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traceroute
Last modified: Thursday, August 26, 2004 

(trās´rowt) (n.) A utility that traces a packet from your computer to an Internet host, showing how many hops the packet requires to reach the host and how long each hop takes. If you're visiting a Web site and pages are appearing slowly, you can use traceroute to figure out where the longest delays are occurring.

The original traceroute is a UNIX utility, but nearly all platforms have something similar. Windows includes a traceroute utility called tracert. In Windows, you can run tracert by selecting Start->Run…, and then entering tracert followed by the domain name of the host. For example:

tracert www.pcwebopedia.com

Traceroute utilities work by sending packets with low time-to-live (TTL) fields. The TTL value specifies how many hops the packet is allowed before it is returned. When a packet can't reach its destination because the TTL value is too low, the last host returns the packet and identifies itself. By sending a series of packets and incrementing the TTL value with each successive packet, traceroute finds out who all the intermediary hosts are.

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For internet.com pages about traceroute . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

A Traceroute-Like Analysis of IP Packet Responses to Determine Gateway Access Control Lists 
This 1998 paper from Goldsmith and Schiffman describes firewalking and examines the risks of using the technique. (pdf)

Yahoo!'s traceroute utilities page
Yahoo!'s directory of traceroute utilities.

related categories

Internet

Networks

related terms

firewalking

hop

packet

ping


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