Browse Definitions :
Definition

traceroute

Contributor(s): Cynthia Armistead, Jonathan Combs, Udo Oji, and Jong-Ho Won

Traceroute is a utility that records the route (the specific gateway computers at each hop) through the Internet between your computer and a specified destination computer. It also calculates and displays the amount of time each hop took. Traceroute is a handy tool both for understanding where problems are in the Internet network and for getting a detailed sense of the Internet itself. Another utility, PING, is often used prior to using traceroute to see whether a host is present on the network.

The traceroute utility comes included with a number of operating systems, including Windows and UNIX-based operating systems (such as IBM's AIX/6000) or as part of a TCP/IP package. If your system doesn't include the utility, you can install it. There are freeware versions that you can download.

How It Works

When you enter the traceroute command, the utility initiates the sending of a packet (using the Internet Control Message Protocol or ICMP), including in the packet a time limit value (known as the "time to live" (TTL) that is designed to be exceeded by the first router that receives it, which will return a Time Exceeded message. This enables traceroute to determine the time required for the hop to the first router. Increasing the time limit value, it resends the packet so that it will reach the second router in the path to the destination, which returns another Time Exceeded message, and so forth. Traceroute determines when the packet has reached the destination by including a port number that is outside the normal range. When it's received, a Port Unreachable message is returned, enabling traceroute to measure the time length of the final hop. As the tracerouting progresses, the records are displayed for you hop by hop. Actually, each hop is measured three times. (If you see an asterisk (*), this indicates a hop that exceeded some limit.)

If you have a Windows operating system, try traceroute out by clicking on Start-->Programs-->MS-DOS Prompt, and then at the C:WINDOWS prompt, enter:

tracert www.whatis.com

or whatever domain name for a destination host computer you want to enter. You can also enter the equivalent numeric form of the IP address.

This was last updated in September 2005

Continue Reading About traceroute

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • RSA algorithm (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman)

    The RSA algorithm is the basis of a cryptosystem -- a suite of cryptographic algorithms that are used for specific security ...

  • remote access

    Remote access is the ability to access a computer or a network remotely through a network connection.

  • IP Spoofing

    IP spoofing is the crafting of Internet Protocol (IP) packets with a source IP address that has been modified to impersonate ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • network disaster recovery plan

    A network disaster recovery plan is a set of procedures designed to prepare an organization to respond to an interruption of ...

  • virtual disaster recovery

    Virtual disaster recovery is a type of DR that typically involves replication and allows a user to fail over to virtualized ...

  • tabletop exercise (TTX)

    A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a disaster preparedness activity that takes participants through the process of dealing with a ...

SearchStorage

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data...

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object ...

  • optical storage

    Optical storage is any storage type in which data is written and read with a laser. Typically, data is written to optical media, ...

Close