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Ping (Packet Internet Groper)

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

Ping is a utility associated with UNIX, the Internet, and TCP/IP networks. Since most network operating systems now support TCP/IP, they also include a Ping utility. Ping is the equivalent to yelling in a canyon and listening for the echo. You "ping" another host on a network to see if that host is reachable from your host. The command takes the form ping ipaddress, where ipaddress is the numeric IP address of the host you want to contact.

Ping uses ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) for its operation. Specifically, it sends an ICMP echo request message to the designated host. If the device is reachable before a time-out period, your host will receive an ICMP echo reply message. Ping can be used as a troubleshooting tool when communication problems occur. The first thing to do is ping the address of the machine you are working with. This tells you that the network interface card is working. Next, ping the destination system. If no response is heard, try pinging another system just to see if the network is reachable. If another system responds, the network is probably OK and the destination network or host may have a problem. If possible, go to the destination and ping that machine to see if its network connection is working. If not, check the configuration settings, the connection, or the network interface card itself.

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