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Internet Test Tool FAQ

About the HostMyCalls™ ISP Route Testing Tool and Reports

This on-line diagnostic tool and it’s reports are provided FREE of CHARGE to anyone who wishes to use them.  It has been developed with our best effort to provide an accurate and useful resource.  It examines the quality of the Internet route being used by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) serving the destination entered by the user to our HostMyCalls Operations Center.  We take no responsibility or provide support for errors or mistakes this resource may report. 

Feel free to link to this tool from your site.

If you find your report is identifying the route your ISP is using has a chronic or service affecting problem, you may want to email the link of the report along with your support or service inquiry as helpful data for their troubleshooting.

Some information shown or inferred can be a bit technical, but we have tried to simplify and explain the acronyms and gorgon with our frequently asked questions below.

FAQ Table of Contents
Which hop is the destination hop in the report?

What does DNS mean?

Why is there already an IP address in the IP/DNS field?

What is the advantage of running a report for such long periods?

Does running this tool slow down my Internet service?

Does running this tool for destinations other than my own present any problem to them?

Will running this tool cause any issues or concerns for my ISP?

Can I run more than one report at the same time?

What is a Hop and what do the numbers mean for each hop?

Why does my report fail to show the first four hops?

What does the data in the Report’s IPAddress field mean?

What does the data in the Report’s Host field mean?

What is a Ping and what do the changing numbers mean in the Report?

What does the Responses field show?

What does the data in the AvgDelay/ms field of the Report mean?

What does the data in the Lost and % Lost fields mean in the report?

Why does my IP Address not respond to pings?

Why do I not see IP addresses for several hops?

What values in the fields for the Hops would be considered problematic or unacceptable?


Which hop is the destination hop in the report?

If the destination hop will return pings, it is the last address (greatest hop number) in the report.  If the destination address does not return pings, then the last address that would return pings is listed.
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What does DNS mean?

DNS means Domain Name System.  The Domain Name System associates various information with domain names such as IP
Address. 
 www.espn.com is an example of a domain name.
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Why is there already an IP address in the IP/DNS field?

The IP address in the IP/DNS field is the address supplied by your browser to our web server. Unless you are using a proxy service, it should be your IP address that has been used to access our website. If you are testing the Internet connecting from which you are surfing our website, then this may be it. Otherwise, you can replace that address with any IP address or domain name of your
choosing.

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What is the advantage of running a report for such long periods?

The most common Internet problems are intermittent. They may only appear for a few moments in a day or even a week. If your Internet problems are intermittent, then the report runs while hoping to experience trouble. The timeline graph will help you spot specific time periods of trouble. Now you can narrow your report time and examine the data in more detail.
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Does running this tool slow down my Internet service?

No. In its present form, the ISP Test Tool uses an insignificant amount of bandwidth. Other tools may become available which will intentionally tax the selected Internet connection for testing purposes.
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Does running this tool for destinations other than my own present any problem to them?

No. Because it uses an insignificant amount of bandwidth, it will present no problems to them.
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Will running this tool cause any issues or concerns for my ISP?

It will not cause any security concerns with your ISP.  It will have a minor impact on the CPU of all routers that respond along the route to the destination IP.
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Can I run more than one report at the same time?

Yes. You can run multiple reports all at the same time. However, only one report can run to any single destination IP address at once.
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What is a Hop and what do the numbers mean for each hop?

A Hop is a router along the path between our HostMyCalls Operations Center and your destination IP address.  The number for each Hop represents the numerical order each router is found along the path.  The higher the number, the closer the router is to the destination IP.
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Why does my report fail to show the first four hops?

The report intentionally omits the first four hops as they are related to the HostMyCalls Operations Center routers
and its ISP.  They are irrelevant to your report and the testing of your Internet connection.  Our operations center sits on a redundant fiber back bone.  We take great care to keep it at an optimum state.

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What does the data in the Report’s IPAddress field mean?

The data in the IPAddress field is the IP address of each router belonging to each hop along the path from the HostMyCalls Operations Center to the destination IP address.  These are public IP addresses that can identify each router within the Internet.
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What does the data in the Report’s Host field mean?

The Host field contains the programmed Domain Name of each router.  It can be used to help identify who owns each router.  If the Domain Name is kept up-to-date by its owner, you can actually resolve to the IP address by pinging it.  Be careful, if the domain name is not kept updated, the domain name my actually resolve to a different IP address.
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What is a Ping and what do the changing numbers mean in the Report?

The name comes from active sonar terminology and it is used to test the reachability of a host on an IP network and to measure the round trip delay from the host to the target and back. Ping operates by sending an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echo request packet to a target IP address and waiting on the response. The Ping value for each hop tells the number of Ping requests that were sent to the IP address.

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What does the Responses field show?

The Responses field shows how many ping attempts were returned by the target IP address within the 1.5s timeout window.
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What does the data in the AvgDelay/ms field of the Report mean?

The AvgDelay/ms field reports the average time in milliseconds that it took the ICMP packet to be returned by the target IP address. Logically, you would expect the average delay to increase as each ping request goes to each higher hop along the route.
This is not always true as some routers take more time to respond to a ping request than to simply pass a packet on to the next router.

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What does the data in the Lost and % Lost fields mean in the report?

Lost contains the number of pings that were not returned within the 1.5s timeout. % Lost is the percent of packets Lost as compared to the overall number of ping attempts listed in the Pings column.
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Why does my IP Address not respond to pings?

The router or modem which pings are sent for the specified IP address is either not reachable through the Internet (i.e. problem with equipment or network – outage) or has been programmed to not respond to pings.
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Why do I not see IP addresses for several hops?

Likely your Internet Service Provider has programmed their edge router to discard packets with single digit Time
To Live (TTL) values from untrusted networks.  Some ISPs discard these packets to prevent either a “Time To Live” attack or examination of their network by others.

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What values in the fields for the Hops would be considered problematic or unacceptable?

In the AvgDelay/ms column look forhops where the delay increases significantly compared to the other hops and the delay seems to affect all other hops greater in value.  An example would be a report where the average delay jumps from 15ms to 35ms from hop 14 to 15.  All hops 16 and above are approximately 35ms or greater.  This means a significant delay is induced between hops 14 and 15.  Because hops 16 and above stay in the 35ms or greater range, it suggests the increase delay from hops 14 to 15 was not caused by the router’s response to a ping packet. 

If one of the problems with the Internet connection is delay or latency, then this could be a contributing source.  If you believe a hop is inducing delay on the destination IP address, click on the hop’s IP address link to compare its delay over time with the delay on the destination address.  The time range of this report can be narrowed down to as fine a granularity as 16 minutes in 1 minute segments.  Look at the line graph of each IP address over time.  When the suspect problematic hop increases it delay at a certain point in time, does the destination IP address also have an increase in delay?  If so, then the report definitely suggests an impact.

In the initial review of the report, examine the % Lost of the destination IP address.  If that value is less than 0.10% then the circuit should be healthy enough for VoIP.  If you lost more than 1 packet, look at the timeline or “Delay and Lost Packets Over Time to Your Selected Destination” graph at the bottom.  Are multiple packet losses grouped together in time? If so, narrow the time of the report window for closer examination.

If the number of packets lost seems to be similar to packets lost at previous hops and at approximately the same time, then those hops may be congested and could be causing packet loss at the destination IP.  The hop, where the packet loss is first noticed, could be causing packet loss all the way through to the destination IP.
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J. Waldrop
Copyright © 2017  HostMyCalls. All rights reserved.
Revised:
 09/21/10

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