PING(8)                     System Manager's Manual                    PING(8)

     ping - send ICMP ECHO_REQUEST packets to network hosts

     ping [-mqw] [-c count] [-i wait] [-p pattern | -z] [-s packetsize]
          [ignored-options] host [host...]
     ping -t [-mqw] [-c count] [-i wait] [-p pattern | -z] [-s packetsize]
          [ignored-options] host [host...]

     ignored-options: [-dfrRv] [-l preload]

     The purpose of this Ping implementation is to demonstrate the use of 
     the Windows ICMP library. Its interface is based on that of BSD with
     some extensions taken from traceroute.

     Ping uses the ICMP protocol's mandatory ECHO_REQUEST datagram to elicit
     an ICMP ECHO_RESPONSE from a host or gateway.  ECHO_REQUEST datagrams
     (``pings'') have an IP and ICMP header, followed by a ``struct timeval''
     and then an arbitrary number of ``pad'' bytes used to fill out the 

     In trace mode Ping will print the route packets take to reach the 
     specified network host. The Internet is a large and complex aggregation
     of network hardware connected together by gateways. Tracking the route
     one's packets follow (or finding the miscreant gateway that's discading 
     your packets) can be difficult. In trace mode Ping uses the IP protocol 
     ``time to live'' field and attempts to elicit an ICMP_ TIME_EXCEEDED 
     response from each gateway along the path to some host.
     The options are as follows:

     -c count
             Stop after sending (and receiving) count ECHO_RESPONSE packets.

     -d      * NOT IMPLEMENTED *
             Set the SO_DEBUG option on the socket being used.

     -f      * NOT IMPLEMENTED *
             Flood ping.  Outputs packets as fast as they come back or one
             hundred times per second, whichever is more.  For every
             ECHO_REQUEST sent a period ``.'' is printed, while for ever
             ECHO_REPLY received a backspace is printed.  This provides a
             rapid display of how many packets are being dropped.  Only the
             super-user may use this option.  This can be very hard on a net-
             work and should be used with caution.

     -i wait
             Wait wait seconds between sending each packet. The default is to
             wait for one second between each packet.  This option is incom-
             patible with the -f option.

     -l preload
             * NOT IMPLEMENTED *
	     If preload is specified, ping sends that many packets as fast as
             possible before falling into its normal mode of behavior.  Only
             the super-user may use this option.

     -m      Specifies the time-to-live value  used for outgoing  packets. In 
             trace  mode  this  is the  maximum  number of  hops  probed. The 
	     default value is 30 (the same default used for TCP connections).

     -n      Numeric output only.  No attempt will be made to lookup symbolic
             names for host addresses.

     -p pattern
             You may specify up to 16 ``pad'' bytes to fill out the packet you
             send.  This is useful for diagnosing data-dependent problems in a
             network.  For example, ``-p ff'' will cause the sent packet to be
             filled with all ones.

     -q      Quiet output.  Nothing is displayed except the summary lines at
             startup time and when finished.

     -R      * NOT IMPLEMENTED *
             Record route.  Includes the RECORD_ROUTE option in the
             ECHO_REQUEST packet and displays the route buffer on returned
             packets.  Note that the IP header is only large enough for nine
             such routes.  Many hosts ignore or discard this option.

     -r      * NOT IMPLEMENTED *
             Bypass the normal routing tables and send directly to a host on
             an attached network.  If the host is not on a directly-attached
             network, an error is returned.  This option can be used to ping a
             local host through an interface that has no route through it
             (e.g., after the interface was dropped by routed(8)).

     -s packetsize
             Specifies the number of data bytes to be sent.  The default is
             56, which translates into 64 ICMP data bytes when combined with
             the 8 bytes of ICMP header data.

     -t      Causes ping to operate as traceroute,  printing the route packets 
             take to a network host.

     -v      * NOT IMPLEMENTED *
             Verbose output.  ICMP packets other than ECHO_RESPONSE that are
             received are listed.

     -w      Set the time (in seconds) to wait for a response to a probe (de-
             fault 3 seconds).

     -z      Fill packets with uncompressible (pseudo-random) data.

     When using ping for fault isolation, it should first be run on the local
     host, to verify that the local network interface is up and running.
     Then, hosts and gateways further and further away should be ``pinged''.
     Round-trip times and packet loss statistics are computed.  If duplicate
     packets are received, they are not included in the packet loss calcula-
     tion, although the round trip time of these packets is used in calculat-
     ing the minimum/average/maximum round-trip time numbers.  When the speci-
     fied number of packets have been sent (and received) or if the program is
     terminated with a SIGINT, a brief summary is displayed.

     This program is intended for use in network testing, measurement and man-
     agement.  Because of the load it can impose on the network, it is unwise
     to use ping during normal operations or from automated scripts.

     An IP header without options is 20 bytes.  An ICMP ECHO_REQUEST packet
     contains an additional 8 bytes worth of ICMP header followed by an arbi-
     trary amount of data.  When a packetsize is given, this indicated the
     size of this extra piece of data (the default is 56).  Thus the amount of
     data received inside of an IP packet of type ICMP ECHO_REPLY will always
     be 8 bytes more than the requested data space (the ICMP header).

     If the data space is at least eight bytes large, ping uses the first
     eight bytes of this space to include a timestamp which it uses in the
     computation of round trip times.  If less than eight bytes of pad are
     specified, no round trip times are given.

     Ping will report duplicate and damaged packets.  Duplicate packets should
     never occur, and seem to be caused by inappropriate link-level retrans-
     missions.  Duplicates may occur in many situations and are rarely (if ev-
     er) a good sign, although the presence of low levels of duplicates may
     not always be cause for alarm.

     Damaged packets are obviously serious cause for alarm and often indicate
     broken hardware somewhere in the ping packet's path (in the network or in
     the hosts).

     The (inter)network layer should never treat packets differently depending
     on the data contained in the data portion.  Unfortunately, data-dependent
     problems have been known to sneak into networks and remain undetected for
     long periods of time.  In many cases the particular pattern that will
     have problems is something that doesn't have sufficient ``transitions'',
     such as all ones or all zeros, or a pattern right at the edge, such as
     almost all zeros.  It isn't necessarily enough to specify a data pattern
     of all zeros (for example) on the command line because the pattern that
     is of interest is at the data link level, and the relationship between
     what you type and what the controllers transmit can be complicated.

     This means that if you have a data-dependent problem you will probably
     have to do a lot of testing to find it.  If you are lucky, you may manage
     to find a file that either can't be sent across your network or that
     takes much longer to transfer than other similar length files.  You can
     then examine this file for repeated patterns that you can test using the
     -p option of ping.

     The TTL value of an IP packet represents the maximum number of IP routers
     that the packet can go through before being thrown away.  In current
     practice you can expect each router in the Internet to decrement the TTL
     field by exactly one.

     The TCP/IP specification states that the TTL field for TCP packets should
     be set to 60, but many systems use smaller values (4.3 BSD uses 30, 4.2
     used 15).

     The maximum possible value of this field is 255, and most Unix systems
     set the TTL field of ICMP ECHO_REQUEST packets to 255.  This is why you
     will find you can ``ping'' some hosts, but not reach them with telnet(1)
     or ftp(1).

     In normal operation ping prints the ttl value from the packet it re-
     ceives.  When a remote system receives a ping packet, it can do one of
     three things with the TTL field in its response:

     -   Not change it; this is what Berkeley Unix systems did before the
         4.3BSD-Tahoe release.  In this case the TTL value in the received
         packet will be 255 minus the number of routers in the round-trip

     -   Set it to 255; this is what current Berkeley Unix systems do.  In
         this case the TTL value in the received packet will be 255 minus the
         number of routers in the path from the remote system to the pinging

     -   Set it to some other value.  Some machines use the same value for
         ICMP packets that they use for TCP packets, for example either 30 or
         60.  Others may use completely wild values.

     Many Hosts and Gateways ignore the RECORD_ROUTE option.

     The maximum IP header length is too small for options like RECORD_ROUTE
     to be completely useful.  There's not much that that can be done about
     this, however.

     Flood pinging is not recommended in general, and flood pinging the broad-
     cast address should only be done under very controlled conditions.

     Hack by Francois Gouget (, based on:
      - the ping sample provided with the ICMP libraries (author unknown)
      - the FreeBSD ping interface
      - the FreeBSD traceroute interface
      - bing for these comments

    Comments and bug reports welcome !

     The ping command appeared in 4.3BSD. This page is hosted for free by