Using the ping Utility Networking

Ping is the most basic TCP/IP utility and is included with most TCP/IP stacks for most platforms. Windows, again, is no exception. In most cases, ping is a command-line utility (although there have been some GUI implementations). You use the ping utility for two primary purposes:

  • To find out if you can reach a host
  • To find out if a host is responding

Here is the syntax:

ping hostname or IP address

If you ping any station that has an IP address, the ICMP that is part of that host’s TCP/IP stack will respond to the request. This ICMP test and response might look something like this:

ping 204.153.163.2 Pinging 204.153.163.2 with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 204.153.163.2: bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=128
Reply from 204.153.163.2: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=128
Reply from 204.153.163.2: bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=128
Reply from 204.153.163.2: bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=128

Because you receive a reply from the destination station (204.153.163.2 in this case), you know that you can reach the host and that it is responding to basic IP requests.

Most versions of ping work in the same fashion, although there are some switches you can use to specify certain information—for example, the number of packets to send, how big a packet to send, and so on. If you are running the Windows command-line version of ping, use the –? switch to display a list of the available switches, like so:

ping –?

Windows ping utility switches


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