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PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver

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PDF icon PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver Installation and Getting Started Guide
PDF icon PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver User Guide

Enhance Your Traceroute Data with the PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver

PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver Click for larger image

The PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver helps resolve IP addresses from a tracroute into device & interface info - as well as performing reverse-lookups based on subnet masks to ID interfaces in a path that would otherwise go unresolved.

The PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver (TRR) is a Windows® application designed to enhance network traceroute results with additional information on Enterprise routing devices including their interfaces, link speeds, subnet masks, etc. and/or to easily find any of this information from search results.

This information is essential for:

  • Troubleshooting network or application performance problems
  • Conducting network impact and performance assessments
  • Day to day administration of network devices and LAN/WAN links

The PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver uses your network information data to provide:

  • Device Name
  • Device Interface
  • Link Speed
  • Subnet Mask
  • Interface Description
  • Other Essential Information

The Search feature makes finding information on specific devices and interfaces quick and easy - even without a traceroute.

The 'Show Same Subnets' feature does a search when a record cannot be found that matches an IP address in a traceroute hop and displays information for a device/interface in the same subnet. This often allows identification of a WAN link which would otherwise go unidentified.

Performing a traceroute from a user location to the target application server is an essential first step in troubleshooting application performance issues or performing a network impact and performance assessment to accurately identify all of the routing devices and WAN links in the path and measure network latency.

The TraceRoute Resolver matches traceroute IP addresses for each hop with records from a Network Information file which has been pre-prepared from available sources of data such as a network management system and/or manual compilation.

TRR results can be saved to a text file in Tab-delimited format or Copy/Pasted into applications such as Microsoft® Excel®.

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The latest version of the TraceRoute Resolver is:
Version:     Version Date: Dec 26, 2016.
This version has no license expiration date.

Note: It is preferable to unzip and save the TraceRouteResolver.exe and the associated PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver User Guide.chm & .pdf files into the same (user selected) location so the help file can be opened from a menu selection; however, this is not necessary for better portability of the TraceRouteResolver.exe.

Get up and running quickly:

PDF icon PacketIQ TraceRoute Resolver Installation and Getting Started Guide

PDF icon Example NetworkInfo.csv file - you have to create one of these with YOUR network data

PDF icon Network Info Spreadsheet - create your NetworkInfo.csv file from this

Why do I need the TraceRoute Resolver?

When troubleshooting a networked application performance issue, or conducting a network impact and performance assessment prior to implementing new applications, it is essential to accurately identify the network paths between the user locations and the application server(s) so that bandwidth allocations and usage levels can be measured on all of the WAN links in each path and to measure network path latency, as these can be significant factors in networked application performance.

A traceroute can also uncover a routing problem that wouldn't have been revealed otherwise – so performing a traceroute to definitively identify the network path devices and links should be one of the first steps in most analysis and troubleshooting activities.

If your network is fairly small you might know the configuration off the top of your head, but if your network is regional, national, or global in size you can’t reasonably know all of the pertinent devices and link details - so you’ll probably go looking for a network diagram. The problem with network diagrams is that they can be oversimplified and leave out important details and/or they may be dated and inaccurate – if they exist at all.

The only way to accurately and positively identify all of the WAN links in a network path is to perform a traceroute between the end-user location(s) and the application server(s), resolve the traceroute information into network devices and interfaces, and identify any in-path WAN links connected to those interfaces.

A traceroute is a computer network utility that displays the IP address of the interface on each router (or switch that performs routing functions) that a network packet enters along the path between the station executing the traceroute and a target host/device. If that router’s interface IP address has been included in a Domain Name Server (DNS), the name of that device will be displayed as well, but many Enterprise organizations don’t record IP addresses for switch/router devices in DNS, so you may only get the IP address. The result of performing the traceroute is a list of IP addresses (and maybe the device names) for each ‘hop’ in the path, and the round trip time (RTT) network latency to each hop.

Note that the IP address for the interface a packet exits from on each switch/router on the way to the next network device is not displayed – so to positively identify all of the interfaces involved in a network path the traceroute may need to be performed from both ends of that path (unless you can do a 'same subnet' calculation on the known interface IP addresses, which is tedious work - more on that later). Note too that the traceroute does not identify the entry interface on each switch/router device directly (such as ‘FastEthernet 1/0/1’) – it only returns the IP address of the interface - you need to resolve the interface information from the IP address for each hop.

A traceroute only identifies interfaces on routing devices – it does not identify LAN switch ports if they are not performing a routing function. For network impact and performance assessments, it is generally assumed that the LAN devices and ports at data centers and end-user locations are high throughput/low latency paths, but for application performance troubleshooting the CPU and memory usage should be checked on these devices, and utilization and packet error counts should be checked on the applicable LAN interfaces and ports as well; knowing which routing devices are involved in a path can make it easier to identify the associated LAN switches.

Cisco Traceroute Example
Example traceroute from a Cisco router. Click for larger image

As can be seen above, a traceroute only identifies the IP address of the routing device interface at each ‘hop’ in the path, and the name of that device if it is in a DNS server. But what is really needed is to identify the interface that was traversed on each device , and especially those interfaces connected to WAN links. Rummaging through a network management system to navigate to each device and identify the applicable interface from the IP address returned in a traceroute, for each hop in a user-to-app server path, is tedious and time consuming. The process can be made easier if the analyst has access to a list of network devices, IP addresses, and interfaces, perhaps in an Excel spreadsheet, but if the network and device/interface list is large the lookup and annotation process is still burdensome.

To address this issue PacketIQ developed the TraceRoute Resolver, which after importing a pre-prepared Network Information file containing IP addresses, host/device names, interfaces, interface speeds, subnet masks, WAN link indicators, locations, and any other desirable data allows quick access to this information from an easy to use utility. The TRR will look up the information for each IP address in a traceroute and display all of the desired information alongside the IP address and an average RTT latency for each hop.

Cisco Traceroute Results Enhanced by the TraceRoute Resolver
Cisco Traceroute Results Enhanced by the TraceRoute Resolver. Click for larger image

The TraceRoute Resolver can also perform ‘Same Subnet’ lookups if subnet mask information is available, which can eliminate the need for doing traceroutes from both ends of a network path to positively identify all of the WAN-facing interfaces - this is especially crucial if information about a WAN-facing interface isn't in the Network Information File, which is likely if the router / IP address from a traceroute is for a network carrier device. In the Cisco Traceroute Example above, 'Hop 2' has been identified as a link to a 600 Mbps AT&T MPLS interface by a Same Subnet lookup of the device on the other end of the link ((hou-rtr-3 | - this identification would not have occured otherwise. The 'Hop 2' scenario is illustrated below.

Same Subnets Diagram
Resolving Same Subnets Illustration. Click for larger image

In the above illustration, the IP address for the 2nd hop is an interface on a network carrier device, which wasn't in the TRR Network Information file for this network. But because subnet mask information was included in the Network Info file for all of the device interfaces and their IP addresses, it was possible to calculate a range of possible IP addresses for that subnet, then search for IP addresses that are in the Network Info file that match that range. In this case, the Same Subnet search identified the interface on the other end of the link ((hou-rtr-3 | since a subnet mask of only has two usable IP addresses; the interface information for the Gi3/12 interface on hou-rtr-3 identified this as a 600 Mbps link to AT&T. Without the Same Subnet search capability, this WAN link may have gone unidentified.

The TRR also has a Search feature that allows looking up any of the information in the Network Information file based on partial or full string matching on devices, IP addresses, etc.; search matches are highlighted. This is useful for quickly looking up network information by device, interfaces, IP addresses, locations, etc. and similar day to day administration tasks.

Performing a Search with a Partial String
Performing a Search with a Partial String. Click for larger image

Traceroute results can be copy/pasted directly into the TRR form, or a text file containing one or multiple traceroute results can be dragged/dropped onto the TRR form - this allows performing multiple traceroutes in one session, then resolving all of them later in one simple activity. The resolved traceroute or search data can be saved to a text file or copy/pasted into other applications.

The Network Information data used by the TRR is a simple Comma Seperated Value (CSV) formatted file that can be compiled manually and/or extracted from network management system databases – guidance is offered in the user guide for accomplishing this.

The increased traceroute accuracy and usefulness, as well as the time and effort savings possible from using this tool are potentially significant.

Download a Fully Functional Trial copy of the TraceRoute Resolver today!

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