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How to Troubleshoot Network Connections with Ping Command


How to Troubleshoot Network Connections with Ping Command

How to Troubleshoot Network Connections with Ping Command

If you’re having problems with your network and network connections, when you need help tracking down network connection problems, the command line is the place to go.

The Ping (Packet Internet Groper) command is the most used TCP/IP troubleshooting tool available. This command is used to test a machine’s connectivity to another system and to verify that the target system is active. Usually, using this command is the first step to any troubleshooting if a connectivity problem is occurring. The Ping command can quickly help you to determine whether a remote host is available and responsive.

Ping uses the ICMP protocol to verify connections to remote hosts by sending echo request packets and listening for echo reply packets. Ping sends out four different echo messages and prints out feedback of the replies on the screen when the reply is received. Use ping to find out whether the resource or server you’re trying to connect to on your network or the Internet is active, and to see if there are any problems with the hops along the way to that resource or server. the Ping sends Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo Request messages to the destination you’re checking on, receives responses in return, and reports to you information about the connection path between you and the destination and how quickly the packets made their trip.

To use Ping, open the Command Prompt and type: ping target, where target is either a hostname or an IP address for example, or In response, you’ll get information in this format:

If the host isn’t active, instead of getting this report, you’ll get the message “Request timed out.”

If you enter a hostname, ping reports back with its IP address and then gives details about its four attempts to contact the host, a measurement of how long (in milliseconds) the packet took to make the round trip between your PC and the host, the TTL information about each packet, and a summary of its findings.

The TTL field can tell you how many hops the packets took to get from your PC to its destination. Time to live (TTL) or hop limit is a mechanism that limits the lifespan or lifetime of data in a computer or network. TTL may be implemented as a counter or timestamp attached to or embedded in the data. Once the prescribed event count or timespan has elapsed, data is discarded. The TTL can be reinterpreted to mean the maximum number of hops a packet will be allowed to take before it reaches its destination. The default number is 255. Each time a packet takes another hop, its TTL is reduced by one. The TTL number that ping reports is the packet’s final TTL when it reaches its destination. To find out the number of hops a packet takes, subtract its initial TTL (by default, 255) from the TTL reported by ping.

You can use ping with switches, like so:


ping -a -l 45

This command changes the packet size sent from its default size of 32 bytes to 45 bytes, and resolves the IP address to a hostname; it lists the IP address’s hostname in the output.

The Ping command has a wide variety of useful switches that you can use for all kinds of troubleshooting. You use the basic ping command to check whether an Internet or network resource is live and to see if there are any delays in reaching it.

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