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How to Ping the IP Address of a Computer

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Ping a IP Address that Responds
Command Prompt - Ping - Responsive IP Address

Command Prompt - Ping - Responsive IP Address

Bradley Mitchell / About.com
Ping is a standard utility program available on most computers. A ping utility sends test messages from the computer to a remote device over a TCP/IP network. Besides determining whether the remote computer is currently online, ping also provides indicators of the general speed or reliability of network connections.

Running Ping

Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux provide command line ping programs that can be run from the operating system shell. Computers can be pinged by either IP address or by name.

To ping a computer by IP address,

  • open a shell prompt (in Microsoft Windows, the Command Prompt or MS-DOS Prompt on Start Menu)
  • type "ping" followed by a space and the IP address
  • press the Enter (or Return) key

Interpreting the Results of Ping

The graphic below illustrates a typical ping session when a device at the target IP address responds with no network errors:
  • Reply from: By default, Microsoft Windows ping sends a series of four messages to the address. The program outputs a confirmation line for each response message received from the target computer.
  • Bytes: Each ping request is 32 bytes in size by default
  • Time: Ping reports the amount of time (in milliseconds) between the sending of requests and receipt of responses
  • TTL (Time-to-Live): A value between 1 and 128, TTL can be used to count how many different networks the ping messages passed through before reaching the target computer. A value of 128 indicates the device is on the local network, with 0 other networks in between.

Running Ping Continuously

On some computers (particularly those running Linux), the standard ping program does not stop running after four request attempts but instead runs until the user ends it. That is useful for those wanting to monitor the status of a network connection over longer periods of time. In Microsoft Windows, type "ping -t" instead of "ping" at the command line to launch the program in this continuously running mode (and use the Control-C key sequence to stop it).

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