Ping Command (Pinging Peers) - :
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Ping Command

Whenever other engineers see network engineers during troubleshooting, they think that, network engineers only ping from one node to another. But as you know a network engineer is more than a pingman :) This command is a basic but very useful tool for network engineers to control the reachability of peer node.

Ping command maybe is the most usefull command for a network engineer. Basically, with this command, you send an ICMP(Internet Control Management Protocol) request to the destination, and wait for the response. According to the number of response and its returning time, you can decide what to do for troubleshooting.

In this article we will discuss ping command for windows, unix systems and cisco routers.

Ping Topology

Ping Topology

The pure ping command is used only with the keyword “ping” and a “destination ip” address or “web address”. By default, ping command send 4 times 32 bytes echo request for each command in windows. If the ping successfull, you will receive the ping reply like below:

Successfull ping on Router

Successfull ping on Router

Successfull ping on PC

Successfull ping on PC

You can ping your localhost, to check if it is available or not with the ip address You can do this job with the same command and additionally “ping 0” command in unix systems. If it is successfull, you can get the reply from the destination point.

If the destination is not reachable for IP layer, you will receive the “Request timed out” message.

Ping Request timed out on Router,Failed Ping

Ping Request timed out, on Router

Ping Request timed out on PC,Failed Ping

Ping Request timed out, on PC

Different responses have different meanings. We will discuss this lesson detailed in another article.

By the way, if you has just connect a device to a network, first ping packet to this network seen lost, because the device is not known in the network and its MAC address is not in the ARP Table of your device. The rest of the ping packets will be successfull if there is not any other problem in the connection.

Successfull First Ping, missing ping because of ARP

Successfull First Ping
and Missing Ping because of ARP

Let’s check how to modify ping command and its parameters…

For windows

-t : Continuous ping. -> ping –t

Continuous Ping

Continuous Ping

-n: Number of ping packet. -> ping –n 2 (2 ping packet)

Number of Ping Packet

Number of Ping Packet

-l : Size of the ping packet. -> ping –l 200 (200 bytes,from 32 to 65,527)

Size of Ping Packet

Size of Ping Packet

-i : The value of TTL. -> ping –i 200 (TTL=200, max 255)

-s : To report the time, in Internet Timestamp format, that each echo request is received and echo reply is sent. The maximum value for count is 4 meaning that only the first four hops can be time stamped.

-w: To adjust the time-out value. Default is 1000ms=1s -> ping –w 2000
-f : Sets the Do Not Fragment bit on the ping packet. -> ping –f
-a: To resolve, the hostname of an IP address target. -> ping -a
-4 : Force to use Ipv4
-6 : Force to use Ipv6
-R : To trace the round trip path (for Ipv6 only)
-S : To specify the source address (for Ipv6 only)

You can use “/?” command for help of ping command like other commands.

Do not forget that, this parameters are used in different meaning in different systems. For example, “-l” value is used for packet size in windows systems, but you can do this with “-s” in unix systems.

Now, Let’s check the Unix versions of these commands.

For unix

Unix systems and windows systems has different commands and parameters for the same job. For ping, the command is the same but the parameters have generally different meanings. Let’s check the unix version of ping parameters.

-i = To determine the interval for two ping packet. -> ping –i 5 (seconds)
-c = To set the number of ping packets. -> ping –c 3
-s = To set the packet size. -> ping –s 200 (bytes)
-w = To set the deadline to terminate the ping output. -> ping –w 3(seconds)
-f = Super users can send hundred or more packets per second using -f option. It prints a ‘.’ when a packet is sent, and a backspace is printed when a packet is received.
-R = To print the network route through which the packet is sent and received.

In the following articles, we will talk about other useful commands for network engineers…Keep on, ;)

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About the Author
Gokhan Kosem is a telecommunation and network engineer. His ambition to IP networks and end-to-end system installation made him to prepare this web-site. By sharing his experiences about various networking protocols beside different system installation experiences and Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel-Lucent devices configurations, he is aimed to be helpful for his collegues in all over the world. He is currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey.

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