ping [-aAbBdDfhLnOqrRUvV46] [-c count] [-F flowlabel] [-i interval] [-I interface] [-l preload] [-m mark] [-M pmtudisc_option] [-N nodeinfo_option] [-w deadline] [-W timeout] [-p pattern] [-Q tos] [-s packetsize] [-S sndbuf] [-t ttl] [-T timestamp option] [hop...] destination
ping works with both IPv4 and IPv6. Using only one of them explicitly can be enforced by specifying -4 or -6.
ping can also send IPv6 Node Information Queries (RFC4620). Intermediate hops may not be allowed, because IPv6 source routing was deprecated (RFC5095).
-F flow label
In RFC2474, these fields are interpreted as 8-bit Differentiated Services (DS), consisting of: bits 0-1 (2 lowest bits) of separate data, and bits 2-7 (highest 6 bits) of Differentiated Services Codepoint (DSCP). In RFC2481 and RFC3168, bits 0-1 are used for ECN.
Historically (RFC1349, obsoleted by RFC2474), these were interpreted as: bit 0 (lowest bit) for reserved (currently being redefined as congestion control), 1-4 for Type of Service and bits 5-7 (highest bits) for Precedence.
-T timestamp option
When using ping for fault isolation, it should first be run on the local host, to verify that the local network interface is up and running. Then, hosts and gateways further and further away should be “pinged”. Round-trip times and packet loss statistics are computed. If duplicate packets are received, they are not included in the packet loss calculation, although the round trip time of these packets is used in calculating the minimum/average/maximum/mdev round-trip time numbers.
Median deviation (mdev), essentially an average of how far each ping RTT is from the mean RTT. The higher mdev is, the more variable the RTT is (over time). With a high RTT variability, you will have speed issues with bulk transfers (they will take longer than is strictly speaking necessary, as the variability will eventually cause the sender to wait for ACKs) and you will have middling to poor VoIP quality.
When the specified number of packets have been sent (and received) or if the program is terminated with a SIGINT, a brief summary is displayed. Shorter current statistics can be obtained without termination of process with signal SIGQUIT.
If ping does not receive any reply packets at all it will exit with code 1. If a packet count and deadline are both specified, and fewer than count packets are received by the time the deadline has arrived, it will also exit with code 1. On other error it exits with code 2. Otherwise it exits with code 0. This makes it possible to use the exit code to see if a host is alive or not.
This program is intended for use in network testing, measurement and management. Because of the load it can impose on the network, it is unwise to use ping during normal operations or from automated scripts.
If the data space is at least of size of struct timeval ping uses the beginning bytes of this space to include a timestamp which it uses in the computation of round trip times. If the data space is shorter, no round trip times are given.
Damaged packets are obviously serious cause for alarm and often indicate broken hardware somewhere in the ping packet's path (in the network or in the hosts).
This means that if you have a data-dependent problem you will probably have to do a lot of testing to find it. If you are lucky, you may manage to find a file that either can't be sent across your network or that takes much longer to transfer than other similar length files. You can then examine this file for repeated patterns that you can test using the -p option of ping.
The TCP/IP specification states that the TTL field for TCP packets should be set to 60, but many systems use smaller values (4.3 BSD uses 30, 4.2 used 15).
The maximum possible value of this field is 255, and most Unix systems set the TTL field of ICMP ECHO_REQUEST packets to 255. This is why you will find you can “ping” some hosts, but not reach them with telnet(1) or ftp(1).
In normal operation ping prints the TTL value from the packet it receives. When a remote system receives a ping packet, it can do one of three things with the TTL field in its response:
The version described here is its descendant specific to Linux.
As of version s20150815, the ping6 binary doesn't exist anymore. It has been merged into ping. Creating a symlink named ping6 pointing to ping will result in the same funcionality as before.