CompTIA Certifications

CompTIA Network+ 2009 Domain 5: Network Tools

Traceroute Networking Utility

The traceroute utility is used to determine transmit time of packets between networking device between a starting point and a destination. Traceroute sends a packet of information to each device in the route and asks for a reply. It measures the time of responses and can be used to determine where a failure has occurred in a route on a network. On Unix, Linux, and Mac OS systems the command is traceroute, on Windows operating systems, you will use tracert. On some IPv6 systems, the proper command is traceroute6.

Traceroute provides more information than a normal ping would – traceroute shows you the route the packet travels and shows you each stop as it’s routed through the network. Ping simply shows you the response time from the beginning of the route to the end device you’re targeting.

As we mentioned, in Windows, we use tracert – here are the options for tracert:

C:\>tracert /?
Usage: tracert [-d] [-h maximum_hops] [-j host-list] [-w timeout]
 [-R] [-S srcaddr] [-4] [-6] target_name
 -d                 Do not resolve addresses to hostnames.
 -h maximum_hops    Maximum number of hops to search for target.
 -j host-list       Loose source route along host-list (IPv4-only).
 -w timeout         Wait timeout milliseconds for each reply.
 -R                 Trace round-trip path (IPv6-only).
 -S srcaddr         Source address to use (IPv6-only).
 -4                 Force using IPv4.
 -6                 Force using IPv6.

For example, a traceroute using the Windows tracert utility show this result:

As you can see in the illustration, the traceroute shows the different hops between network routers and how long each takes. This is distinctly different than a ping which shows the total time from the remote network device and the local device.