Ping vs Traceroute: How to Troubleshoot Your Connections




When it arrives to Ping vs Traceroute, they the two have their advantages in helpint to troubleshoot connections.

The PING utility is a person of the most popular and most practical networking instructions. It is the initial command that will come to brain when experiencing network reachability issues. It’s also the 1st command that needs to be issued when there is a require to come across out regardless of whether a specific host is “alive” or not.

The ping command employs the services of the Online Handle Message Protocol (ICMP), the latter currently being encapsulated in the IP header. Thus, the ping utility operates essentially on layer 3 (the Community layer) of the OSI product. It does not use the products and services of the Transport layer, and the reason for that is that website traffic reliability difficulties are not the case here. Ping performs a easy host lookup.

TRACEROUTE is yet another really valuable utility that operates equally to ping and also uses the companies of the ICMP protocol. Traceroute, as the identify implies, is used to trace the path in between the sender and the destination host. It is a a person-way trace, this means that it traces the route from the source to destination and not the other way around, which by the way, may abide by a unique path. Traceroute also works by using the companies of Consumer Datagram Protocol (UDP), in particular implementations, as the transportation layer for a specific reason that we’ll go into even further on.

So initial, allows begin with an overview of ICMP protocol and then we can get into the information of how ping and traceroute use this protocol to execute their duties.


Web Handle Message Protocol (ICMP)

ICMP is a Community layer protocol that belongs to the team of manage protocols very similar to ARP and RARP. ICMP protocol has been developed with the unreliable properties of the IP protocol in thoughts. Because of to this unreliability and connectionless actions of IP, there was no way of informing the originator host that something went completely wrong in the course of details transmission. ICMP has been developed to give this function.

ICMP messages report back to the sender when a little something surprising takes place, giving the individual a clue of what might have absent erroneous. I want to remind you that ICMP does not clear up the dependability troubles of IP that is up to the higher layer (the Transport layer) to complete. ICMP messages are encapsulated in IP packets as noticed below:

ICMP Encapsulation

Image 1: ICMP Encapsulation

ICMP messages use the adhering to structure:

ICMP Message Format

Image 2: ICMP Message Structure

The most crucial ICMP message sorts are stated beneath:

Important ICMP Message Types

Graphic 3: Crucial ICMP Message Kinds


Troubleshooting with PING

Allows take a look at the conduct of the ping command with the enable of Ethereal application. Very first, to launch the ping command the most basic way is to open a command prompt window and kind in PING [ip address of the host to reach], or if DNS company is jogging sort in PING [URL of the destination host]. From time to time, the extended ping command, which troubles steady echo ask for messages, is extremely practical. The format of this command is PING –t [IP address of the host]. The ping command operates the same way in Windows, Unix, Cisco machines and in every single other networking gadget. The theory is the similar, even nevertheless variants on the extended functions of the command may well exist.

In the next impression you can see a ping command in the direction of the URL of DNS question is executed to start with to translate the URL to an IP address, and then 4 echo ask for message varieties are transmitted. Transmit packets are time stamped. When the remote host gets these echo requests, inside the echo reply messages it consists of the timestamp enclosed in the echo ask for. On acquiring the reply information and executing uncomplicated calculations, the round trip hold off time is discovered and noted:

Executing the Ping Command

Impression 4: Executing the Ping Command

Looking at the Ethereal trace, you can see that the echo ask for ICMP concept has the form industry value set to 8. This is the normal worth for echo ask for messages. Also detect that the TTL industry has the value of 128 (Prevalent value for Windows platforms). This value implies the variety of hops the packet is authorized to traverse ahead of acquiring dropped. This benefit, owing to scattering of networks, should have a wonderful value — something higher than 64. Cisco machines use a TTL value of 256.

Echo Request Message Encapsulation

Graphic 5: Echo Request Message Encapsulation

Below you can see 1 of the echo reply messages as captured by Ethereal software. It can be observed that the ICMP echo reply concept has a type price (zero):

Echo Reply Message Encapsulation

Graphic 6: Echo Reply Message Encapsulation


Troubleshooting with TRACEROUTE

The traceroute command operates equally to ping. On Cisco routers and Unix platforms the format of the command is: TRACEROUTE [destination IP address] or TRACEROUTE [URL of the destination host]. On Home windows machines the perform of traceroute comes with the command TRACERT (shorter for trace route), which operates in a a little unique manner than in Cisco and Unix platforms (details on this are underneath). Traceroute employs a clever way to capture the footprint of a packet’s journey. We will use an imaginary example (see the subsequent impression) to help us examine how traceroute achieves its intent:



  • RouterA prepares an ICMP echo ask for concept, encapsulates it in an IP packet possessing Source tackle=, Desired destination tackle= with Time-To-Are living (TTL) value=1, Desired destination UDP port= anything at all not used (ordinarily increased than 30000) and forwards it.

  • RouterB, upon getting this packet, decrements one particular unit from TTL worth, hence TTL will become , which suggests that it has to fall this packet. It replies back again to the sender with an ICMP Time exceeded concept, like its source address in the SA field of the IP header (SA=

  • RouterA gets the response and prints out on the screen the initial hop (IP deal with=

  • Afterwars, RouterA sends the same echo request message with TTL price=2.

  • RouterB decrements it by a person and forwards it to RouterC which decrements by 1 all over again (TTL=), forcing it to return an ICMP time exceeded message with SA=

  • RouterA now prints out the second hop on display (IP tackle=

  • At last RouterA sends an ICMP echo request with TTL worth=3 which is terminated on RouterD. The latter passes the packet to the transportation layer wherever the incorrect UDP port variety triggers RouterD to concern an ICMP Port Unreachable message.

  • RouterA upon getting this message from RouterD is aware of that it has attained the remaining hop which prints out on display screen and stops sending any a lot more messages.

Traceroute Example

Image 7: Traceroute Instance


A True Illustration of Traceroute

Now that we comprehend how traceroute is effective, allows see how it behaves in a real condition. Utilizing command prompt under Home windows host, TRACERT to is issued. The consequence is shown in the graphic down below:

Printout of TRACERT Command

Image 8: Printout of TRACERT Command

By looking at the image above, you can see that every single ICMP echo ask for concept is recurring three situations ahead of the sender increments the TTL worth and resend the request message. The 3 round journey hold off moments for all three messages are provided at the starting of every single hop. A couple of request timed out messages arrive from routers that are configured not to reply to ICMP echo request messages.

The image underneath displays the material of the echo reply information received from (message amount 20 as revealed on figure 8). Despite the fact that we would anticipate an ICMP concept with variety price=3 (Port Unreachable), a TTL exceeded concept (kind=11) is gained. This variance comes from the truth that in Windows platforms UDP ports are not used.

Time Exceeded Message from Destination Host

Impression 9: Time Exceeded Concept from Location Host

The Home windows platforms, on receiving an echo reply message from the ultimate desired destination, situation a few a lot more echo request messages to that host for this reason the previous observed echo reply concept on in the iamge above.


What Can Ping and Traceroute Do for You?

Ping and traceroute commands can be very handy — if employed properly. Use the PING command when the existence of a host is what interests you. Use TRACEROUTE in Cinsco and Unix or TRACERT in Windows to get an strategy of what route your packets consider to get to their location.

Do NOT rely on traceroute to give you the precise route path of your packets. Maintain in brain that ICMP operates on leading of IP. Also, keep in mind that IP is unreliable, which means that not every single packet towards the exact desired destination constantly usually takes the exact same path. What’s more, obtained messages may well abide by various paths each individual time, so make sure to take care of traceroute effects cautiously.

Both of those ping and traceroute are extremely important in exposing concealed community malfunctions aside from standard troubleshooting. Talking from personal encounter, extended ping utility has the moment exposed a components glitch which had the symptom of dropping packets randomly during peak hour targeted traffic. Therefore, will not ignore to take gain of ping’s unique abilities.

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