To display the routing table (both IPv4 and IPv6) in Windows, use the route print command. In Unix/Linux, you can just use route without any command line switches. The output displayed by the Windows and Unix/Linux commands are similar. Here’s an example from a typical Windows client computer:

C:>route print
Interface List
  8 ...00 12 3f a7 17 ba ...... Intel(R) PRO/100 VE Network Connection
  1 ........................... Software Loopback Interface 1
  9 ...02 00 54 55 4e 01 ...... Teredo Tunneling Pseudo-Interface
 10 ...00 00 00 00 00 00 00 e0  isatap.{D0F85930-01E2-402F-B0FC-31DFF887F06F}
IPv4 Route Table
Active Routes:
Network Destination        Netmask          Gateway       Interface  Metric
    276         On-link    306         On-link    306         On-link    306         On-link    276         On-link    276         On-link    276         On-link    306         On-link    276         On-link    306         On-link    276
Persistent Routes:
  Network Address          Netmask  Gateway Address  Metric
IPv6 Route Table
Active Routes:
 If Metric Network Destination      Gateway
  9     18 ::/0                     On-link
  1    306 ::1/128                  On-link
  9     18 2001::/32                On-link
  9    266 2001:0:4136:e38c:2c6c:670:3f57:fe91/128
  8    276 fe80::/64                On-link
  9    266 fe80::/64                On-link
 10    281 fe80::5efe:
  8    276 fe80::cca:9067:9427:a911/128
  9    266 fe80::2c6c:670:3f57:fe91/128
  1    306 ff00::/8                 On-link
  9    266 ff00::/8                 On-link
  8    276 ff00::/8                 On-link
Persistent Routes:

For each entry in the routing table, five items of information are listed:

  • The destination IP address

    Actually, this is the address of the destination subnet, and must be interpreted in the context of the subnet mask.

  • The subnet mask that must be applied to the destination address to determine the destination subnet

  • The IP address of the gateway to which traffic intended for the destination subnet will be sent

  • The IP address of the interface through which the traffic will be sent to the destination subnet

  • The metric, which indicates the number of hops required to reach destinations via the gateway

Each packet that’s processed by the computer is evaluated against the rules in the routing table. If the packet’s destination address matches the destination subnet for the rule, the packet is sent to the specified gateway via the specified network interface. If not, the next rule is applied.

In this example, the computer on which the route command was executed is on a private subnet. The computer’s IP address is, and the default gateway is a router at

Here’s how the rules shown in this example are used. Notice that you have to read the entries from the bottom up:

  • The first rule is for packets sent to, with subnet mask This special IP address is for broadcast packets. The rule specifies that these broadcast packets should be delivered to the local network interface (

  • The next rule is for packets sent to, again with subnet mask These are also broadcast packets and are sent to the local network interface.

  • The next rule is for packets sent to, again with subnet mask This is for packets that the computer is sending to itself via its own IP address. This rule specifies that these packets will be sent to the local loopback interface on

  • The next rule is for packets sent to, with subnet mask These are packets intended for the local subnet. They’re sent to the subnet via the local interface at

  • The next rule is for packets sent to the loopback address (, subnet mask These packets are sent straight through to the loopback interface,

  • The last rule is for everything else. All IP addresses will match the destination IP address with subnet mask and will be sent to the default gateway router at via the computer’s network interface at

One major difference between the Windows version of route and the Unix/Linux version is the order in which they list the routing table. The Windows route command lists the table starting with the most general entry and works toward the most specific. The Unix/Linux version is the other way around: It starts with the most specific and works toward the more general. The Unix/Linux order makes more sense — the Windows route command displays the routing list upside down.

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