PING(8) System Manager's Manual PING(8)
ping - send ICMP ECHO_REQUEST packets to network hosts
ping [-DdEefLnqRv] [-c count] [-I ifaddr] [-i wait] [-l preload]
[-p pattern] [-s packetsize] [-T toskeyword] [-t ttl] [-V rtable]
[-w maxwait] host
ping uses the ICMP protocol's mandatory ECHO_REQUEST datagram to elicit
an ICMP ECHO_REPLY 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
packet. The options are as follows:
Stop sending after count ECHO_REQUEST packets have been sent. If
count is 0, send an unlimited number of packets.
-D Set the Don't Fragment bit.
-d Set the SO_DEBUG option on the socket being used. This option
has no effect on OpenBSD.
-E Emit an audible beep (by sending an ASCII BEL character to the
standard error output) when no packet is received before the next
packet is transmitted. To cater for round-trip times that are
longer than the interval between transmissions, further missing
packets cause a bell only if the maximum number of unreceived
packets has increased. This option is disabled for flood pings.
-e Emit an audible beep (by sending an ASCII BEL character to the
standard error output) after each non-duplicate response is
received. This option is disabled for flood pings.
-f 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 every
ECHO_REPLY received a backspace is printed. This provides a
rapid display of how many packets are being dropped. Only the
superuser may use this option. This can be very hard on a
network and should be used with caution.
Specify the interface address to transmit from on machines with
multiple interfaces. For unicast and multicast pings.
Wait wait seconds between sending each packet. The default is to
wait for one second between each packet. The wait time may be
fractional, but only the superuser may specify a value less than
one second. This option is incompatible with the -f option.
-L Disable the loopback, so the transmitting host doesn't see the
ICMP requests. For multicast pings.
If preload is specified, ping sends that many packets as fast as
possible before falling into its normal mode of behavior. Only
root may set a preload value.
-n Numeric output only. No attempt will be made to look up symbolic
names for host addresses.
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 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. If more routes come back than should, such as due
to an illegal spoofed packet, ping will print the route list and
then truncate it at the correct spot. Many hosts ignore or
discard this option.
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.
Change IPv4 TOS value. toskeyword may be one of critical,
inetcontrol, lowdelay, netcontrol, throughput, reliability, or
one of the DiffServ Code Points: ef, af11 ... af43, cs0 ... cs7;
or a number in either hex or decimal.
-t ttl Use the specified time-to-live.
Set the routing table to be used for outgoing packets.
-v Verbose output. ICMP packets other than ECHO_REPLY that are
received are listed.
Specifies the maximum number of seconds to wait for responses
after the last request has been sent. The default is 10.
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
calculation, although the round trip time of these packets is used in
calculating the minimum/average/maximum round trip time numbers and the
When the specified number of packets have been sent (and received), or if
the program is terminated with a SIGINT, a brief summary is displayed.
The summary information can also be displayed while ping is running by
sending it a SIGINFO signal (see the status argument of stty(1) for more
This program is intended for use in network testing, measurement and
management. Because of the load it can impose on the network, it is
unwise to use ping during normal operations or from automated scripts.
ICMP PACKET DETAILS
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
arbitrary amount of data. When a packetsize is given, this indicates 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.
DUPLICATE AND DAMAGED PACKETS
ping will report duplicate and damaged packets. Duplicate packets should
never occur, and seem to be caused by inappropriate link-level
retransmissions. Duplicates may occur in many situations and are rarely
(if ever) 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
TRYING DIFFERENT DATA PATTERNS
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 (4.3BSD uses 30, 4.2BSD
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)
In normal operation, ping prints the TTL value from the packet it
receives. When a remote system receives a ping packet, it can do one of
three things with the TTL field in its response:
o 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
o 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
o 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.
ping exits 0 if at least one reply is received, and >0 if no reply is
received or an error occurred.
netstat(1), ifconfig(8), ping6(8)
The ping command appeared in 4.3BSD.
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 can be done about this,
Flood pinging is not recommended in general, and flood pinging the
broadcast address should only be done under very controlled conditions.
OpenBSD 5.9 March 24, 2014 OpenBSD 5.9
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