I was experimenting with some of the network monitoring commands in cmd and I noticed that there's a significant difference in the number of hops in the output of tracert for different hosts. For example, when I tried to trace a packet to the Google server, the destination was reached within 4 hops. Then when I did the same thing for Pastebin, I got 15. Can someone please explain why this is so? Thanks!
The answer is simply that different hosts are on different networks, as @radhil says, and you have to take longer paths to get there. Different providers have their own rules about whose traffic they are willing to carry, so the path you take may be chosen for business reasons, not necessarily because it's the shortest.
Try running the
tracert command without the
-d option (not to perform a DNS lookup on each IP address,
mtr), and you will see the different domains in the path.
The internet connects every computer in the world to every other computer (on line ones anyway) Think about a physical system to sort and route packages along highways. How many sorting stations would you need to cover North America alone? Fewer than you think thanks to square law math.
The amazing thing is the small number of hops that are required to get anywhere. I trace Google, Bing, Gmail and they are all just 7 to 10 hops - and not always the same. Each router (sorting station) has a list of addresses it will accept, and a list of destinations it can process. All happening dynamically in milliseconds.
Cheap, efficient, fast and reliable.