Hi Rene,

We seen that windows, Cisco Router and linux will use ICMP and UDP packets during Traceroute . My question is which operation system will use TCP ? Thanks


Hello Mohammad

Linux uses UDP by default but you can use TCP. Check the Linux man pages to find the syntax for that. Some additional Linux traceroute implementations use TCP packets, such as tcptraceroute and layer four traceroute.

I hope this has been helpful!


Hi team,

Can you please explain why we send incremental port number (dst port ) in the UDP traceroute ?


Hello Amit

A traceroute on a Cisco device sends incremental destination port numbers for each hop in order to distinguish between the probes. To quote Cisco exactly:

Cisco routers send UDP probe packets with a random source port and an incremental destination port (to distinguish the different probes).

You can find more information here.

I hope this has been helpful!


Hi Rene/Team ,

Thank you for this content !!

I understood that in windows when the destination reached it and Destination network is matched ICMP Echo Reply is used , and intermediate routers will be dropping packets because these are not destination network in our IP Header and TTL is became 0 .

Note : applications use transport layer ports for process to process delivery .

My doubt is as below :

  1. what exactly happening linux in transport layer while we use higher UDP port numbers . In Linux too the intermediate routers were sending ICMP TTL Expiry in response to IP packets with Incremental TTL and UDP with higher port numbers were used .

In Given Capture 1st UDP probe packet destination port is 33434 —>packet dropped as router has to decrement TTL from 1 to 0 and its not the destination network , so UDP encapsulation not even checked packet dropped with error sent to source . (please correct me if i am wrong here)

The Final UDP probe is making upto destination network with TTL = 4, so the it will check the destination port 33437 , in Response Destination port Unreachable was sent to the source .
Here “Destination port Unreachable” error what does exactly mean ? Why it this error generated and how it differs when we use a destination port number like 179(BGP) ?

From provided cloudshark capture link :


Hello Sameer.

Looking over the cloudshark capture, it simply looks like the UDP port 33437 at the destination device of is just not listening. You get a Type 3 Code 3 result which means, according to RFC 792, that the UDP port is blocked, possibly by a firewall.


This drop of the packet is different than the drop of the packet that occurs due to TTL going to 0. In such a case, you have different Type and Code numbers such as is the case when the TTL became 0 when the device was reached in the previous packet:


In any case, the reason why this error is generated is because the port is blocked. The device has been reached successfully, since it is responding, but the specific port is unavailable and thus the response is an error message and not an echo reply.

I hope this has been helpful!


1 Like

Several times when I do a Traceroute over de Internet sometimes I have the some hops with none reply listing the 3 probes with a asterisk * * * but if a ping the host im doing that Traceroute the ping I have a echo reply OK from this destination host…

for example pinging a it replies ok but the Traceroute “dies” at a certain hop listing the 3 probes * * *

what does it mean ? can it be that this specific hop hasn’t the reverse route to the source address from which im doing the Traceroute ?

Hello Juan

Routers can be configured in such a way so that they don’t respond to ICMP messages. This is done for security purposes. When you see three * in one entry of the traceroute, but the traceroute completes successfully to the destination, it just means that, that specific hop in the path is configured not to respond to ICMP messages. If all subsequent entries in the traceroute fail then that means that the routing has failed and the last successful hop is the one that responded.

I hope this has been helpful!


Thank you for the reply.

Yes, i saw this behavior so often, it can be in the following way :
I get a ping reply ( “!!!” on cisco IOS) but when i do a traceroute to that host i have the following :
traceroute : x ms y ms z ms x ms y ms z ms x ms y ms z ms

or may i have this :

All of this is because a security configuration to not reply or filter icmp msgs ?

I would like how to configure that on a router to replicate this in a lab.

Hello Juan

Yes that’s it. Such a configuration will protect devices from attacks such as Denial of Service (DoS) and from the “ping of death”. This has to do with the implementation of control plane policing (CoPP) on network devices. CoPP is a mechanism by which we can enable policing on traffic that is destined to our network devices themselves rather than policing traffic that goes through the router. You can find out more information about CoPP at the following lesson:

I hope this has been helpful!


from the below output , does it mean it took 4 ms to reach final destination ?

1     1 ms     1 ms    <1 ms
  2     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms
  3     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms
  4     1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms


Hello Sims

You can view each of the responses in a traceroute as a single ping to the specific hop. With the example you stated above, lets say this was a traceroute from Host1 to Host2 in the following topology:


The first response comes from R1, so the response time of 1 ms refers to an ICMP request from Host1 to R1. The second response comes from R2, so the response time of 1 ms refers to an ICMP request from Host1 to R2. Similarly, the third response comes from R3, so the response time of 1 ms refers to an ICMP requiest from Host1 to R3.

You can view each of the responses in a traceroute as a single ping from Host1 to each router in the path. So if you want to know how long it took to reach the final destination, just look at the response time of the final traceroute response: 1ms.

I hope this has been helpful!



1 1 ms 1 ms <1 ms
2 1 ms 1 ms 1 ms
3 100 ms 100 ms 100 ms
4 1 ms <1 ms <1 ms

How about echo-reply time ?
from the above output 100 ms , can I say is the echo response +processing time by the host + echo reply

Hello Sims

The output that we see as a result of the traceroute command shows round trip time. When traceroute is initiated, it sends three packets, and the three times you see in milliseconds are the round trip delay times of each of the three packets. They measure the time between when the original ICMP packet is sent until the response to that particular packet returns. So those times (100ms for example) is the sum of the sending transmission time, the processing time of the responder and the return transmission time.

You can find out more info about traceroute at the following Cisco documentation:

I hope this has been helpful!


When i execute traceroute in my home computer i see the below output,how can it be explained?


Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  2     4 ms     3 ms     3 ms
  3     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  4     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  5     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  6     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  7     *        *        *     Request timed out.
 8    16        11 ms    10 ms   link unable to post

Trace complete.

Hello Rakshit

Traceroute works by sending out three ICMP packets towards the destination IP. Each of those three packets has a TTL of 1 so that they will only reach the first hop. When they reach the first hop, that router will send an ICMP response. The three times you see in milliseconds is the round trip time of each of those three packets sent.

Next, traceroute sends out another three ICMP packets towards the destination IP with a TTL of 2, so that they reach the second hop in the path, which responds with the round trip time.

Traceroute will continue to increase the TTL until it gets a response from the actual final destination. Then it will stop and it will say “Trace complete.”

Now routers on the Internet can be configured not to respond to ICMP packets. This is often done for security purposes. During traceroute, if packets reach such a router, the default timeout of 2 seconds elapses, and traceroute considers that hop timed out. It then responds with “*” in the place of times and it states “Request timed out”. However traceroute does not end there. It will continue to send the next set of three packets with an increased TTL.

Each time you see * * * Request timed out. it means that the particular router is configured not to respond to ICMP packets.

Now if the final destination is also configured not to respond to ICMP packets, then it may be that the traceroute will never be complete. Traceroute allows for a maximum of 30 hops. Anything higher is considered unreachable, so it doesn’t even try. In the output you are showing above, the actual destination does respond, and once it does, the trace is complete. If it does not, traceroute will continue to attempt the trace, increasing the TTL until 30 hops are reached, where it considers the trace inconclusive.

(You can increase this default maximum hops of 30 to anything up to 255, but anything beyond 30 on the Internet is considered for all intents and purposes unreachable).

I hope this has been helpful!


Hi @lagapides Thanks for your detailed reply

Could you please explain the below output also please

From icmp_seq=1 Destination Host Unreachable
From icmp_seq=2 Destination Host Unreachable
From icmp_seq=3 Destination Host Unreachable

Hello Rakshit

This is output from the response to a ping request. A ping is an ICMP echo request that is sent to a particular destination. If the response is “Destination Host Unreachable” then this response comes from a router somewhere on the path to the destination, and most likely the last hop router, or the router to which the particular subnet in which the destination IP is found is directly connected.

So if you have pinged for example, and your ping reaches the router that is connected to the subnet, if that router can’t find the host, it will respond with the “Destination Host Unreachable” message.

I hope this has been helpful!


so does it mean “host sends packet by increasing the TTL by 1 every time upto 30 thrice (to take average time) which is maximum hops (this can be increased to 255) no matter how many routers passed is my destination”, please correct me if i am wrong

Hello Rakshit

Yes, this is the case. The maximum will be 30 hops even if your destination is found more hops than that, but you can always increase the number of hops in traceroute.

However, over the Internet, you will rarely find a path take more than 30 hops. This is kind of an unwritten rule, that there should be no more than 30 hops to reach any destination on the Internet from any destination, so it is unlikely that you will be required to increase that limit.

By increasing the TTL each time, you are increasing the number of hops that the echo request will travel. This keeps going until you reach the destination. This image depicts this very well:

I hope this has been helpful!