We know data travels across the internet in small packets. But it does not fly from one computer to another computer instead it passes through various network devices. But, can we determine an approximate path through which the packets travel ?
The answer is yes!
It can be done by using
tracert command on Windows which is equivalent to
traceroute command on Mac and Linux.
Note : These commands take some time to execute so be patient or to cancel mid-way press
traceroute displays the route taken by packets from a local system to reach a remote server/host over an IP network (network that uses IP to send and receive messages between one or more computers).
tracert sends ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) echo packets to the destination and listens for the reply.
Trace route sets the TTL to 1 and increments it for every hop. The routers receiving the message decrement this value and when it reaches 0 they reply a message that the TTL has reached zero. This reply then tells client (which executed the command) from where it has returned. This process continues until the Destination is reached.
Following is a
www.facebook.com. That I have used to plot the map shown above.
C:\Users\ROUNAK POLLEY>tracert www.facebook.com Tracing route to star-mini.c10r.facebook.com [18.104.22.168] over a maximum of 30 hops: 1 2 ms 1 ms 1 ms 192.168.0.1 2 4 ms 3 ms 3 ms 172.17.149.1 3 7 ms 21 ms 13 ms node-203-171-243-1.alliancebroadband.in [22.214.171.124] 4 7 ms 7 ms 8 ms 192.168.199.109 5 4 ms 4 ms 4 ms node-203-171-240-1.alliancebroadband.in [126.96.36.199] 6 42 ms 45 ms 46 ms 172.31.180.57 7 42 ms 43 ms 42 ms ix-ae-4-2.tcore1.CXR-Chennai.as6453.net [188.8.131.52] 8 84 ms 77 ms 78 ms if-ae-3-3.tcore2.CXR-Chennai.as6453.net [184.108.40.206] 9 74 ms 75 ms 75 ms if-ae-6-2.tcore2.SVW-Singapore.as6453.net [220.127.116.11] 10 94 ms 81 ms 77 ms 18.104.22.168 11 77 ms 78 ms 77 ms po121.asw02.sin1.tfbnw.net [22.214.171.124] 12 78 ms 77 ms 78 ms po224.psw04.sin6.tfbnw.net [126.96.36.199] 13 77 ms 76 ms 79 ms 188.8.131.52 14 78 ms 76 ms 76 ms edge-star-mini-shv-02-sin6.facebook.com [184.108.40.206] Trace complete.
Output of the command :
- The output is divided into columns which are
hop Number, RTT 1, RTT 2, RTT 3 Domain Name and IP Address
RTT stands for Round Trip Time.
192.168.0.1is the IP address of my router. And alliancebroadband.in is my ISP (Internet Service Provider) etc.
- If a router does not respond within a timeout (TTL) then asterisk is printed. For example :
3 * * * Request timed out. 4 5 ms * * node-203-171-243-1.alliancebroadband.in[220.127.116.11]
- Generally when we use a IP location finder on the IP addresses returned by
tracertwe see that some of the IP(s) are private. This is due to the fact that these are the internal IP(s) of servers/gateways of some organizations.
'Hops' are nothing but the computers, routers, or any devices between the source and the destination.
For using different options with
tracert type 'tracert' and press 'enter' (In the command prompt). It will show all the available syntax.
To visualize the physical locations we just use any IP Geolocation service like https://www.iplocation.net . And then simply plot them on the map.