Net Tool Box - The Ultimate Mac Networking Utility

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What does it do?

Traceroute is a well-known tool that uses the ICMP protocol (the Ping protocol). It is used to trace a network packet from your computer to another host somewhere on the internet.

How does it work?

It works similarly to the Ping tool, in the sense that it uses ICMP Echo packets to return each route "hop". The Traceroute tool utilizes an attribute that can be set to any ICMP packet; the "TTL" (Time To Live). This determines how many hops the packet will take before coming back. Traceroute uses this by progressively sending ICMP echo packets to the target, each time with an incremented TTL. This will then ping each router on the path and return it's address, rather than the actual target.

How do I use it?

Note: The first time you use Traceroute, Traffic Watcher or Packet Watcher, you will be asked to Authenticate. This is separate from the “Edit > Authorize” system; it is required only once for these tools – and it will do all three at once.

When you open a Traceroute Window, for most cases, you can just use the default settings, and type the host you want to trace to. If however, you want to either: change the Maximum number of hops a trace will take, how large you would like the ICMP packet to be or specify the number of times each router will be pinged, then change the options accordingly.

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© Charlie Boisseau 2005

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