Using traceroute in command prompt

Traceroute is a valuable tool when trying debug your internet or lan connection and for seeing what your computer may connect to on its way to remote webservers. It also has many other purposes.

Traceroute (used in windows) comes in two forms currently. Both forms can be utilized through the command prompt. First, you need to open up the command prompt. After opening, you can access either version of traceroute by using the command tracert (for IPv4) and tracert6 (for IPv6). Both function similarly, and if you are unsure of which to use, IPv4 is probably the one you need to use.

By default, traceroute only needs one argument to display data. Traceroute requires that you give it an ip address or a domain name (i.e. your destination). For example, for me to use traceroute to see what my information goes through to get to google, I would type "tracert www.google.com" into the command prompt. The commandprompt will start spitting out data about your connections as it is recieved, so it may take some time.

Both versions of traceroute support other arguments. One of the most useful of them is the timeout argument, represented by -w. If you are performing a traceroute and certain devices are taking a long time to respond, you can filter them out using a timeout. For example, if you set the time out to 3000 miliseconds and if a host does not respond in 3 seconds, your computer will ignore that host, speeding up your tracert. If I want to see all of my computer network's relays to google, but timeout when responses take over 2 seconds, I would use the following command: "tracert -w 2000 www.google.com".

In addition to that, another useful parameter is the -h (hops) limit. It will limit tracert to a certain number of hops before it stops trying to reach the target. For example, if I only need the first 3 hops in my previous tracert to google, I could add in "-h 3". The final result would be
"tracert -h 3 -w 2000 www.google.com".

Remember, if you are having internet connection issues or problems, you can probably find a 'missing link' or a slow responding host using the traceroute command in the command prompt.

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