traceroute vs. ping

Unanswered Question
May 4th, 2008

I was just wondering what would be the circumstatnce at which the ping would respond OK and the traceroute would not. I did the extended ping and it worked OK, but the extended teraceroute between the same 2 nodes came back with all asterics for all 30 hops..Thnx..

I have this problem too.
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cisco_lad2004 Sun, 05/04/2008 - 10:18

if u are going thru an MPLS network, most ISP would disable traceroute for security purpose.

having said that, both ping and trace use ICMP..but different types of ICMP so there might well be an ACL blocking one type and not the other.



basically as I understand it:-

1) Ping - you are requesting a response from the remote end IP.

2) Extended Ping - the same as the above by stateing the source ip address of the ping packet.

3) Traceroute you are bascially pinging every hop along the way, and waiting for a response from every hop. Tracing the route to your end host.

4) Extended Traceroute as number 3 - but using a source IP.

The asterix are for hosts that have not responded to the direct ping request from the traceroute....routers/firewalls etc can pass on ping, but if you ping them directly they mostly will not respond, if configured that way.


Richard Burts Sun, 05/04/2008 - 18:29


The answer from Sam is incorrect when it states that both ping and traceroute use ICMP. This depends on what device is doing the traceroute. From a Windows PC traceroute does use ICMP but Cisco routers and switches and Unix boxes use UDP packets for traceroute.

Since your post was not specific about which device was doing the traceroute we can not know whether it was using ICMP or UDP. But the potential difference of UDP or ICMP is a possibility to keep in mind.

There is another possibility to consider. Ping and Extended Ping just send packets to the destination and wait for responses. So as long as the ICMP echo request and echo response are permitted then the ping will succeed. But traceroute sends packets varying the TTL and devices along the path respond with Time Exceeded ICMP error messages. It is possible that the Time Exceeded error messages are being filtered out which would prevent traceroute from working.



cisco_lad2004 Sun, 05/04/2008 - 21:30


When the question mentions extended PING and extended Traceroute would you think about Windows XP able to provide this ?

I think you are looking too deep at a simple question. It's nice to keep it simple, unless really required.


cisco_lad2004 Sun, 05/04/2008 - 22:22

I would stand corrected, but please take a look at below example. it clearly states 100Bytes ICMP.

!---Ping packets are sourced from this address.

Type of service [0]:

Set DF bit in IP header? [no]:

Validate reply data? [no]:

Data pattern [0xABCD]:

Loose, Strict, Record, Timestamp, Verbose[none]:

Sweep range of sizes [n]:

Type escape sequence to abort.

Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to, timeout is 2 seconds:


Success rate is 100 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 36/97/132 ms .


mohammedmahmoud Mon, 05/05/2008 - 00:28


I believe that the original poster is talking about Cisco devices (since AFAIK windows doesn't support extended ping/traceroute, at least not in the Cisco extended ping/traceroute context), and accordingly as Rick stated, Cisco devices uses ICMP for ping (despite being normal or extended) and UDP for traceroute (plus ICMP TTL exceeded error messages, please review traceroute operation below), and also as Rick stated, i've seen multiple cases where only ICMP echo requests and echo replies where permitted and thus traceroute didn't operate normally.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

lamav Tue, 05/06/2008 - 10:21

"Greg...The answer from Sam is incorrect when it states that both ping and traceroute use ICMP."

No, this statement is incorrect, actually.

Cisco IOS utilizes BOTH UDP and ICMP time-exceeded messages for Traceroute. UDP when sending the Traceroute packet and ICMP when it receives a reply from a host/router.

This whole discussion seems a little anal, to be frank, but I did want to clarify one thing.


l.mourits Wed, 05/07/2008 - 00:07

But it seems all are in agreement that it must be something being filtered out along the path, either UDP or ICMP Time Exceeded messages.

Meaning, when performing a trace route you could indeed see the asterix (*) a couple of times, and the trace route may fail completely as well, while icmp echo's (ping) works fine.

joseph.derrick Fri, 05/09/2008 - 11:25

You are basically correct that Cisco devices use ICMP time-exceeded messages for traceroute. What Rick emphasized for using UDP is for the "sending" device. Cisco devices DO NOT send ICMP for traceroute, ICMP are only used for inbound and hence for replies only to incoming traceroute (UDP queries).

This is simply to say that for traceroute:

OUTBOUND: udp (queries)

INBOUND: icmp, time-exceeded (replies)



nissanka123 Sat, 05/31/2008 - 06:30

What is Extended ping command?

I know about the command ping?

I can write 'ping' on the command line.

It just tell me the existence of that network.

What is the 'Extended ping command'?

scottmac Sat, 05/31/2008 - 07:24

Ping (and extended ping) are ICMP packets (send is "echo", reply is "echo reply").

Since ping is so common (and the "Ping of death" DOS has pretty much been handled years ago) it is common to permit echo and echo reply through most firewalls and filters.

Traceroute (MS Windows tracert) sends UDP packets with incrementing Time-To-Live (TTL) values (first is a ttl of 1, next is ttl of 2, etc).

When the UDP packet arrives at a hop with an expired TTL value, that device sends (is supposed to send) an ICMP TTL Expired message back to the source.

Expired TTL messages are frequently filtered in a "baby with the bathwater" security scheme of "nothing gets through unless explicitly permitted."

ICMP is a common source for a number of attacks, so it is generally filtered as a complete protocol, with specific elements permitted, like ping (and possibly TTL Expired/Exceeded).

That is why a ping (even extended ping) works, but a traceroute / tracert does not.

I think that's generally what everyone is trying to say and getting wound up with the semantics.

(This does not take into account the various types of pings ... I'm talking standard TCP/IP suite variety of PING).

Good Luck


nissanka123 Sat, 05/31/2008 - 09:12

Thanks Scott for the comments.

I tried or you can try ' ping ' and it works.

What is the extended ping command?

I work with Linux.

scottmac Sat, 05/31/2008 - 09:42

Extended ping (at least in this venue, I believe) refers to a facility on many Cisco devices that provides a list of parameters you can change for diagnostic purposes.

On the device (probably a router in most cases) instead of saying "ping" you just say "ping", and it asks a list of questions, like:


Protocol [ip]:

Target IP address:

% Bad IP address


Protocol [ip]:

Target IP address:

Repeat count [5]:

Datagram size [100]:

Timeout in seconds [2]:

Extended commands [n]: y

Source address or interface:

Type of service [0]:

Set DF bit in IP header? [no]:

Validate reply data? [no]:

Data pattern [0xABCD]:

Loose, Strict, Record, Timestamp, Verbose[none]:

Sweep range of sizes [n]:

Type escape sequence to abort.

Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to, timeout is 2 seconds:

Whereas your average *nix (this example is Red Hat Enterprise 5.1):

[[email protected] ~]# ping

Usage: ping [-LRUbdfnqrvVaA] [-c count] [-i interval] [-w deadline]

[-p pattern] [-s packetsize] [-t ttl] [-I interface or address]

[-M mtu discovery hint] [-S sndbuf]

[ -T timestamp option ] [ -Q tos ] [hop1 ...] destination

Ping of Google from MS Windows XP:

C:\Documents and Settings\scottmac>ping

Pinging [] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes=32 time=13ms TTL=244

Reply from bytes=32 time=11ms TTL=244

Reply from bytes=32 time=11ms TTL=244

Reply from bytes=32 time=12ms TTL=244

Ping statistics for

Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),

Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:

Minimum = 11ms, Maximum = 13ms, Average = 11ms

C:\Documents and Settings\scottmac>

Ping of from RHEL5.1:

[[email protected] ~]# ping

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=244 time=15.6 ms

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=2 ttl=244 time=13.4 ms

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=3 ttl=244 time=12.7 ms

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=4 ttl=244 time=14.0 ms

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=5 ttl=244 time=14.4 ms

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=6 ttl=244 time=12.7 ms

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=7 ttl=244 time=14.1 ms

--- ping statistics ---

7 packets transmitted, 7 received, 0% packet loss, time 5999ms

rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 12.786/13.905/15.664/0.938 ms

[[email protected] ~]#

Hope this helps


nissanka123 Sat, 05/31/2008 - 09:53

Thanks Scott

So this is purely for Cisco routers. This borders proprietary commands.

I don't have a Cisco router at home. When I studied networking, I worked with Cisco routers.

I bought a simple D-Link router.

scottmac Sat, 05/31/2008 - 12:26

"It's not proprietary, it's an extension of an existing tool" ;-}



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