What does an asterisk/star in traceroute mean?

by FEQ   Last Updated June 08, 2015 22:01 PM

The below is a part of traceroute to my hosted server:

 9  ae-2-2.ebr2.dallas1.level3.net (4.69.132.106)  19.433 ms  19.599 ms  19.275 ms
10  ae-72-72.csw2.dallas1.level3.net (4.69.151.141)  19.496 ms
    ae-82-82.csw3.dallas1.level3.net (4.69.151.153)  19.630 ms
    ae-62-62.csw1.dallas1.level3.net (4.69.151.129)  19.518 ms
11  ae-3-80.edge4.dallas3.level3.net (4.69.145.141)  19.659 ms
    ae-2-70.edge4.dallas3.level3.net (4.69.145.77)  90.610 ms
    ae-4-90.edge4.dallas3.level3.net (4.69.145.205)  19.658 ms
12  the-planet.edge4.dallas3.level3.net (4.59.32.30)  19.905 ms  19.519 ms  19.688 ms
13  te9-2.dsr01.dllstx3.networklayer.com (70.87.253.14)  40.037 ms  24.063 ms
    te2-4.dsr02.dllstx3.networklayer.com (70.87.255.46)  28.605 ms
14  * * *
15  * * *
16  zyzzyva.site5.com (174.122.37.66)  20.414 ms  20.603 ms  20.467 ms

What's the meaning of lines 14 and 15? Information hidden?

Tags : dns ip-address


Answers 3


If a packet is not acknowledged within the expected timeout, an asterisk is displayed.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traceroute

However zyzzyva.site5.com did eventually respond which is why you have line 16.

paulmorriss
paulmorriss
August 04, 2011 13:49 PM

Another reason is that typically 3 packets are sent to each machine, and some machines will only respond to the first packet no matter what.

If the problem is just a timeout issue, you can set the -w parameter to the number of seconds you want to wait; e.g., traceroute -w 10 google.com will wait 10 seconds instead of the default of 5 seconds.

Ian Dunn
Ian Dunn
June 14, 2012 16:25 PM

Traceroute sends packets to the destination with the field "time to live" (TTL) equal to the number of hops.

Every router decreases the value of TTL of an incoming packet and if it sees an incoming packet with TTL = 0 then drops it, otherwise it decreases the value and sends it further. At the same time it sends diagnosing information to the source about router's identity.

If router does not respond within a timeout then traceroute prints an asterisk. Lines 14 and 15 show that routers which drop packets with original TTLs 14 and 15 did not respond within timeout.

Tim
Tim
January 15, 2013 01:00 AM

Related Questions


Why A Record is not working?

Updated March 29, 2015 07:01 AM

How to make your ISP provider and PC IP address

Updated July 02, 2015 13:01 PM


Domain owner uses my IP without permission

Updated June 11, 2015 12:01 PM

Many lines with 3 asterisks in traceroute

Updated June 21, 2015 00:01 AM