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Ping and traceroute

From Ever changing code

Ping

Windows ping

C:\>ping 8.8.8.8

Pinging 8.8.8.8 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=23ms TTL=46
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=51ms TTL=46
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=23ms TTL=46
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=23ms TTL=46 

Ping statistics for 8.8.8.8:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 23ms, Maximum = 51ms, Average = 30ms

The result indicates that four 32 byte test packets were sent and were returned from host 8.8.8.8 in a average time of 30 ms. TTL stands for Time-to-Live and defines the number of hops that the ping packet has remaining before it will be dropped.

TCP traceroute

The regular traceroute usually uses either ICMP or UDP protocols. Unfortunately firewalls and routers often block the ICMP protocol completely or disallow the ICMP echo requests (ping requests), and/or block various UDP ports. However you'd rarely have firewalls and routers drop TCP protocol on port 80 because it's the web's port. Example here runs on Linux.

Let's try to traceroute www.microsoft.com using ICMP protocol:

# traceroute -I www.microsoft.com  
traceroute to www.microsoft.com (65.55.57.27), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
 1  50.57.125.2 (50.57.125.2)  0.552 ms  0.647 ms  0.742 ms
 2  core1-aggr701a-3.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.50)  0.415 ms  0.555 ms  0.653 ms
 3  corea.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.128)  0.707 ms  0.873 ms  0.984 ms
 4  bbr1.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.147)  1.345 ms  1.341 ms  1.337 ms
 5  * * *
 6  204.152.140.33 (204.152.140.33)  3.614 ms  3.747 ms  3.244 ms
 7  xe-0-2-0-0.ch1-96c-2b.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.46.49)  3.319 ms  4.019 ms  4.010 ms
 8  ge-7-0-0-0.co1-64c-1a.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.40.94)  53.543 ms  53.105 ms  53.074 ms
 9  xe-5-2-0-0.co1-96c-1b.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.40.165)  52.942 ms  52.710 ms  52.670 ms
10  * * *
11  * * *
12  * * *
13  * * *

We get lots of * * * and we've no idea how the packets reach www.microsoft.com.

Now let's try UDP traceroute:

# traceroute -U www.microsoft.com
traceroute to www.microsoft.com (65.55.57.27), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
 1  50.57.125.2 (50.57.125.2)  0.529 ms  0.599 ms  0.662 ms
 2  core1-aggr701a-3.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.50)  0.480 ms  0.571 ms  0.658 ms
 3  corea.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.128)  0.507 ms corea.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.124)  0.463 ms  0.569 ms
 4  bbr1.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.145)  1.345 ms  1.322 ms  1.290 ms
 5  * * *
 6  * 204.152.140.35 (204.152.140.35)  2.697 ms *
 7  xe-0-2-0-0.ch1-96c-2b.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.46.49)  3.665 ms ge-7-0-0-0.co1-64c-1a.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.40.94)  53.363 ms  52.597 ms
 8  xe-3-1-0-0.co1-96c-1b.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.33.190)  52.284 ms  52.643 ms xe-0-1-0-0.co1-96c-1a.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.33.177)  52.665 ms
 9  * * *
10  * * *
11  * * *
12  * * *
13  * * *

Same. Finally let's try traceroute over TCP protocol port 80:

# traceroute -T -p 80 www.microsoft.com
traceroute to www.microsoft.com (65.55.57.27), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
 1  50.57.125.2 (50.57.125.2)  0.540 ms  0.629 ms  0.709 ms
 2  core1-aggr701a-3.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.50)  0.486 ms  0.604 ms  0.691 ms
 3  corea.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.128)  0.511 ms corea.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.124)  0.564 ms  0.810 ms
 4  bbr1.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.147)  1.339 ms  1.310 ms bbr1.ord1.rackspace.net (184.106.126.145)  1.307 ms
 5  chi-8075.msn.net (206.223.119.27)  3.619 ms  2.560 ms  2.528 ms
 6  * 204.152.140.35 (204.152.140.35)  3.640 ms *
 7  ge-7-0-0-0.co1-64c-1a.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.40.94)  52.523 ms xe-0-2-0-0.ch1-96c-2b.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.46.49)  3.825 ms xe-1-2-0-0.ch1-96c-2b.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.46.53)  3.355 ms
 8  xe-0-1-0-0.co1-96c-1a.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.33.177)  61.042 ms  61.032 ms  60.457 ms
 9  * * xe-5-2-0-0.co1-96c-1b.ntwk.msn.net (207.46.40.165)  100.069 ms
10  65.55.57.27 (65.55.57.27)  53.868 ms  53.038 ms  52.097 ms

A full network path to www.microsoft.com!

Standard ICMP tracert

This is implemented in Microsoft Windows and Linux without using any switches.

Each hop in the tracert results displays the routes that the packets take when traveling to the final destination. The PC sends three ICMP echo request packets to the remote host. Each router in the path decrements the time to live (TTL) value by 1 before passing it onto the next system. When the decremented TTL value reaches 0, the router sends an ICMP Time Exceeded message back to the source with its IP address and the current time. When the final destination is reached, an ICMP echo reply is sent to the source host.