The PING utility is a system administrator's tool that is used to see if a computer is operating and also to see if network connections are intact. Ping uses the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo function which is detailed in RFC 792. A small packet is sent through the network to a particular IP address. This packet contains 64 bytes - 56 data bytes and 8 bytes of protocol reader information. The computer that sent the packet then waits and listens for a return packet. If the connections are good and the target computer is up, a good return packet will be received. PING can also tell the user the number of hops that lie between two computers and the amount of time it takes for a packet to make the complete trip. Additionaly, an administrator can use Ping to test out name resolution. If the packet bounces back when sent to the IP address but not when sent to the name, then the system is having a problem matching the name to the IP address.
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