<networking, tool> (ping, originally contrived to match submariners' term
for the sound of a returned sonar pulse) A program written in 1983 by Mike Muuss
(who also wrote TTCP) used to test reachability of destinations by sending them
one, or repeated, ICMP echo requests and waiting for replies. Since ping works
at the IP level its server-side is often implemented entirely within the
operating system kernel and is thus the lowest level test of whether a remote
host is alive. Ping will often respond even when higher level, TCP-based
Sadly, Mike Muuss was killed in a road accident on 2000-11-20.
The term is also used as a verb: "Ping host X to see if it is up."
The Unix command "ping" can be used to do this and to measure round-trip delays.
The funniest use of "ping" was described in January 1991 by Steve Hayman on the
Usenet group comp.sys.next. He was trying to isolate a faulty cable segment on a
TCP/IP Ethernet hooked up to a NeXT machine. Using the sound recording feature
on the NeXT, he wrote a script that repeatedly invoked ping, listened for an
echo, and played back the recording on each returned packet. This caused the
machine to repeat, over and over, "Ping ... ping ... ping ..." as long as the
network was up. He turned the volume to maximum, ferreted through the building
with one ear cocked, and found a faulty tee connector in no time.
Ping did not stand for "Packet InterNet Groper", Dave Mills offered this
backronym expansion some time later.
See also ACK, ENQ, traceroute, spray.
The Story of the Ping Program.
Unix manual page: ping(8).
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