The parallel traceroute tool is designed to help accurately discover network paths and dependencies. It does this by running multiple traceroutes; in doing so, and differences in the path each of the traceroutes takes will be discovered. These differences can then be visualized for easy analysis of the network paths. As more traceroutes are run, a more accurate picture of the network topology is formed. In it's current state, the tool supports running traceroutes to any destination from either the server hosting the tool or a remote source server. To run remote traceroutes, the remote source must have a working pScheduler/perfSONAR instance.

Traceroute JSON Format

    [   // Array of traceroutes
    {   'ts'               : Unix timestamp,
        'source_address'   : Address of server sending request,
        'target_address'   : Address of destination server,
        'id'               : ID generated by UUID
            [ // Array of packets
            {   'ttl'   : From traceroute,
                'ip'    : Address of hop,
                'rtt'   : From traceroute,
                'lat'   : Latitude,
                'lon'   : Longitude,
                'city'  : City,
                'region': State or country,
                'domain': Domain Registrar,
                'org'   : ASN Org

                // The following only apply to Stardust capable hosts
                'resource'          : Resource name,
                'traffic_info'      :
                // Stardust traffic info dictionary; timestamp acts as key.
                    {   Unix timestamp      :
                        {   'ts'            : Copy of unix timestamp,
                            'traffic_in'    : Reported in bps,
                            'traffic_out'   : Reported in bps,
                            // Other SD measurements
                        Unix timestamp      : { ... },
            { ... },
    { // Repeated if multiple traceroutes run in parallel },


The tool is designed to be easy to use and easy to understand. As mentioned, the tool can run traceroutes locally using the default Linux traceroute implementation or remotely using pScheduler. The type of traceroute run is picked dynamically through the presence/absence of a source address. In other words, if a source address is not given, the system traceroute is used. If a source address is provided, the tool checks the source address for a pScheduler instance, and if one is found, a pScheduler traceroute is run. If no pScheduler instance is found at the source address, no traceroute is run. As a side note, the system traceroutes take ~10 seconds to run, while the pScheduler traceroutes take ~20-30 seconds.

The visualisation is created using d3.js. By default, hops are clustered by their orgs. By double clicking on a cluster, it is expanded into the individual hops for the organization. The size of the clusters/hops is determined by the number of traceroutes that run through the specific point (i.e. a hop with 10 traceroutes running through it will appear larger than one with only 1 traceroute running through it). Links are colored according to the known link speed. The known link speed is the minimum of the source and destination nodes, as the minimum will give the fastest possible speed between the source and destination. If a link speed is unknown, it is assumed to be 0bps.

The visualization has two "modes" - map and force. In map mode, the nodes will be placed according to their location and overlaid on top of a map. The map displayed can be changed according to the dropdown in the top right. Viewing the locations of nodes can be useful, but it comes with a large caveat; we are currently using an external service to obtain the geoIP information which may be inaccurate for certain nodes. For example, running a traceroute to the Google DNS server ( typically gives the location as somewhere on the east coast. However, (at least for our testing here in Utah) it's almost certain that the traceroute is going to somewhere much, much closer than the east coast. Because we are using an external service to access an anycast address it finds the server closest to the location of the service we are using, rather than the one actually being used. Although this is an issue, it's relatively small and unlikely to be an issue under typical use as it really only affects anycast addresses.

Upon running a traceroute, a table will be generated with the traceroute information (i.e. type of traceroute, source, destination, and status). Subsequent runs will add on to the table, and by using the checkboxes on the right hand side of the table specific runs can be shown/run.

Changing to force mode can be done by clicking the "Hide Map" button in the top row; similarly, exiting force mode and returning to map mode can be done by clicking the same button (it should say "Show Map" in force mode). Force mode doesn't use the geo information. Instead, it just places the nodes in a relatively straight line. This is done to facilitate easier interaction, as in map mode the nodes can become clustered together leading to more confusing visualizations.

If an expanded hop is hovered over and additional information is available (i.e. the hop is contained within one of the auxiliary data sources), a graph will appear showing traffic information for that hop. At this time, auxiliary data sources include ESNet's Netbeam API and some information from GRNOC's data collection. Graphs for GRNOC appear as embedded iframes which pull from GRNOC's Grafana instance, while graphs for ESNet's Netbeam API are dynamically generated using d3.js. The difference in displaying the information comes down to how we are able to access the information; with the Netbeam API, we have direct access to the information and can use that to generate our own graphs. In contrast, we have limited access to GRNOC's information and can only access their Grafana instance, and thus cannot create our own graphs from this data.

By double clicking on a node with additional information available, the graph/iframe is pinned and will not disappear on hover. If the additional information comes from Netbeam, the type of data can be selected from the checklist on the right side of the pinned graph.