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Learning about Ping test

Ping is a diagnostic tool that allows a user to verify that a particular IP address exists and can accept requests.
 
A ping test helps trace the communication between the computer and the router or any devices connected to the network.  The ping command can also be used for troubleshooting to test connectivity and measure response time.
 
Performing a ping test as part of your troubleshooting steps will greatly help you in resolving connectivity issues for both wired and wireless computers.
 
This article will provide you three basic things you need to know about a ping test:

Top scenarios when to use Ping test
The Ping responses
Common Ping results
 

Top scenarios when to use Ping test

To verify your computer's connectivity to the router.  Ping the IP address of your router.  For instructions on how test the connectivity of your computer to your router using the Ping command, click here.

To verify network activity.  Make sure that you have disabled the built-in firewall of your computer before pinging.  For instructions on how to do this, click here.

To verify connectivity to the Internet.  You can use an IP address(such as 4.2.2.2 or 8.8.8.8) to check if the router is online.  This is useful when you can see an IP address from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the router’s status page, but cannot browse any websites.  To do this, enter "ping 4.2.2.2" on the window to verify the connection.  You can also ping a website (such as www.yahoo.com) to verify full Internet connectivity.  If you can ping the website and get replies, but your computer still cannot browse other websites, it tells you that there is a computer issue and not a router issue.

The Ping responses

Ping works by sending an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo Request to a specified interface on the network and, in return, sends out replies to validate the connection.
 
The ping response is the most important thing to keep an eye on when performing a ping test.  Knowing what each response means will help and guide you identify the right troubleshooting path.
 
Below are the top responses that you commonly see when pinging.

Reply from – When you see this response from the address that you pinged, it means that your connection is good.  Take note of the time of replies you're receiving.  The more replies you get, the better your connection is with the router.

NOTE:  The Reply from response can be tricky so always remember to verify that you are getting a reply from the same IP address that you pinged.  For example, if you typed in "ping 4.2.2.2", ensure that you can also see a reply from “4.2.2.2” and not from another number.  If you are receiving a reply from a different IP address, this could mean that the IP address you pinged is not available.  

Request Timed Out – The ping command timed out because there was no reply from the host or the destination host is down.

Unknown Host – This response means that your computer cannot recognize the IP address that you are trying to ping.  Usually, this error message will recommend the user to check the spelling of the host name.

Destination Network / Host unreachable – This means that the host that you are trying to ping is down or is not operating on the network.

Hardware Error – This usually means that your network adapter is disabled or you have unplugged the Ethernet cable.

Common Ping results

There are many other things that ping can tell you, below are some of the possible issues you may encounter while performing a ping test and what to do:

i. If you try to ping your router from a computer on the Local Area Network (LAN) and you get a response – destination host unreachable, this means that your computer is not getting an IP address from the router.  You can then investigate the IP address settings on the device and verify the connections.  To find out how to check the IP address of your router, click here.  To learn how to check your computer’s connection to the router, click here.  To verify your computer’s connection to the Internet, click here.

ii. A destination host unreachable response could also mean that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is not giving the router an IP address.  You may need to check the Internet connection on your modem.  Contact your ISP for further assistance regarding this matter.

iii. If you are able to ping the router using an IP address but you receive an Unknown Host response, this means that your router is getting an IP address and it is connected to the Internet but there is an issue with Domain Name System (DNS).  To resolve this, you may need to release and renew the IP address on the computer or set a static DNS address.  To find out how to renew the IP address on your computer, click here.  To learn how to set a static DNS address on the computer, click here.

iv. If you are able to ping the router, an IP address, and a website (such as www.yahoo.com) successfully, but your computer still cannot browse any websites, this could mean that there is an issue with your Internet browser.  It could be that a proxy server is enabled or there are some high security settings causing trouble on the computer.  To verify whether or not this is a PC issue, you can try another browser or use another computer.

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