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Context

I'm working on a university project where I need to find out if it's possible to save electricity by hosting services locally and thus having to transmit data by smaller distances.

I've noticed weird routing when tracing route to my university's website whose server is located in a nearby City (less then 20km away). The packets are first being sent to the other side of the country instead of immediately being sent to nearby city and then to the server in question.

Question

  • Are packets gonna be traveling this much excessive range in the actual use case?
  • Is it possible to trace route that non-testing (e.g. when web-site sends one of its pages instead of us exchanging ICMP packets) packets travel?
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    Some ISPs will look for traceroute and send the packets in a different direction than normal because they do not want casual discovery of their internal networks. Traceroute is a useful tool on your own network where you know how packets should travel, but it cannot be relied upon for networks you do not know.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 10, 2023 at 14:16

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The packets are first being sent to the other side of the country instead of immediately being sent to nearby city and then to the server in question.

That is quite possible, especially when an ISP routes those packets along their backbone or when there are two ISPs that peer outside your city.

Are packets gonna be traveling this much excessive range in the actual use case?

Most likely, but not necessarily. Using policy-based routing, packets may be routed by protocol (traceroute uses UDP by default) rather than by destination IP.

Is it possible to trace route that non-testing (e.g. when web-site sends one of its pages instead of us exchanging ICMP packets) packets travel?

You can tell traceroute to use ICMP instead of UDP (-I), but other than that you can't.

a university project where I need to find out if it's possible to save electricity by hosting services locally and thus having to transmit data by smaller distances.

Data transmission even over long distance uses only very small amounts of power compared to what a server consumes or its cooling.

When you look at the whole picture you'll find that the potential of reducing the server power by consolidating services onto a shared (hosted) platform exceeds the power saving from reducing distance by several orders of magnitude.

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