When I type tracert into the command prompt, it tells me tracing route over 30 hops. Is there someway to get it to trace to an infinite number of hops? (winXP btw)
When I hit enter, I see one column of numbers that incriment by one as it goes down the page, I think that would be the hop number.
There there are 3 columns of numbers each with what appears to be a time (ranging from 200ms to 2500ms), but sometimes it is a star. What do the times, and stars (asterisks) represent?
Then the last column holds IP addresses and strings that are in the same line as an IP address, but are infront of the IP address, example: rc1wh-ge1-2-0.vc.shawcable.net [188.8.131.52]. How would I convert that into a real world address.
The goal being that I tracert something (one of my friends lives in South Africa, I live in Canada, and I want to see how my data travels), then be able to plot on a map where my data is going. Is this possible?
No. Traceroute works by sending packets with a TTL (time to live) of 1, then 2, and so on for each hop. The packet’s TTL decreases each time it’s passed from one router to another, and when it reaches 0, the router sends back another packet saying “sorry, your packet died”. Your traceroute program receives that response, pulls out the address of the router that detected the expired packet, and shows it to you.
Therefore, the hop count is always finite - each packet’s TTL starts at some initial value and counts down. Allowing infinite TTL would be a disaster, because misconfigured routers would end up bouncing packets back and forth in infinite loops.
Now, you can set a higher maximum TTL to trace longer routes, but the TTL can only go so high (64, I think). This is enforced by the routers in between you and your target, and probably by the OS on your computer as well.
The time is how long it takes to get a packet from you to that hop (and back? I’m not sure). Each hop is measured three times so you can get a feel of the average time. You can pick out international links and other slow connections because the time will increase a lot between one hop and the next.
An asterisk means there was no response before traceroute got tired of waiting, and probably indicates an overloaded or broken link.
There are programs that’ll show traceroutes on a map. I guess they have a big database of which company owns each IP block and where that company is located.
Without one of those programs, it’s not easy. Sometimes you can tell by looking at the hostname… for example, shawcable.net is a cable modem provider in Canada, and the abbreviations “rc”, “wh”, “ge”, or “vc” might be meaningful to someone who knows Canadian geography better than I do. Or they might just be random letters.
There are reverse IP services and web sites available as well, although they just give you text, not a fancy trace map. When I search on my IP address though, I get a location that’s a good 4 or 5 hour drive from here, which I believe is where the central office of my ISP is located. Don’t count on it being too accurate.
This can also indicate a router that, for whatever reason, doesn’t send back a response when the traceroute packet expires. I always get three asterisks on hop #2, right after my wireless router, no matter what route I’m tracing. I’m not sure if the missing hop is my cable modem or some piece of equipment at Comcast’s end.