Experiencing a faulty internet connection? Unable to access your favorite internet browsing places, and not sure whether something is wrong on your end or theirs? Or what if you’re not an average user but an IT professional; perhaps a network troubleshooter, and you need to figure out some tiny little problem in the routing of traffic to and from a particular network location.
The Windows operating system comes with a useful command ‘tracert’ that can be really helpful in determining the cause of all such problems. It basically tests the connection between your machine and the hosting server and reports ping results for every routing point, helping professionals locate where the routing is failing and how it can be ultimately remedied. The problem, however, is that tracert is command–line based, and would require you to read through every line of the output to pin point the issue. Thankfully, we have VisualRoute 2010 Lite, a lightweight utility that provides a neat graphical user interface to the otherwise monochrome command.
The tool is basically tracert with a GUI. This program runs a tracer for your specified internet location and displays all the results in the form of a graph, with complete information reported by hovering the mouse over routing points (or hops).
The program displays the tracer results in two parts – the upper analysis area, which shows target and route information such as firewall information, network, packet loss data, DNS lookup time, RTT, route length etc., along with an overall summary commentary for the entire tracer process. The lower portion shows a ‘visual route’ in graphical form, where you have different visual representations for all the steps involved in routing, including network address, routers, networks switching etc, all mapped against RTT in milliseconds. You can hover your mouse pointer over any icon to view more information about it.
Since this is a lite edition of VisualRoute 2010, this is about as much functionality as it offers. It is free for personal and noncommercial use, but other paid editions are also available which greatly extend the program’s capabilities, such as global map of network route, continuous trace and ping testing, multi-route discovery etc. However, despite the benefits, since there is no expiry limit to the lite edition for free use, we believe it is a great replacement for the native command-prompt-based tracert, and serves well for an average network troubleshoot.
VisualRoute 2010 Lite is available for Mac OS and Windows, and was tested on Windows 7 x86 system.