PING stands for "Packet Internet Groper," and is a very useful command which is used in both Windows and Linux-based operating systems. PING is a handy utility which sends packets of data over a network to see if it arrives at its destination without any errors. This makes it a very powerful testing and troubleshooting tool for network administrators.
The PING command can be used to test any network device's availability. When you use the Ping command to contact a network point, a PING is sent to that device, which then bounces the signal back to you, which is referred to as the echo. If the echo comes back without errors, then you know that the device is connected properly. If you receive no reply (a time-out error), then the device is either powered down, disconnected, or it has not been configured correctly onto the network. Further troubleshooting will reveal if the problem lies with the device or with the network
To access the PING command, use the Windows command prompt or a Linux terminal window. The simplest and most straightforward way to use the PING utility is to ping an IP address or device/network host name. For example, to PING an IP address, you would type "ping 126.96.36.199" (Google), or even "ping google.com". To PING a device on the network, you can use its name. For example, "ping OfficePC3".
If you are successfully communicating with the destination you pinged, you will receive a reply message which contains data about its delay, measured in milliseconds. If you fail to communicate with the address you pinged, then after a few attempts, you will receive a response which informs you that the request timed out.
So how does this help with fault-finding? When there is a problem with the network and you need to know where it is originating from, or which segment is affected, the PING command is an excellent way to trace the break down in communication. You can use the PING command to contact all the network interfaces which are connected on the network. When a PING does not send an echo then that is an indication that that network point is affected. Should every PING return a successful result except for the IP4, then this would be an indication that the issue exists between the server and the router itself.
The nifty commands covered here are just the basic PING tool features; there are in fact a range of advanced PING switches available to you. To access these, simply type ping/? in the command prompt or terminal window, and the menu of advanced options will be listed for you.
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