Traceroute

by Francis

Isn’t it amazing that a website hosted in far away country can be displayed on your device just in few seconds.

Your favorite social networking platform connects you with billions of people on a mere web-page/app. The data loads so fast that it feels like we’re in a direct connection with the site as if it were to be a local entity. But that ain’t the reality.

Not since, two kids took the half of a coconut shell and connected it to the other half with a string, and gave some reference to Graham Bell who came up with an idea to invent the Telephone. Those were some earlier direct connections which were going to bring a revolution in the field of connections.

Well when you request an information via Internet, it doesn’t directly connect you with the source. In fact, your request travels through many computers, servers, networks, etc and finally reaches to the source. The request packets are fulfilled by the source and it returns the requested data passing through the same cluster of devices. That is what it takes to a web-page/ image/ video to get onto your device.

What If we can trace the route of that particular data we’re receiving?

Yes….! tracing the path of your data through the cluster of computers/servers/networks it has traveled and the time it takes to process passing through each of them. That seems sort of geek/hacker stuff. But I assure you, its a very very common thing in the field of computers.

Just like in medieval eras mages used spells to perform magic, we have to use a command known as traceroute in a terminal a.k.a mode to use Command Line Interface e.g Command Prompt for Windows. Listed below are forms of traceroute used in different operating systems.

You can use a particular domain or an IP address too.

For Windows

Command for IPv4

> tracert yourdomainname.com

Command for IPv6

> tracert -6 yourdomainname.com

For Linux

Command for IPv4

> traceroute yourdomainname.com

Command for IPv6

> traceroute -6 yourdomainname.com
How does data traveled traced and read in traceroute?

Each device on a trace route is identified by its IP address which defines a unique network with the device.

Here are a few details regarding a traceroute:

  • The journey from one computer to another is known as a hop.
  • The amount of time it takes to make a hop is measured in milliseconds.
  • The information that travels along the traceroute is known as a packet.

A traceroute readout typically will display three separate columns for the hop time, as each traceroute sends out three separate packets of information to each computer. At the very top of the list, the traceroute will give the limit of how many lines of hops it will display—30 hops is often the maximum number.

When a trace route has difficulty accessing a computer, it will display the message “Request timed out.” Each of the hop columns will display an asterisk instead of a millisecond count.

Enjoy! Have a Good Day.

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