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Router - Tracing Your Packets

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 | August 10, 2021 WIB Last Updated 2021-08-10T15:56:28Z

Fews will really care about the path your packet takes in sending a message, but if you are one of those hi-tech egg heads, you may be very interested in this article. It can become very addictive and therefore proceed with caution.

If you use an operating system based on Microsoft Windows, tracking the route your message has taken is very easy. Not just that, you can see just how many routers it took to get your message from A to B. You can do this by using a program called Traceroute on your computer. That's what the program does. It traces the path that a message takes to its final destination.

You must go to a DOS prompt to run the program. After that, go to the C:\windows directory, type tracert and the URL of the website with which you are connected at the time. It gives you a fairly technical spec sheet of every IP address it stopped on the way to its final destination.

The first number on the spec sheet shows how many routers it passed to reach its final destination. Then every individual router listed on the page is numbered between 1 and the last destination. The next 3 numbers on each router line show how long it took for the packet to reach the router. The following piece of information on each line is the actual name of the router through which the information was received. Yes, there are names for routers. This may be important for the users but completely irrelevant for the router. Finally, the last piece of information on each line is the router's actual IP address.

The time required to get information from one router to another varies depending on the amount of traffic that is currently on that route. Normally, it's just a few seconds away. But sometimes it can be longer. This is why you try to access a website sometimes and it appears to take forever. This can be for a number of reasons, but usually because one of the routers does not work properly and needs to be bypassed. Sometimes the actual final location is down or has problems, and the delay is the last router to connect to the network in the chain.

Traceroute does not restrict itself to simply checking the number of routers between you and a website. You can use it to check the number of routers in a network between you and any other computer. You can trace the packet route between you and the other computer as long as you are aware of the IP address of the other computer.

In our next installment, we will examine how routers deal with denial of service attacks and other issues.

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