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Definition: Ping is the name of a standard software utility (tool) used to test network connections. It can be used to determine if a remote device (such as Web or game server) can be reached across the network and, if so, the connection's latency. Ping tools are part of Windows, Mac OS X and Linux as well as some routers and game consoles.

Most ping tools use Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). They send request messages to a target network address at periodic intervals and measure the time it takes for a response message to arrive. These tools typically support options like

  • how many times to send requests
  • how large of a request message to send
  • how long to wait for each reply

The output of ping varies depending on the tool. Standard results includes

  • IP address of the responding computer
  • length of time (in milliseconds) between sending the request and receiving the response
  • an indication of how many network hops between the requesting and responding computers
  • error messages if the target computer did not respond
Also Known As: Packet Internet Gopher

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