How pingplotter works

MultiTran 3.40 [2003, Словарь, переводчик]

Год выпуска: 2003Жанр: Словарь, переводчикРазработчик: multitranСайт разработчика: http://www.multitran.ru/Язык интерфейса: РусскийПлатформа: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, 7Описание: Автоматический словарь Multitran — это система электронного словаря для переводчиков с русского, английского, немецкого, французского, испанского языков + английский словарь сочетаемости. Характеристики• 700 тематик, более 5.000.000 статей (более 100 источников, около 30.000.000 исходных статей). • Обновление словаря новой лексикой через Интернет • Поиск переводов не только для отдельных слов или фраз …

Программы / Специализированные, офисные и научные системы / Переводчики и словари
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Running the agent as a service

If you want to be able to trace from a machine at any time, you can install the agent as a Windows Service.

To install as a service, browse to the agent’s install directory using a command prompt and then enter the following command:

PingPlotter_Remote_Agent /install

After doing this the agent will show up in the control panel services applet, or you can start the service manually with this command: net start PP_RemoteAgent

To uninstall the service (remember that because there is no installer / uninstaller for now, you’ll need to manually remove it), stop the service, then run this command:

PingPlotter_Remote_Agent /uninstall

You can also use the «/reinstall» parameter to register the agent in a new location.

If any of these commands have an error, then you’ll get a popup message telling you about that error. If you have no errors, then the command will complete with no popup messages. If you do get an error, you can check in the «PP_Remote_Agent_error.log» file to see what the error was.

Note that under Windows Vista and newer, you will not have access to the user interface when running as a service. For best results, stop the agent, run it as an application to change its settings and do testing. When you have everything working the way you expect, close the application and restart the service.

Error handling and troubleshooting

A remote agent adds additional complexity to any deployment, and PingPlotter’s is no exception to this. In an attempt to keep things as simple as possible, and still satisfy our needs, we use existing technologies — web servers, HTTP, existing command-line tools (for UNIX, where good ones exist), etc.

This means that in most cases we’re dealing with familiar territory when troubleshooting. All the remote agent capabilities can be accessed via a web browser. If PingPlotter is having problems reaching a remote agent, then you can use your web browser to check and verify. You can also use PingPlotter (not the remote agent) to constantly monitor the availability of the server and route to the remote agent.

If the remote agent is inaccessible for some reason, there is a network failure between the PingPlotter machine and the agent for example, any alerts you have configured will not fire. If you want an alert to fire, you need to set up PingPlotter to monitor the agent machine itself.

There are a number of configuration challenges that might hit you here, but these should be familiar to you if you’ve done much network and/or application troubleshooting. ZoneAlarm, for example, might block access between PingPlotter and the agent machine. Other firewall issues could also come up. If you view the remote agent as a web server, the troubleshooting techniques you’ve used elsewhere should help you here too.

If PingPlotter is unable to reach the agent, because of an authentication problem or network failure, the error will appear above the trace window on the targets it applies to. This message might be an HTML error (e.g., 401 authentication failed), or a network failure message. These events will show up in PingPlotter’s time graph the same way a route change does, with the background color on the time graph matching background colors elsewhere rather than having the graph scale colors painted on.

Creating a named setting (configuration) to use a remote agent.

Named configurations are covered in more depth in the named configuration section.

  • Go back to the options dialog (Edit -> Options).
  • Create a new configuration (Right-click on the «Default Settings» in the tree view and select «New Configuration»).
  • In the newly created configuration, change the name in the main section (e.g., «via <your server name>»).
  • Go to the «Engine» section of this new configuration and select «Trace via Remote Server» from the dropdown. 
  • In the new section «Remote Server Source Settings», Enter the URL to the trace agent there. For a Windows based agent, the URL will look like this: http://yourservername:7465/. For a UNIX-based server, the URL will look something like this: http://yourservername/script_path/trace.pl (or trace.php, if you’re using the php version).

Hit «OK» to close the options dialog and save your settings.

Configuring packet types via URL

You can direct the remote agent to use TCP or UDP packet types by adding specific parameters to the agent URL.

Under Edit → Options, select the Engine configuration you created for your remote agent. In the URL field, where you specify your agent’s IP and port, enter the following URL (be sure to replace yourserver:7465 with the IP and port for your specific agent):

  • For TCP (Windows-only):
    http://yourserver:7465/?PacketType=TCP&TCPPort=443
  • For UDP (macOS-only):
    http://yourserver:7465/?PacketType=UDP&UDPPort=33434-33625

How much PingPlotter is enough?

Getting PingPlotter deployed is one thing. Knowing how much to deploy is something else. Like deployment, there are a ton of options for getting the coverage you need.

When it comes to managing local networks, we often recommend one PingPlotter Professional license per dedicated technician. This allows for more effective issue resolution and a better workflow. In some cases, it might make more sense to equip a few technicians with PingPlotter Standard instead. It all depends on your use case.

With remote networks, there are a few options. Many PingPlotter users swear by deploying PingPlotter Standard on every endpoint, while others choose to deploy Professional on a central device at each remote location.

As for deploying Cloud, the sky’s the limit! There’s no restriction on Agent deployment, so feel free to get PingPlotter on every device you plan to monitor.

Example: Local bandwidth saturation

Here, notice the big latency jumps — you have a nice flat line, then a jump in latency, including some packet loss. This pattern is one that is almost always a bandwidth saturation issue (which is the same as congestion). In the case we have here, hop 1 is inside our network (our DSL modem, actually) and hop 2 is inside of our ISP.

This is a case where we were transferring too much during this period — and we were using all of our available bandwidth. A VoIP call would suffer significantly during these periods — there is a lot of jitter (the «ragged» line is an easy way to see jitter — where packets take different amounts of time to arrive), higher latency and some packet loss. The voice quality would be bad, there would be additional lag, and it would probably have audio drops.

There are a few options for solving this one, but none of them involve complaining to anyone else:

  • You can install a traffic shaping modem that gives higher priority to VoIP data (actually, unless you’ve configured PingPlotter packets to look like voice data, you might already have one of these in place — this article does not cover that topic, though).
  • You can get more bandwidth (although that doesn’t solve all problems — as you’ll still be able to use all your bandwidth).
  • You can use less bandwidth.
  • You can get an additional broadband connection and dedicate it just to VoIP (this is an especially good idea for heavy VoIP users or businesses). The low cost of an additional broadband connection makes this viable in a lot of situations.

Example: 802.11b network near its range limit

Here’s an example where we’re connected using a computer-based VoIP service (like Skype). Our computer is hooked up to our DSL modem via a wireless 802.11b network. Hop 1 is our DSL modem.

Here, we see a little bit of packet loss being added to every hop — our wireless network is losing a few packets (about 1 to 2 percent, it looks like), and this impacts everything this computer does — including our VoIP connection.

The call quality would be generally good here (probably better than acceptable — up to the «good» range, really). The latency is fine and there is very little jitter, but there is a little packet loss. There is a problem, though — at 9:31am, our call was interrupted — it looks like hop 1 lost a bunch of packets all together and during that period, we were unable to hear anything. Let’s zoom in on that a bit.

See the period where we start getting a lot more packet loss, and then all the hops show a big block of lost packets — a period where it’s likely no packets were getting through.

Here, the solution might be to move the wireless access point, or switch to wired on that computer.

5.7.2 Beta Release Notes

New Features

  • Flex Storage refactors the way that PingPlotter stores trace data allowing for improved performance, the ability to store data in daily or monthly intervals, and improved ease of clearing data.
  • Final Hop Only engine configuration option allows users to trace the final destination only on new traces, ignoring all intermediate hops.
  • Route length column can now be added to summaries, giving the ability to see hop count for a trace.

Improvements

  • Added floating point support for PP2 file format.
  • Improved how list files are imported, allowing for custom DNS names.
  • On startup, PingPlotter will no longer keep users from running due to malformed data.
  • Improved how PingPlotter tells users if a DNS name is invalid when starting a trace.
  • Improved how comments appear, making them easier to read.
  • Improved how PingPlotter draws Timeline Graphs.

Fixes

  • Improved application shutdown times.
  • Resolved an issue with data aggregation when using a legacy database.
  • Resolved a scenario where aggregation could begin before trace data is imported.
  • Resolved an issue causing Flex Storage Beta builds to expire prematurely.
  • Resolved an issue that would sometimes cause the User Interface to freeze.
  • Resolved an issue that sometimes caused a straight line to appear where there should be no data.
  • Resolved some reported issues for importing workspaces, PP2 files, and list files.
  • Resolved an issue where PingPlotter would not color the background correctly when there is no data. (Windows)

Known Issues

  • Testing Route Adjustment via ‘Test’ button closes alerts panel. (Windows)
  • Migration from v4 does not work properly. (Windows)
  • With shorter focus periods, Timeline Graphs sometime add data a few seconds late. (macOS)
  • Packet loss configuration settings sometimes reset incorrectly. (macOS)
  • High packet loss percentage is not always displaying correctly on Timeline Graphs. (macOS)

Mac

PingPlotter for Mac downloads in a .zip file. After downloading and extracting the file, a prompt will come up asking if you want to move the program to the application folder (which we recommend doing). Once the file is extracted to the application folder (or any other location you may have chosen to keep it), it will automatically launch — and you’re all set from there.

Uninstalling

Uninstalling is a fairly straight forward process; simply move the application from wherever you’re keeping it (application folder, or elsewhere), and move it to the recycle bin. The program does store its configuration files and data in a separate location, though. To find these files, open a new Finder window, click on the «Go» option in the menu, and choose the «Go to Folder» option. From there, enter «~/Library/Application Support/PingPlotter» (minus the quotes) if running as an application, or «/Library/Application Support/PingPlotter» (without the quotes) if running as a service, which will direct you to the directory where PingPlotter stores all of its info (and you can move all of this to the recycle bin as well).

09-09-2021

New Features

  • Insights (Official Release) — PingPlotter insights is an automated analysis tool that scans PingPlotter trace data for likely issues and offers information on possible causes and suggest action. The newly added Signal Quality score will tell you how suitable the connection was for a specific task (VoIP, Web/Email, etc.) over the given time period. Insights will tell you for what percentage of time the signal was Good, Fair, or Poor.
  • LiveShare — Create a public link to read-only data of a single Target and its route. Added the ability to share Insights, a specific date range, intermediate Timeline Graphs, and Focus Periods. Manage all of your LiveShare links from the new LiveShare menu in the left-sidebar.
  • Snapshot — Use the Snapshot button, found under the Share icon, to download a .png image of data shown in the viewing window.
  • Sidekick Cloud — Sidekick has made it to the cloud! 

Improvements

  • Improved Insights’ low packet loss algorithm.
  • Updates to Insights UI.
  • Added a loading indicator to Timeline Graph and smoothed scrolling left and right.
  • Improved session load times.

Examining data with PingPlotter

Once you’ve collected some data, it’s time to have a look at what might be the problem. We cover some of the PingPlotter commands on zooming, focusing and digging in the Finding the source of the problem section.

One of the key things to know here is that we’re looking for problems at the last hop only — and then using the other hops to determine where the problem starts. Packet loss or latency that shows up only at an intermediate hop is not a problem!

Let’s look at the graph above. Notice how hop 2 has a full 100% packet loss? The final destination looks rock-solid, though — no packet loss and the latency, and it is mostly nice and smooth. This is, in general, what you want to see — a mostly flat line at the final destination, no packet loss (red lines in the time graph).

Loading a list of targets

If you’ve got a list of IP addresses, DNS names, or both, you can “bulk add” them into PingPlotter Pro as well. You’ll want to make sure your list is formatted correctly to accomplish this. In a text editor (notepad works just fine here) create a list of your addresses — one target per line. Once you’ve got everything added in, save the file with a “*.lst” extension.

Once you’ve got your list saved, in PingPlotter go to «File” -> «Load Target List File,» navigate to your list file and open it — and PingPlotter will load up the targets from the list.

Voila! PingPlotter will start to load your list of targets, one at a time — exactly as though each target was entered into the “New Target” field. Any invalid targets will prompt an error — which will prompt *after* PingPlotter gets through your entire list.

Gettin’ ping-y with it

First, let’s get one thing straight: Ping kicks ass.

Ping is lightweight and efficient — the mark of any great tool. It uses (by default) a dedicated type of packet called ICMP, which, unlike other packet types, isn’t used to transport traditional data. Instead, it carries error messages and other control information between devices to communicate things like redirects and domain name requests. Since ICMP packets are so small, they don’t eat up bandwidth and are quickly exchanged, making them a great vehicle for simple things like, say, figuring out how long it takes to send a chunk of data to and from a location.

Another great thing about ping is how it originates from the host, providing the correct perspective on your network condition. A lot of web-based tools try to diagnose issues from the outside in, which can be wildly inaccurate. Ping sends test packets from the source: your device. The data you see is accurate and actionable.

As helpful as it is, ping isn’t perfect; far from it. For starters, pinging a server can tell you a lot, but it falls short for identifying the location of any issues en route. Consider the data ping actually collects. When you send an ICMP echo request packet to an endpoint, you learn two things:

  • Whether your packet made it to its destination (or the response made it back to you).
  • How long it took.

That’s it.

While knowing latency and packet loss frequency is useful in identifying the existence of a problem, that’s all it does. Ping is like a firefighter who just tells you your house is on fire — important information, but not very helpful for, you know, making things not on fire.

Another issue is tied to ICMP packets themselves and how some devices and firewalls handle your pinging. There’s a lot to unpack with that, but here’s the short version: Some routers and firewalls turn down or ignore ping packets to keep evil ne’er-do-wells from breaking stuff. Is it the sort of pitchfork mob-inducing issue people make it out to be online? Nah. But it is a thing ping struggles with.

It’s these shortcomings that make ping-only tools a hard sell. However, there is another option that addresses many of ping’s issues…sort of.

Troubleshooting a local network

When you need to solve a local network issue, it’s as easy as grabbing a copy of PingPlotter and launching the installer!

You can always find the latest version of PingPlotter on our download page. This one download has every edition (Professional, Standard, and Free) built-in, so you have one stop for whatever you need. Once you enter your credentials, PingPlotter will switch to the right edition, and you’ll be ready to trace!

Perspective matters!

It’s important to remember: It’s best to deploy PingPlotter on a device experiencing issues. This way, you can see the problem from the device’s point of view. We’ve got a great article showing why the correct perspective is such a big deal. Check it out!

Learn more!

However, there’s an even easier way to get PingPlotter deployed locally. PingPlotter’s account system has entitled builds with your license info baked right in. Once you log in, simply click on the version you’re after and the entitled build will begin downloading.

After you get PingPlotter installed, you can use tools like Local Network Discovery to identify devices on the network, or simply start tracing to a preferred destination to test a connection.

Version 5 Manual

Welcome

A network connection probably isn’t something you think about on a regular basis. When it isn’t working right (or stops working all-together)… well, that’s a completely different story. At that point, it’s *all* you can think about. The only thing that’s worse than your network connection not working? Trying to figure out why it’s not working.

If you’re reading this, odds are you’ve encountered (or are currently encountering) this exact situation. Or maybe you’re just preparing yourself ahead of time (go you!). No matter your current network situation, PingPlotter can help you get to the bottom of these kinds of problems faster, so you can find a solution and get back to not having to think about your connection.

PingPlotter was originally created in 1998 to troubleshoot unacceptable lag in an online game (a problem which that particular ISP was claiming no responsibility for at the time). Over the years, the program has grown, and added a variety of features and capabilities. Today, it’s a very powerful network monitoring, troubleshooting, and diagnostic tool, which is used by a variety of users — from the “weekend troubleshooter” to full-time network administrators.

PingPlotter can help with a variety of different network related woes — and can be a great help to you if:

  • You rely on a network or internet service, which happens to be having problems — such as slow performance, random disconnects, or other similar issues.
  • You’re a systems administrator — and you need to know when connectivity to one of your servers goes down (and want some evidence of where/when/why it went down).
  • A provider is telling you that they can’t see any problems (when you’re clearly having issues) — and you need to show them where the problem really is.

In general, if you’re a user of something that relies heavily on a network or the internet, such as:

  • A web browser
  • VoIP services/video chat
  • Online gaming
  • Streaming audio/video
  • An ASP for your business (such as payroll, accounting, human resources, etc)
  • Home automation products

If you’re here, one of the above bullet points most likely applies to you. There are, however, a few scenarios where PingPlotter may not be the right tool; if you have hundreds (or thousands) of network nodes with many services you need to monitor, if you need true SNMP capability (although PingPlotter can trigger SNMP traps via alerts), or if you need auto-discovery of network nodes.

What to look for

There are many issues that could be affecting your Teams call quality. Here are some of the most common:

Device completely «down»

This result would show a bunch of solid red bars from the beginning of the route to the end. It can also start a “hop” or two down the line.

What do I do if I see this?

  • If it’s starting at the very beginning of the trace, try giving your router a reboot.
  • If that doesn’t help, and the pattern persists after you’ve given it a reboot, you may need to look into a replacement router.
  • If the red is starting a hop or two down, contact your ISP.

WiFi interference

With this, we’ll see some red beginning at the start of the route similar to what we saw with a device being down, but more sporadic. This is normally caused by poor WiFi access point placement or by too many networks broadcasting nearby (apartment complexes are notorious for this).

What do I do if I see this?

  • You can try a router or WiFi access point reboot right off the bat.
  • Switch to a different wireless band. Most WiFi access points these days have dual-band; try to hop onto the other band temporarily.
  • If the above isn’t possible, you may want to look at where you put your router or WiFi access point. Make sure that it is away from metal (including electrical conduit), and is away from televisions, microwaves, and Bluetooth devices like speakers.
  • You may be experiencing saturation on your current WiFi channel. You can research the model of router or WiFi access point you have, and search for “channels”. You might want to set the device to switch channels automatically or search for a channel that isn’t being overused by nearby networks.
  • If that doesn’t shape it up, you can acquire an Ethernet cable and plug your computer directly into your router. We always recommend a wired connection over a wireless one.

Bandwidth saturation

Normally, the pattern that indicates that you’re overusing your bandwidth would look like the above: an almost sawtooth-like pattern, which may or may not have a clear start and stop point.

What do I do if I see this?

  • Check for bandwidth to see right away if you have too little bandwidth or are using too much of what you have.
  • Use less bandwidth by limiting your demand on your connection. Close down music streaming, video streaming, and so forth.
  • Throttle your network. This one’s a bit harder. Search for the model of router you have, and add terms like “rate limiting” or “bandwidth limiting”. That should get you to an explanation of how to throttle back the traffic a bit.
  • If this continues to be an issue, you may need to contact your ISP and ask if you have a higher bandwidth tier available to you.

Example:

Lets say that we have three offices: a «main» office in Boise, a branch in Amsterdam, and one in Tokyo. With a single instance of PingPlotter running at our Boise office, we already know that we can monitor the connection between us, and the other two offices. We can also monitor our connection from the Boise office to our business and VoIP server.

When using remote agents deployed on machines in both the Amsterdam and Tokyo office, we can now also measure the connection from both of those offices to both the business server, and VoIP server as well — all from the single instance of PingPlotter that’s running back at our headquarters in Boise!

5.14.3 Beta Release Notes

New Features

CloudConnect Management — Manage CloudConnect Agents from within the web interface. This includes downloading Agent builds, copying activation links, editing Agent names, and creating or deleting Agents.

Fixes

  • The Focus Period now functions as expected
  • Several actions that did not previously update immediately now do (such as Rename Summary, Edit Notes, and Edit Name)
  • Resizing column widths functions closer to as expected
  • Adding/removing columns functions closer to as expected
  • The Windows alerts panel now functions as intended

Known Issues

  • Selecting multiple traces does not currently function
  • Timeline Graph sorting does not currently function
  • Latency warning colors on the Trace Graph only function on default settings
  • Switching workspaces will sometimes cause an error (Windows)
  • Importing a .pp_sample file doesn’t always import successfully (Windows)
  • Alert setup doesn’t always function correctly (macOS)

The graphs

A PingPlotter image (the combination of graphs you see on a target screen) should be your go-to first report. These images has been used by many, many thousands of people to communicate their problems to their provider.

If the image you see doesn’t seem compelling, or doesn’t capture the right picture, you may need to adjust your view. You can drag the time graph back, and focus is on a period that shows the problem.  Depending on the problem, you might want to widen your view a bit to show periods of OK along with the periods of problem. Maybe 12 hours if your problem period is 6 hours, or 2 hours if it’s 45 minutes.  Right-click on the time graph to pick the appropriate time, then drag back and forth.

Once you have the time graph focused on the period you want, turn on the appropriate hop graphs. Hops that have latency or packet loss that isn’t represented in the final destination (a topic we cover in more detail here) shouldn’t be highlighted, while ones near the origin should be.

Once you’ve got that view, you can get the upper statistics to show the part you find important. You can leave it at «auto», which will have the upper and lower graph show the same time frame. Or you can switch the upper graph to a time period less than the lower graphs. If your lower graph is focused on 12 hours, you can set the upper one to 6 hours, and then double-click on the time graph to move the focus period. This will let you pick the statistics that show your problem and will also show the lead-in and exit to the problem.

Now span a picture via Edit -> Copy as image or via File -> Save as Image

This concept is more succinctly covered in our video tutorial.

There are ways to export, too, but the analysis tools coupled with the image creation tool really create a powerful case.

There are a few ways get a picture of your PingPlotter graph(s). The quick way is to select the “Edit” -> “Copy as image option” (which will copy the graph you’re viewing to your clipboard). The column and graph sizing will match up exactly to what you see on your screen — so make sure everything you want to show is explained. Another method is the “File” -> “Save Image…” option.

01-04-2021

New Features

Agent-based summaries — We’ve added new auto-updating target summaries for each individual Agent. The Agent menu tab now has a dropdown where you can find each individual Agent summary.

Improvements

  • You can now create LiveShare links for Agent summaries.
  • The LiveShare editor has been enhanced to allow for viewing all configured LiveShare links. Use the clear filter icon next to the header in a normal summary/Agent LiveShare list screen. When in filter-free mode, Cloud shows the name of the summary/Agent the link is configured for.
  • Updated Timeline Graph visibility logic to share between different screens (target/summary/Agent) instead of duplicate code.
  • Offline Agents now appear red in the Agent selector if the Agent is offline.

The road ahead

This new interface is just the beginning of what’s planned for the near future. Since we’ve had a tendency to keep our cards close to the chest, we wanted to give you some insight into what we’re actively developing, especially when it comes to the web.

Our primary goal is getting the web interface as close to one-to-one with the PingPlotter client as possible. One of the biggest draws of the web interface is the ease-of-access for remote deployments, as software clients can be a hassle to use when remoting in from off-site. One of the best ways to use PingPlotter is to deploy it remotely, and we want to make that experience the best there is.

We still have a little ways to go with web/client parity:

  • First, there are settings. Currently, engine settings (such as packet types or NIC selection), need to be set client-side. We want to have the full breadth of system options available from the web, and we’re not too far from having it ready.
  • Second, we’re hard at work incorporating another core feature: alerts. While we plan to have the full toolbox implemented, PingPlotter wouldn’t be PingPlotter without its robust alert system. Making sure alerts are functioning reliably is a top priority.

Outside of parity, we have a number of features we plan to implement in the near future:

  • The biggest — and most requested feature by far — is read-only support. We’ve had almost daily requests for a read-only web interface, and it’s definitely in the works.
  • This pairs with another critical component on our roadmap, which is multi-user login support. It’s hard to have a read-only interface without access restrictions, and you can’t restrict access if you can’t manage users. We’re going to have a lot to say about this one in 2020, so be sure to stay connected with us.

We can’t give specifics on timeframes or timelines, but we think this glimpse into the future will help you get the most out of the web interface today while looking forward to what’s coming next.

Installing the Windows Agent

The PingPlotter remote agent for Windows is a self-contained executable that includes a small server and some portions of the PingPlotter core trace engine. This agent can run as an application or as a service under Windows XP or newer.

Note: Presently the Windows agent does not come packaged with an installer or uninstaller.

  • Download the Windows remote agent from the agent download page.
  • Extract the agent (PingPlotter_Remote_Agent.exe) to a working directory (e.g., c:\Program Files\PingPlotter Remote Agent).
  • Browse to the directory where you extracted the agent and launch it. The agent will show up in the system tray.
  • Ensure your firewall(s) allow access to the agent on TCP port 7465, or change the server port for the agent. To change the port, as well as other settings for the agent, double-click on the tray icon.
  • From your PingPlotter machine, launch your web browser and access the agent at http://(your agent machine name):7465.
  • Verify the output. It should look something like this (in your browser):

PingPlotter Pro Remote Windows Agent V0.8.2.18

Tracing to:

Error: Must specify an IP Address

Continue on to the

The windows agent has a few options, to see about its use, see the section.

Traceroute does a lot, but…

If there is one network test as ubiquitous as ping, it’s traceroute. Traceroute provides more of the information you’re often looking for when trying to fix a problem, providing a better picture of a network by showing data on each hop between you and your target.

It’s hard not to see how traceroute makes for a more versatile and effective network testing option than ping. Finding the root cause of any network issue often means checking into each potential failure point. To do that with ping would require:

  • Knowing the address of every device between you and your endpoint.
  • Knowing exactly when dynamic routing causes a change in your route.
  • Taking all the data you collect and comparing it to spot patterns.

You don’t have time for that — nobody does! Traceroute, on the other hand, uses a set of packets to essentially “feel out” every hop between you and your specified target. This creates both a list of devices and their corresponding latencies.

With traceroute results, you can actually see where the data from your ping test originated. Did latency suddenly triple four hops in? Do test packets never make it past your router? Traceroute tells you.

But traceroute isn’t perfect, either.

For starters, traceroute is slooooooooow. Because of how traceroute sends packets, it’s required to wait on the device (such as a router) at one hop to respond or timeout before sending to the next, and the more hops there are, the longer it takes.

This is compounded by another shortcoming: traceroute isn’t continuous. To do any real troubleshooting, , you need to be testing constantly. Why? Because you’re unlikely to spot the real issue on the first try.

Imagine trying to take a picture of a lightning bolt. Unless you’re lucky (or the storm’s really bad), taking one random shot with your phone isn’t going to catch it.

To get an accurate picture of your network status, you need to continuously collect data.

Traceroute doesn’t do that, and even if it did, it would do it in a really unhelpful way. If you told traceroute to send a million packets, it’d just send a million packets to the first hop, wait for them all to come back, then send a million packets to hop two, etc. — like watching a ripple without seeing the pond. Going the other way, by sending only one packet to each hop and repeating, would just net you wildly inconsistent and relatively unusable data. Again, traceroute’s too slow.

But you know what isn’t slow? Ping.

And that’s where the actual best tool comes in.

Selecting Multiple Targets

You can  select multiple targets and apply changes to them (pause, change the trace interval, use a different configuration, or add them to a summary screen). This is a pretty easy process, too. Hold down either the “CTRL” (for Windows) or the Command (for Mac) key on your keyboard, and click on a few different targets. If the targets you’re needing to select are in order, you can click one, hold down the shift key, and click on the last one in the list to get the whole group.

Once you’ve got multiple targets selected, any changes made in the target bar will be automatically applied to the selected targets. There are also a few options (pause, resume) available via the right click menu.

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