Trace a web page to its origin: VisualRoute 8
by Paul C. Breenen
VisualRoute combines the tools Traceroute, Ping, and “Whois” in an easy-to-use graphical interface that analyzes Internet connections to quickly locate where an outage or slowdown occurs. In addition, VisualRoute identifies the geographical location of IP addresses and Web servers on a global map. Some of these may sound hi-tech, but the novice can easily use many of this program’s features. The network service provider is identified for each hop (between ISPs), and worldwide domain and network “Who is” information enables quick problem or abuse reporting, generally.
VisualRoute provides an automated analysis and quick identification of where Internet connectivity problems occur. It identifies the actual city and country location, in addition to the “Whois” location and the network being used.
e-mailTracker - traces an e-mail address to its e-mail server, providing helpful information for resolving e-mail problems. For identifying the source of e-mails that have been received, use VisualRoute together with the popular e-mailTrackerPro product. Caution: read last part of review before you get to excited.
The table lists information for each “hop”, including packet loss, IP address, node name, geographical location, ping response and the major Internet backbone where each server resides. The zoomable world map may give a graphical representation of the actual path of an Internet connection.
However, its location information was often incorrect or missing, the user interface was sluggish and its error messages were cryptic.
VisualRoute is Java-based software that installs on Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris and Linux platforms. For more intensive diagnosis of network ills, VisualRoute can look for other open ports besides Port 80 (HTTP).
VisualRoute's location data was correct slightly more than 81% of the time for domestic sites, and about 59% correct for overseas sites. I'd prefer a question mark instead of an end point when it finds the destination location information is missing or doesn't correspond exactly to the destination IP address.
The integrated E-mail Tracker application geographically locates an e-mail's sender, but not always. NOTE: Spammers use fake e-mails and domains to cover their tracks. Using the Whois, incorporated with the software, you can identify the owner and administrator of the domains in question. Using the Whois, incorporated with the software, you can identify the owner and administrator of the domains in question.
For each hop, the columns show IP address, node name, location, time zone, response time (in milliseconds), a vertical line graph of response time and the name of the network that owns the hop.
User interface was slightly sluggish – not quite sure since the EXE program is relatively small. The documentation consists of PDF files. The Help menu take you to Visualware's support Web site. There are no tutorials or reference explanations. For a trial version and more info go to www.visualware.com.
Charles W. Evans is a HAL-PC member and the Magazine’s Reviews Editor who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org