Traceroute is a command used in networking to determine the path messages travel across the network/internet. It is a useful tool in determining when messages or pages are not getting through the network or working to find out where the problem is. Knowing where the problem is determines whether it is your problem or someone else’s responsibility.

The traceroute command is a fairly simple one to use. In Windows you will go to command prompt to run the command. The command is spelled differently on different operating systems. In Linux, the command is traceroute. In Windows, the command is tracert. The shorter version in Windows is because Windows came from DOS and DOS limited filenames and commands to eight characters. In the following examples I will do as in Windows.

The command is simply tracert and the destination. The destination can be an IP address, or it can be a URL like www.dwightwatt.com. You will enter the command as tracert 192.16.3.1 or tracert www.dwightwatt.com.

The computer sends a PING command with extra instructions to reply from every router. You will then see in the reply each router it reached (the name which often tells you whose and where) and the IP address of the router and the amount of time to get there measured in milliseconds. If it reaches the destination you will get destination reached, otherwise you will be told it timed out after a point and you can look at last router listed to know where it got.

Traceroute is a good tool for network technicians and users to have in their toolbox to find problems location.

Dwight Watt does computer work for businesses, individuals and organizations and teaches about computers at a college in Northwest Georgia. His website is www.dwightwatt.com. His email address is dwight@dwightwatt.com.

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