How could three letters be so profound? How could a command become more beloved than ping? Who, dear friends, who could displace tracert?


Thats who.

mtr is a command line tool designed and implemented on Linux systems. I’m not going to tell you how to install it, but I put a link at bottom just for that.

As for how I use it, my department serves the IT needs of 11 companies in 7 locations pocked across the Southeast and Midwest US. We don’t have a lot of budget to throw at fancy tools and I need a way to get real time data about the quality of the  pipe between the net-core here in NW Georgia and the satellite sites. I don’t need an alerting system for drops and outages, I have a swarm of employees each with IT on their cell speed-dial should the connection fail. What I do need is a tool I can use to monitor each site’s connection to home, without using a lot of resource. Solution, I opened 7 mtr terminals on my Ubuntu box and mtr’d each site. I now can see the RTT and jitter at each hop to each location. More specifically, my Order of Fields is “LDSNBAWJMX” so I see loss, number of packets dropped, jitter, and current, worst, and best of both. Best of all, mtr defaults as an extended ping-route. It won’t alert me should a problem arise, but once again, the swarm will tell me about every hiccup on the network. We are very VoIP intensive, so this tool is invaluable. To take it one step further, I use SolarWinds’ bandwidth monitor whenever I notice an anomaly to make sure we aren’t capping out and causing high latency or jitter.

My Linux buddies are over here like “Duh,” but my fellow Microsoft warrior, walk with me for a minute.

Imaging a world in which a lowly network engineer could gather RTT data from each individual hop device on traceroute. Now expand your mind as you assess jitter…at the same time! Now, I know what you are thinking, this is a plot to get you to install Linux and come over to the dark side…No Friend! I say you can have you solution, even on Windows! The link below will direct you to the installation of WinMTR, a program with the same functionality, but uses a GUI and is…For Windows!

That is all, here is the link.



*Update 1/8/2016

So apparently MTR is a stock tool in many Linux distros now…and has been for a while. Don’t shoot me! I didn’t know it came in your Ubuntu. While I may be all knowing, I’m still all learning.


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