The Traceroute Project


Welcome to The Traceroute Project

This project is now closed for submissions - please go to the results pages to see the outcome - thank you for participating!

There are three results pages; the original one is here; I have also made an easier text copy here; and there is also additional material here, created by J. Lehmus. For the original project, please read below:

The Traceroute Project will look at the health of the Internet, on December 31, 1999 and January 1, 2000. During this period, Y2k problems are expected to surface world-wide.

The Project will give us a MAPPING of the world-wide telecommunications system on the eve of the millennium (yes, there's another eve coming up!) - it will be a rough portrait of world-wide Internet accessibility. The result - a series of chartings of connections between computers everywhere - will be a new kind of writing / reading - looking at the raw data sent in from viewers, interpreting it as an image of the ELECTROSPHERE itself. 

(The results and contributions are found at the trAce Online Writing Community; the Project is by Alan Sondheim, current Virtual Writer-in-Residence at trAce.)

Traceroute is a tool used by system administrators and Net users in general to examine connections between any two computers online at the same time. Traceroute sends packets - small bits of data - to all the machines between the target machine and your own location. Three packets are sent at a time to each of the machines (routers), and the results are presented in a table. I am asking contributors to use traceroute, between their home machine and others online, during this period - and to send the results to trAce - along with their location, the date, and a description of the effects of Y2k on their local environment.

For example, I live in Brooklyn; I might do traceroute between my machine in Brooklyn, and a machine in Perth, Australia; I would add the date, my location, and a description of the effects of Y2k on New York City (as far as I could tell). I would then paste this into the project URL, which is at (closed submissions form) - the results are at

The result of all of this will be a mapping of the Internet membrane, checking out its nerves and state of mind, during the Y2k millennium crossover. This is one of the peak dates for the evolution of technology, and The Traceroute Project will attempt a picture of at least some of it.

We'll keep the results up, closing the submissions on January 1, 2000.

If you have any questions, please ask at the traceroute conference on trAce at or write Alan Sondheim directly,



How to Participate

There are 3 different ways to participate in the Project.

The EASIEST way is to go to and follow the instructions to traceroute your own location from any number of sites around the world. For example, I am, and I can use the site to traceroute a location, say, in France, back to my location at

If you use, simply cut and paste the results in at trAce, and don't forget to add the date, time, what's happening (in terms of Y2k problems) in your location, and your location itself.

The SECOND way to participate - if you have Windows 98 or 95 - is to go to the DOS prompt (generally through Start / programs) and use the built-in tracert facility. Just enter 

tracert address >> trace.txt

for example, where "trace.txt" is the file into which you will put the results of your work. You can also put date >> trace.txt and time >> trace.txt - and then, when editing the text, you can add information about your location, and what's happening there. The text can be edited in any text editor, of course - it can then be pasted in the trace site. Please note the use of double carets >> instead of > - the double ones mean that new information will be APPENDED to the file, instead of rewriting the file with ONLY the new information. (There is an example below.)

And the THIRD way to participate - if you're on Linux or Unix - is just to use the traceroute program - you can do "man traceroute" at the prompt to get help.

Again, you PASTE your results at (closed submissions page) and you can READ the results at



Sample Entry

Here is a sample traceroute entry. This was made from my home computer to a site in Australia, I had to double click on date and time, since the prompt asks for new time and date, and I didn't want to change anything. And I added "Brooklyn, New York, USA, from" by hand.

The commands (entered at the DOS prompt) were:

date > zz (places the date in a file zz)

time >> zz (adds the time to zz)

tracert >> zz (traceroutes in Windows98 to zz)

The result follows:

Current date is Mon 12-20-1999
Enter new date (mm-dd-yy): 
Current time is 2:54:35.93a
Enter new time: 

Brooklyn, New York, USA, from

Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 138 ms 139 ms 140 ms [] 
2 134 ms 140 ms 140 ms [] 
3 138 ms 140 ms 139 ms 
4 158 ms 140 ms 160 ms [] 
5 138 ms 140 ms 140 ms [] 
6 180 ms 179 ms 160 ms [] 
7 136 ms 160 ms 140 ms [] 
8 158 ms 160 ms 138 ms [] 
9 178 ms 200 ms 180 ms [] 
10 239 ms 220 ms 240 ms [] 
11 238 ms 216 ms 220 ms 
12 240 ms 218 ms 240 ms 
13 560 ms 599 ms 660 ms [] 
14 578 ms 580 ms 600 ms [] 
15 659 ms 640 ms 640 ms [] 
16 620 ms 679 ms 660 ms [] 
17 659 ms 619 ms 659 ms [] 

Trace complete.


Thank You for Contributing!