MTR: A Network Diagnostic Tool


Matt’s Traceroute (MTR) is a formidable, cross-platform community diagnostic software that mixes ping and traceroute functionalities. MTR is an evolution of traceroute that shows in-depth data by way of figuring out the packet path to the vacation spot host. The record at the pathway comprises the reaction proportion and reaction time of all hops between the supply to the vacation spot system.

The article main points the running of MTR, supplies some command-line examples and explains the knowledge it generates. In the top, given the output, we carry out record research.

How Does MTR Work?

Network diagnostic gear, corresponding to ping, traceroute, and MTR probe the relationship between two units with ICMP packets for troubleshooting community connectivity. While the ping application makes use of ICMP echo_request and echo_replies, against this, traceroute and MTR use ICMP packets with time-to-live TTL.

For hop-to-hop research, to start with, MTR establishes addresses of the switches, gateways, and routers between the native and far flung units. Then, it makes use of the ICMP packets with TTL to ping every hop such that the TTL controls the nodes the packet will succeed in earlier than loss of life. Hence, it sends a sequence of ICMP echo_request with the TTL set to 1, two, 3, and so forth till MTR assembles the entire course.

The above procedure outputs stats that include additional info, corresponding to hop state, community connection, node responsiveness, community latency, and jitter. Most apparently, it’s very similar to the highest command because it assists in keeping refreshing with real-time community connectivity.

MTR Installation

By default, the software lives within the /consumer/sbin listing because it comes preinstalled with maximum distributions. If it isn’t to be had, set up MTR with the distribution’s default bundle supervisor.

For Ubuntu:


For Arch:

Generating and Reading Live MTR Reports

As proven within the screenshots above, except for record community hops, MTR additionally assists in keeping observe of the latency. In different phrases, it additionally estimates the spherical shuttle time from the native system to every instrument at the trail.

For a greater concept, use the –record flag to generate a record constituting statistics referring to community high quality. Users too can make the most of this with the -c choice, as it is going to handiest run for the collection of cycles laid out in it and go out after printing statistics.

The earlier screenshot outputs a number of fields/columns to get entry to community site visitors. These columns record the next statistics:

  • %Loss: packet loss proportion at every system
  • Snt: Number of despatched packets
  • Last: The spherical shuttle time for the ultimate traceroute packet
  • Avg: The moderate spherical shuttle time for all probes
  • Best: Shortest spherical shuttle time of a packet to a specific host
  • Wrst: Longest spherical shuttle time of a packet to a bunch
  • StDev: Standard deviation of latencies

The Snt to Wrst columns measure latencies in milliseconds, however handiest the Avg column issues probably the most. The handiest drawback for producing studies for community high quality is that it makes use of a large number of community site visitors that degrades community efficiency.

Useful Options

The following segment comprises one of the crucial maximum useful MTR flags command examples. We will give an explanation for the output main points within the MTR Report Reading segment later.

IPv6: MTR makes use of IPv6 because the default choice, which calls for together with the IP deal with or area title of the vacation spot host as a controversy. It will show a real-time output press Ctrl+C or q to go out:


IPv4 handiest: The IPv4 transfer (-4) shows handiest IPv4 addresses and comprises Fully Qualified Domain Names:

b: To show each the domains and IPv4 addresses, use the -b flag as follows:

c: As mentioned previous, the flag limits the collection of pings despatched to every system. After finishing the collection of pings, it stops the reside replace and exits MTR quickly in a while:

T/u: Replace the ICMP echo packets with TCP SYN -T/–tcp or UDP datagrams -u/–udp:


o: Arrange the output box as in keeping with your requirement. For example, the given command shows output within the following model:

m: Specify the hops between the native host and far flung system. The following examples units the hops to five, whilst the default price is 30:

s: Probe the community by way of specifying ICMP packet measurement, together with IP/ICMP headers in bytes:

Report Analysis

MTR output record research basically constitutes or is all in favour of packet loss and community latency. Let’s talk about every of those intimately:

Packet Loss

The MTR record generates a proportion of packet loss box at every hop to signify an issue. However, carrier suppliers have a commonplace apply of rate-limit MTR ICMP packets that give an phantasm of packet loss, which isn’t true. To determine if the packet loss is in truth because of rate-limiting or no longer, word the packet lack of the following hop. As within the screenshot above, for –o flag instance, we practice a packet lack of 16.7% at hop 5 and six. If there is not any packet loss on the subsequent instrument, then it effects because of rate-limiting.

In some other situation, if the studies constitute other quantities of loss on the beginning next hops and the later few units display the similar packet loss proportion, then the loss on the preliminary machines is because of each elements: rate-limiting and precise loss. Hence, when MTR studies other packet loss at more than a few hops, believe the loss on the later hops.

Network Latency

The latency of a community will increase with the collection of hops between two endpoints. However, latency additionally depends upon the community connection high quality between the native and far flung machines. For example, dial-up connections display upper latency than cable modems.

It’s additionally vital to notice that community latency does no longer indicate an inefficient course. Irrespective of the top community latency at more than a few nodes, packets can succeed in the vacation spot and go back to the supply with 0 loss.

In the instance above, we practice a soar in latency from the eighth hop onwards, however no packet was once misplaced with the exception of on the vacation spot host.


Understanding the fundamentals of MTR is vital to take hold of and work out the commonest community connectivity problems, corresponding to fallacious configuration of ISP/residential router and vacation spot host community, timeouts, and ICMP charge proscribing. The article builds a flooring for a amateur consumer to grasp the utilization and dealing of MTR. It additionally displays tips on how to generate MTR studies and carry out research to spot rate-limiting similar packet loss problems and analyze community latency.

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