Trace route (tracert) is a check utility for advanced users to troubleshoot their network connections. It allows you to determine packet loss and the time each packet is taking to reach its intended destination.

a. Header: Above your tracert will be the IP address (a series of numbers in the xxx.xx.xx.x format) as well as the address simple name (like microsoft.com). This confirms where you are trying to tracert your packet to.

b.Column 1 Hop count: The first column tells you the “hop count,” which is summed at the bottom telling you the total number of computers your packet had to hop to reach its destination. It is also the reference for your other columns.

c. Columns 2,3 and 4,Interpreting your data : Tracert sends three packets to your destination and times them; each packet is represented by column 2, 3 and 4, respectively. The time is in milliseconds, and at the bottom you wil see the total time each packet took. You will also get an asterisk (*) if the request timed out. The * lets you know the packet did not reach its destination, indicating a communication problem or slowdown at that particular network hub. Between 5 and 30 ms is a good high-speed hop; between 35 and 60 is average; anything above 60 represents significant network slowdown.

d. Column 5 : Column 5 lists the long and short IP name and number of your destination hops. It is in the same format as your header.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Look at the first line under your traceroute command on your computer screen; this line acknowledges your request and lets you know what the traceroute is doing. You will see the domain name to which you are tracing the route, along with the IP address for that domain name. The line also indicates how many hops (lines) the traceroute will allow before terminating.

2. Note the subsequent numbered lines. Each line represents a router that you are passing through to reach your target website. The routers appear in sequence, showing you the exact route your Internet connection is taking. For example, “1” is the first stop, and “2” is the second.

3. View the first part of each line to find the name of the router you are hitting. Following the name of the router, you will see the router’s IP address. After the router IP address, you will see two to three sets of numbers followed by “MS” for millisecond. These numbers tell you how long it takes for data packets to make a round trip from your computer to that router, and back to your computer. The round trip is made two to three times, so you can get a feel for the average time the data packets take to travel. When your traceroute has completed, you will see “Trace Complete.”

4. Check the traceroute for “***” in place of the router name. The line will end with “Request Timed Out.” This may mean that the router has a firewall that is blocking your computer. It also may indicate the source of the breakdown that is preventing you from reaching a website.

Unless that router belongs to your Internet service provider, all you can do is wait for the router to become operable again; however, you at least will know that the problem is not on your end, saving you the time and trouble of attempting unnecessary repairs or adjustments.

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