Traceroute is a computer network diagnostic tool for inspecting and displaying the path (route) and measuring transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol (IP) network. The history of the route is recorded as the round-trip times of the packets received from each successive host (remote node) in the route (path); the sum of the mean times in each hop indicates the total time spent to establish the connection.
Traceroute proceeds unless all (three) sent packets are lost more than twice, then the connection is lost and the route cannot be evaluated. Ping, on the other hand, only computes the final round-trip times from the destination point. Traceroute is a handy tool for understanding where problems are in the Internet network. Each computer on the traceroute is identified by its IP address.
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 packets. Aside from being an entertaining exercise, requesting a traceroute also has more practical uses.
If you are having difficulty accessing a particular website or computer, for example, performing a traceroute allows you to quickly see where the problem is occurring. When a traceroute 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. On occasion, a traceroute will show one hop time, with the next two columns displaying asterisks.
This usually indicates that although one packet was accepted by the computer, the other two packets were discarded. This is not unusual; due to security concerns, many computers routinely reject multiple packages, or forward them to different sources.
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