For our study of traceroutes in Understanding Networks, I attempted to ping 25 African government websites. I wanted to see where the packets traveled and how many hops they took moving from New York across the Atlantic. In actuality, many government sites are hosted here in the US or in Europe, which means they are quicker to access and take less time to resolve. I used a program called WhatRoute for my research.
Among my findings:
- Equatorial Guinea, Comoros, Mauritania, Eritrea and Niger did not resolve, meaning that along the way some of the routers would not respond to traceroute pings;
- Central African Republic (hosted in the US) was the fewest hops (10);
- Madagascar took the most hops (22);
- Since my ISP is Time Warner, all of my pings began with Road Runner, a peering company with Level3. They often stayed on the Level3 network for the majority of the trace and branched off if (and when) they crossed the Atlantic closer to the website’s host server.
You can download the full map here. It says the image is broken, but you can right-click and view it on your computer without a problem.