If you've ever worked as an IT administrator of any kind - network engineer, systems engineer, server admin, VMWare administrator, SAN admin, security engineer, VoIP engineer, webmaster - whatever - you've probably worked with our little friend "ping". However, knowing how to ping isn't the same thing as knowing ping...

ICMP (the protocol that ping uses) is one of the most commonly used and valuable protocols when it comes to analyzing, monitoring, and troubleshooting networks. Most network managaement tools use ICMP to measure and report on statistics like status, availability, reachability, latency, and response time. In some cases even tools like traceroute leverage ICMP as well. Ping packets can be tweaked to fit in many different situations by changing the size of the packet, setting the discard eligible bit, and by tweaking the treatment of ICMP along the path.

Do yourself a favor and get really familiar with ping. Grab a copy of Wireshark and capture some ping packets and analyze them. Understand the parts and understand how your networks treat ping packets under differnet situations (security, load, source, size) and you'll be glad you did one of these days...


Flame on...
Josh
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