Network Troubleshooting with MTR

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MTR (My Traceroute) is a powerful network diagnostic tool that combines the functionality of the traceroute and ping programs. It provides a live snapshot of the journey data packets take from one computer to another, making it an essential tool for diagnosing network issues. Network issues can occur at any point along the data path, and these issues can affect every connection and every service. Furthermore, network routes can change even by the minute, making debugging a challenging task. That's why it's absolutely crucial to perform MTR round trip testing when troubleshooting network problems.

Why Use MTR?

MTR helps identify specific points of failure or high latency along the route, providing valuable information for troubleshooting network problems.

In all cases, let the test run until it has sent a minimum of 1000 packets to get a comprehensive view of the network performance. This test might need to be repeated multiple times as some issues can be intermittent.

How to Use MTR

MTR from the Server to Home

If you have SSH access to your server, you can run MTR directly from there. The command would be `mtr <your home IP address>`. This will show the network path from the server to your home network.

MTR from Home to the Server

You can also run MTR from your home computer to the server, depending on OS you have:

On Windows

If you're using Windows, you can use a tool like WinMTR. You can download WinMTR from here. After installing WinMTR, the command would be `winmtr <Server IP Address>`, or you can just use the graphical interface as well.

On Linux

If you're using Linux, you can use the MTR command. First, you need to install MTR. On Debian-based distributions, you can use the command `sudo apt install mtr`. On Red Hat-based distributions, you can use the command `sudo yum install mtr`. After installing MTR, the command would be `mtr <Server IP address>`.

Local Factors That Can Affect Your Connection

Several local factors can cause intermittent network issues:

  1. Wi-Fi Connection: The stability of your connection can be affected by distance from the router, physical obstructions, and interference from other devices.
  2. Device Issues: The device you're using could be the cause of the problem. Try using a different device to see if the issue persists.
  3. Internet Service Provider (ISP): ISPs can have issues that affect your internet speed. Contact your ISP if you suspect this might be the case.
  4. Software Conflicts: Certain software, like antivirus programs or VPNs, can interfere with your connection. Try temporarily disabling these to see if your connection improves.
  5. Router Issues: Your home router might need a reboot. If you're experiencing issues with multiple devices on your network, this could be the cause.
  6. Signal Strength: If you're using Wi-Fi, check if the signal strength is good. A weak signal can cause intermittent connectivity issues.