How To Install mtr Command on Linux

In this guide, we want to teach you How To Install and Use the mtr (My Traceroute) command on Linux.

MTR (My Traceroute) or Matt’s TraceRoute is one of the most popular Traceroute tools available online. The tool has become one of the go-to tools for replacing Ping and Traceroute. MTR network monitor is an invaluable diagnostic tool that can be used to poll remote servers and measure the change of latency over time.

MTR is a useful tool for a number of reasons. First, it combines Ping and Traceroute together to be able to measure the availability of devices in the network as well as monitor the route. However, it also has a significant advantage over Traceroute because the output is updated continuously. With Traceroute, you have to update scans manually to measure how a network’s performance changes over time.

In contrast, you can run MTR and your information will be connected until you say stop. Being able to monitor the change in network performance over time helps when it comes to troubleshooting.

Steps To Install and Use mtr Command on Linux

To complete this guide, you can log in to your Linux server as a root or non-root user with sudo privileges.

Now follow the steps below to see how it works.

Install mtr on Linux

You can easily install mtr on your server.

On Debian / Ubuntu use the command below to install mtr:

sudo apt install mtr

On Centos / RHEL use the following command:

yum install mtr
dnf install mtr

When your installation is completed, proceed to the next step.

How To Use mtr on Linux

When using the mtr network scanner, you need to generate an mtr report in order to view your traffic data. mtr reports are directional so it is necessary to generate reports in both directions to get a complete picture of your network’s performance. 

In this section we’re going to look at:

  • Display Hostnames
  • Display Numeric IP addresses
  • Specify a limit for the number of pings
  • Enable Report Mode
  • Clear output in Report
  • Specify Time Interval between ICMP ECHO requests
  • Use TCP SYN packets or UDP datagrams
  • Specify packet size
  • Print CSV Output
  • Print XML Output
  • Accessing the mtr help and man page

The basic syntax for the mtr command is as follows:

mtr <option> <hostname>/path  

Display Hostnames and Numeric IP address

The mtr command displays the hostnames in the traceroute report. To do this, you can use the following command:

mtr [domainName/IP]

For example:

mtr google.com
Example Output
My traceroute  [v0.94]
Keys:  Help   Display mode   Restart statistics   Order of fields   quit
                                       Packets               Pings

 Host                                Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1. 2a04:9dc0:c1:144::1               0.0%    21    6.3  18.9   1.3 110.0  32.2
 2. eth-25-0.core-agg2.buc.ro.m247.c  0.0%    21    0.7   0.7   0.5   1.5   0.2
 3. 2a04:9dc0:b1:145::1               0.0%    21    1.0   1.5   0.6   6.0   1.5
 4. 2a01:300:c:0:185:206:226:99       0.0%    21    0.8   0.8   0.7   1.2   0.1
 ....

Also, you can use the -g option, to see the numeric IP addresses instead of hostnames:

mtr -g google.com

To see both hostnames and IP addresses, you can use the -b option in the mtr command:

mtr -b google.com

Set a limit for the Number of Pings

You can easily configure the mtr command to set a limit for your pings. The syntax used to do this is as follows:

mtr -c [n] “domainname/IP”

For example:

mtr -c 10 google.com

Enable mtr Report Mode

Instead of looking at the screen all the time, we can let mtr do the job for a while and read the result later with the -r option. For example:

mtr -r google.com
Output
Start: 2022-12-08T03:03:59-0500
HOST: mydeb                   Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
  1.|-- 2a04:9dc0:c1:144::1        0.0%    10    3.8   6.4   1.0  12.3   4.2
  2.|-- eth-25-0.core-agg2.buc.ro  0.0%    10    0.5   0.6   0.5   0.8   0.1
  3.|-- 2a04:9dc0:b1:145::1        0.0%    10    0.8   0.8   0.6   1.4   0.2
  4.|-- 2a01:300:c:0:185:206:226:  0.0%    10    0.7   0.9   0.6   3.1   0.8
  5.|-- m247.bucarest1.buc.seabon  0.0%    10   72.3  48.1  43.7  72.3   8.7
  6.|-- fra31-loop0-v6.fra.seabon  0.0%    10   25.4  29.5  25.4  54.8   9.4
  7.|-- ipv6.de-cix.fra.de.as1516  0.0%    10   25.8  26.1  25.4  29.4   1.2
  8.|-- 2001:4860:0:11df::10       0.0%    10   25.7  26.3  25.5  31.2   1.7
  9.|-- 2001:4860::c:4000:f874    20.0%    10   25.8  27.8  25.8  37.4   3.9
 10.|-- 2001:4860::c:4001:e5e9     0.0%    10   35.1  33.5  32.3  38.6   2.0
 11.|-- 2001:4860::9:4002:9cd8     0.0%    10   64.2  54.7  53.4  64.2   3.4
 12.|-- 2001:4860:0:16c::1         0.0%    10   53.5  53.6  53.3  54.6   0.4
 13.|-- 2001:4860:0:1::3dd7        0.0%    10   53.6  53.6  53.4  54.3   0.3
 14.|-- sof04s06-in-x0e.1e100.net  0.0%    10   53.4  53.7  53.2  55.8   0.8

You can specify a ping count for which you want to limit the report through the -c option, and also specify the report filename in which the report will be saved:

For example:

mtr -r -c 10 google.com >mtr-report-google

The report is saved in the current user’s home folder by default. You can, however, specify a proper path for the report to be saved in.

Also, you can clear output in the mtr report mode. To do this, you can add the -w option.

For example:

mtr -rw -c 10 google.com >mtr-report-google

Specify Time Interval

At this point, you can slow down the packets you sent with the -i option:

mtr -i [time-in-seconds] “domainName/IP”

For example:

mtr -i 10 google.com

The omitted output is the same as if we don’t use the -i option. The only difference is the slower increase of the value in the Snt column. The default value of -i is 1, so this command is 10 times slower, meaning the interval between sent packets is 10 times longer.

The option is useful when we don’t want to swamp the network with our packets.

TCP and UDP

If you want to use the TCP SYN or the UDP datagrams for requesting mtr instead of the default ICMP ECHO requests, you can do so by using the TCP and UDP flags respectively.

Syntax:

$ mtr –tcp “domainName/IP”
$ mtr –udp “domainName/IP”

For example:

$ mtr --tcp google.com
$ mtr --udp google.com

Specify packet size

Through the -s option in the mtr command, you can specify the size, in bytes, of the IP packet for diagnosing network quality.

Syntax:

mtr –r -s [packetsize] “domainName/IP”

For example:

mtr -r -s 50 google.com

Print CSV Output

The CSV output of the mtr report delimits the columns with a “,”. With the csv option, you can customize the mtr command to output the report in a CSV format.

Syntax:

mtr –csv “domainName/IP”

For example:

mtr --csv google.com

Print XML Output

The mtr command can also support the XML format for printing traceroute reports. The XML report is a good option for automated processing of the output and can be printed by specifying the xml option with the mtr command.

Syntax:

mtr –xml “domainName/IP”

For example:

mtr --xml google.com

mtr help and man page

Finally, you can get more options for usage and customization of the mtr command on Linux by reading its help and man page through the following commands:

man mtr
mtr --help
Output
Usage:
 mtr [options] hostname

 -F, --filename FILE        read hostname(s) from a file
 -4                         use IPv4 only
 -6                         use IPv6 only
 -u, --udp                  use UDP instead of ICMP echo
 -T, --tcp                  use TCP instead of ICMP echo
 -I, --interface NAME       use named network interface
 -a, --address ADDRESS      bind the outgoing socket to ADDRESS
 -f, --first-ttl NUMBER     set what TTL to start
 -m, --max-ttl NUMBER       maximum number of hops
 -U, --max-unknown NUMBER   maximum unknown host
 -P, --port PORT            target port number for TCP, SCTP, or UDP
 -L, --localport LOCALPORT  source port number for UDP
 -s, --psize PACKETSIZE     set the packet size used for probing
 -B, --bitpattern NUMBER    set bit pattern to use in payload
 -i, --interval SECONDS     ICMP echo request interval
 -G, --gracetime SECONDS    number of seconds to wait for responses
 -Q, --tos NUMBER           type of service field in IP header
 -e, --mpls                 display information from ICMP extensions
 -Z, --timeout SECONDS      seconds to keep probe sockets open
 -M, --mark MARK            mark each sent packet
 -r, --report               output using report mode
 -w, --report-wide          output wide report
 -c, --report-cycles COUNT  set the number of pings sent
 -j, --json                 output json
 -x, --xml                  output xml
 -C, --csv                  output comma separated values
 -l, --raw                  output raw format
 -p, --split                split output
 -t, --curses               use curses terminal interface
     --displaymode MODE     select initial display mode
 -g, --gtk                  use GTK+ xwindow interface
 -n, --no-dns               do not resolve host names
 -b, --show-ips             show IP numbers and host names
 -o, --order FIELDS         select output fields
 -y, --ipinfo NUMBER        select IP information in output
 -z, --aslookup             display AS number
 -h, --help                 display this help and exit
 -v, --version              output version information and exit

See the 'man 8 mtr' for details.

Conclusion

At this point, you have learned to Install and Use the mtr command on Linux.

Hope you enjoy it.

You may be like these articles:

How To Use Ping Command in Linux

How To Install and Use tmux on Linux

Install and Use Linux Screen Command

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