The need for an easy-to-use, automated, feature-rich monitoring tool is increasing as organizations adopt new technologies. Understanding the overall infrastructure of your network is highly essential to resolving any performance-related bottlenecks since network troubleshooting is the primary task of any network admin.
A traceroute tool helps trace the route taken by the data packets between the source and the destination device. It helps the network admin troubleshoot the network easily because it sheds light on each component of the network through which the data packets travel. Choosing the right tool among the various tools available in the network market will be a game changer for your organization. Read on to learn more about traceroute tools.
Where is a traceroute tool used?
A traceroute tool is a troubleshooting tool that empowers network administrators with clear insights into the network, drilling down to the micro-activities happening within it. Any enterprise with multiple devices that interact with each other, like routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, wireless LAN controllers, servers, VMs, printers, and storage devices, needs a potent network monitoring tool. This ensures seamless continuity of services. A network monitoring tool with integrated traceroute software helps admins solve potential threats before they begin affecting the network as a whole.
How does a traceroute tool work?
As traceroute software helps trace the route taken by the data packets, it aids analyzing the entire network infrastructure brick by brick. The data is broken down into packets, and each packet travels through the IP network by hops. With each hop, the traceroute tool evaluates the time taken, the number of hops, and the IP of the nearest node device. Now, let us dig deeper into how a traceroute tool executes each step.
Traceroute software uses ICMP to carry out the entire operation.
- First, the IP addresses of the source and destination devices are fed into the traceroute tool. The process is initiated by chunking the data into data packets. There is an 8-bit portion present in the head of each data packet called the time to live (TTL), and its value ranges from 0 to 255. The rule is that whenever the data packet passes through a router, the value of the TTL reduces by one, and whenever the value is 0, the packet gets discarded. This mechanism makes sure routing loops do not occur.
- Beforehand, the routers have to be configured to transmit the ICMP responses. When the data is sent, the process in the background begins with a data packet that has a TTL value of 1 being sent to the nearest router. The TTL value is then depreciated by one, so the packet is discarded. The tool now understands the time taken, the number of hops, and the IP of the nearest node device from the recent activity.
- Now, the source device sends a data packet that has a TTL value of 2. The packet travels to the nearest router, where the value depreciates to 1, and then the data packet hops to next nearest router. The TTL value becomes 0. The data packet now drops and is discarded. Meanwhile, the time taken, the number of hops, and the IP of the nearest node device is calculated for the entire process.
This process continues until the destination device is reached. The metrics measured are presented in a comprehensive table. This is exactly how traceroute software works and maps the path taken by the data packets.
Finding network issues with a traceroute tool
There are many reasons for a network to jam, making continuous monitoring of the network crucial. A sick network might be due to faulty devices, a loose or defective connection, or poor performance (like packet loss, packet duplication, latency, throughput, jitter, and routing loops). These are some of the common network issues that a traceroute tool identifies. Traceroute software calculates the packet loss and latency using ICMP on Windows machines and UDP packets on Unix machines.
Intrepreting the network performance report is crucial for sorting out any network issue. A single high round-trip time value does not mean your network is sinking due to latency. Similarly, only a series of packet loss shows up as a network issue. If the packet loss is consecutive, the response time column will have no entries. For latency, the response time value would be high.
Advantages of using a traceroute tool
With a traceroute tool, you will be able to:
- Ensure proper internet connectivity and continuity of services within the network.
- Understand the network architecture better.
- Comprehend the path taken by the data packets within the IP network with the help of the time taken, the number of hops, and the IP of the nearest node device measured at each step.
- Figure out the response delays happening over digital communication.
- Pinpoint network issues, like packet loss, latency, and network looping.
Integrated traceroute software in OpManager
OpManager is a comprehensive network monitoring solution with integrated traceroute capabilities. Once the traceroute activity is carried out, OpManager executes it on the installed device as well as the associated devices. It generates insightful reports that help you understand your network better and instantly resolve performance bottlenecks.