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Tracing the Network Path

Last Modified: 2015-09-23
I want to know what is the network path which is taken from Location A to Location B & the return path. What is the way to achieve this ?

Is there any way to identify the path taken from Location A to Location B is the same as the return path from Location B to Location A.

Let me know how to check it.
Watch Question

tracert (Windows) or tracepath (Linux) will be what you'll want to run. Do you have access to a system at both locations? You will need to in order to find the return path.
Miftaul HICT consultant

Extended ping can do that from a cisco device.
Don JohnstonInstructor
Top Expert 2015

Best way is to ping and use the record route function. But that only works up to 9 hops.

For example, for a windows PC, you can use "ping -r 9"
Miftaul HICT consultant

Tracert/Traceroute will give the path info from source to destination but will not give return path info from destination to source.
Cyclops3590Sr Software Engineer

it also kind of depends on the path that your packet takes between the two locations and how much detail you want to know.  you won't see every hop if it goes thru a tunnel of any kind (by design of how the technology works though) or MPLS networks (which is label switching, not IP so again by technology design).

Just something to be aware of anyway if you "know" there should be more in the trace list than you see.  There could be technologies used that mask "real" hops due to encapsulation.

but yes, trace route is what you want as that is the most, from a purely clients perspective, way to tell the path your packet takes.
AkinsdNetwork Administrator

pathping <destination ip or hostname>

Using a PC. This does not show return path either but you will have to assume or hope that the to and fro paths are the same. May not be the same if there are alternate paths, especially if traffic conditions or policy exist


ping -r9 <IP Addresss> gives me the ping response with the path from source to destination.
I am not able to find out the reverse path for the ping reply to confirm if it the same path or diff path.

The traceroute also does the same. Any idea how to achieve this....
Cyclops3590Sr Software Engineer

run the same commands from the other side.  there's really no other way without having direct insight into the routing environment between the two points.
AkinsdNetwork Administrator

You can try the source route option with tracert. That will give you your return path but unfortunately, this is usually blocked as hackers take advantage of it.

Usage: tracert [-d] [-h maximum_hops] [-j host-list] [-w timeout]
               [-R] [-S srcaddr] [-4] [-6] target_name

    -d                                  Do not resolve addresses to hostnames.
    -h maximum_hops    Maximum number of hops to search for target.
    -j host-list                  Loose source route along host-list (IPv4-only).
    -w timeout                 Wait timeout milliseconds for each reply.
    -R                                  Trace round-trip path (IPv6-only).
    -S srcaddr                    Source address to use (IPv6-only).
    -4                                   Force using IPv4.
    -6                                   Force using IPv6.

Usage: ping [-t] [-a] [-n count] [-l size] [-f] [-i TTL] [-v TOS]
            [-r count] [-s count] [[-j host-list] | [-k host-list]]
            [-w timeout] [-R] [-S srcaddr] [-4] [-6] target_name

    -t                             Ping the specified host until stopped.
                                   To see statistics and continue - type Control-Break;
                                   To stop - type Control-C.
    -a                            Resolve addresses to hostnames.
    -n count                 Number of echo requests to send.
    -l size                     Send buffer size.
    -f                            Set Don't Fragment flag in packet (IPv4-only).
    -i TTL                     Time To Live.
    -v TOS                    Type Of Service (IPv4-only. This setting has been deprecated
                                   and has no effect on the type of service field in the IP Head
    -r count                  Record route for count hops (IPv4-only).
    -s count                  Timestamp for count hops (IPv4-only).
    -j host-list          Loose source route along host-list (IPv4-only).
    -k host-list         Strict source route along host-list (IPv4-only).
    -w timeout             Timeout in milliseconds to wait for each reply.
    -R                        Use routing header to test reverse route also (IPv6-only).
                                    Per RFC 5095 the use of this routing header has been
                                    deprecated. Some systems may drop echo requests if
                                    this header is used.

    -S srcaddr          Source address to use.
    -4                              Force using IPv4.
    -6                              Force using IPv6.

Usage: pathping [-g host-list] [-h maximum_hops] [-i address] [-n
                [-p period] [-q num_queries] [-w timeout]
                [-4] [-6] target_name

    -g host-list                 Loose source route along host-list.
    -h maximum_hops       Maximum number of hops to search for target.
    -i address                      Use the specified source address.
    -n                                    Do not resolve addresses to hostnames.
    -p period                        Wait period milliseconds between pings.
    -q num_queries             Number of queries per hop.
    -w timeout                      Wait timeout milliseconds for each reply.
    -4                                     Force using IPv4.
    -6                                     Force using IPv6.
Cyclops3590Sr Software Engineer

source routing won't give reliable data though because you specify that list.  So it only pertains to that trace route test.  It's not the true return path for normal data.
Top Expert 2015
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Will check this options


I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for SrikantRajeev's comment #a39774946

for the following reason:




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