will not show anything useful.
  • Run the trace for as long as you can, a few minutes is normally enough, carry on as normal when it is running.