TraceRoute tool

With the growing needs of enterprise networks, organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to monitor and manage their network infrastructure. Network admins are turning to additional tools and resources that could make their jobs a little easier, particularly in regards to troubleshooting.

Currently, network admins largely use simple, freely available utilities like ping tools, Syslog forwarders, and ipconfig to assist their monitoring and troubleshooting efforts. One of the most crucial tools being used in network troubleshooting is traceroute, and it is widely used to check connectivity and continuity issues within your network. Read through to unwrap everything about the traceroute tool.

What is the purpose of a network traceroute tool?

In the simplest sense, traceroute is a tool that is used to check the continuity of a network connection from a source to a destination device. It sends a specific amount of data to your end device and checks if the data transmission occurs without any issues too and from the device. Traceroute can be used for the following purposes:

  • To ensure proper connectivity between devices by tracing each step along the transmission path
  • To identify latency or packet loss issues along the path
  • To locate faulty configurations that create network loops, resulting in total packet loss
  • To accurately identify the source of response delays

How does traceroute work?

Traceroute is a very simple network operation, but it provides a lot of valuable troubleshooting data for admins. When you run a traceroute, these are the technical actions that are carried out:

  • Once a destination IP/DNS is provided and the command is executed, the device identifies the shortest path to the destination and sends four packets of data to the nearest device on the path. This is performed using IPMI protocol.
  • The nearest device successfully receives the traceroute request and sends back the four packets. Now the IP of that device is recorded, along with the number of hops to reach that device (one in this case) and the response time.
  • The same process is repeated for all devices along the path, with the number of hops progressively increasing as the packets move towards the destination. For each step, all the metrics mentioned above are recorded.
  • To ensure that the data is as accurate as possible, each packet is sent to every device a total of three times, and for each attempt, the average response time for the four packets is displayed in the results.
  • Once the packets reach the final step, the destination device sends the packets back to the source one last time. Now the device's IP, the number of hops, and the response times are aggregated and displayed in a table, starting from the closest device and ending with the destination device.
  • If any packet loss issues were detected on the path, some or all of the corresponding response time values would be displayed as empty. Similarly, if there were latency issues for a device on the path, the response times for that device would be significantly high, which will help you identify the faulty device.

How is the TraceRoute tool useful for troubleshooting network issues?

Assume that you are a member of a network administration team for a large enterprise. A few employees working from a remote location have a server on the premises of the organization with critical application data, and this server has been responding very slowly for the past 30 minutes or so, resulting in a poor user experience. This has been reported as critical, and you have been asked to troubleshoot this issue.

In this case, you can initially run a traceroute to the server from the premises in order to identify local connectivity issues. If no issues show up, you can then try again from an end user's device to find where the response is getting slowed down or lost. By tracing every step along the path, the TraceRoute tool will give you detailed data that will enable you to accurately identify which part of the network is causing the issue. For example, by looking at the individual response times for each hop, the admin can determine which part or device in the network has the highest response times and initiate the troubleshooting actions from that point.

Integrated TraceRoute capabilities with OpManager

With OpManager, our integrated network monitoring solution, you need not look far to make use of traceroute in your troubleshooting processes. The TraceRoute software is integrated into the product by default, and it can be accessed from the Device Snapshot page of any device that has been discovered in OpManager.

With this highly useful utility built right into the framework of the product, your troubleshooting tasks become much easier and more efficient. Simply click the TraceRoute button on the Device Snapshot page, and OpManager will run a thorough traceroute action from the server where the product is installed to the end device and display the critical metrics mentioned above.

The response times from the server to the destination device will be displayed for every device along the path, along with the number of hops. This will help you get a quick idea of the underlying network issues between your end device and OpManager, as well as where the response times are the highest, thereby helping you identify performance bottlenecks and underperforming devices.

Download a free, 30-day, fully-functional trial of ManageEngine OpManager to try this integrated TraceRoute solution as part of our comprehensive network monitoring software.

 

FAQs - Traceroute systems

What is traceroute tool?

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What is the purpose of traceroute tools?

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Why is a traceroute tool important?

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