I haven't cracked open the source code yet, but I was curious which whois service the traceroute program uses to look up ASNs for a given IP.

2 Answers 2


The copy running on my Linux box gets its answers from I was able to tell this by running tcpdump at the same time as running a traceroute.

The PTR records for that IP resolve to rpsl-p.merit.edu, and it happens that whois.radb.net. and whois.ra.net. point to the same IP address.

Further examination of the binary (with "strings") reveals that it's actually using the whois.radb.net hostname. There's also a pair of (undocumented) environment variables ($RA_SERVER and $RA_SERVICE) which can change the host and port used for these queries.

  • How did you determine that? Jun 11, 2009 at 19:48
  • I ran tcpdump at the same time as a traceroute.
    – Alnitak
    Jun 11, 2009 at 20:31

Having not looked at the source code, I would suspect either whois.ra.net or riswhois.ripe.net or equivalent.

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