Howto use public route servers for BGP ping and traceroute

Written by on Monday, June 2, 2008 22:43 - 0 Comments

What do you do when you need to find out a BGP route from a provider or need to ping or traceroute back to your location for troubleshooting? well the simple answer is to use a free and public route server.  It is a little known fact that many major ISP’s all over the world provide public access to a route server sitting on their network with all BGP routes and basic traceroute and ping utilities.  How do you access the route servers and where to find a public route server?  We will explain in this short but effective howto.  Note that most route servers are Cisco IOS based.

Finding a public route server:
Generally its not that easy to find a public route server just by going to the ISP’s website,  There is always a google search that may turn a few up but the best way we have found is to use a route server directory usually compiled by other technicians or organizations.  We know and use 2 good route server directories available for free on the internet.

How to connect to a route server?
Generally you will use telnet with the CMD window or hyperterminal in windows or a terminal window in MAC or Linux.  Most route servers have links that you can click on that will automatically open your telnet client.  if not you can try the following:

In Windows:
Open a CMD window  –> Start –> Run –> cmd
Type: telnet <ipaddress or hostname of route server>

In Mac and Linux:
Open a terminal window
Type: telnet <ipaddress or hostname of route server>

What to do after connecting to a public route server?
you can do many commands once you are on a route server, the important ones you probably want to do are: show bgp routes, traceroute and ping.  When you get on a traceroute server you can type the ? key to get a list of the possible commands,  Normally when you log onto a route server there is a banner that tells you the other available public route servers that this ISP may have.

Example Banner:      Vancouver,      BC,     Canada        Toronto,      ON,     Canada       Montreal,      QC,     Canada

Example commands:
route-views.ab> ping
route-views.ab> traceroute
route-views.ab> ?

Showing BGP routes and AS’s:
route-views.ab> show ip bgp


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