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Information Technology Help Desk

Using Ping and Tracert (Windows 2000/XP/Vista)

Ping

Tracert

Additional Resources

 


Using the Ping command

Use the Ping command to ensure that there is good communication between devices using IP addresses. Run this utility from a command prompt. Open the Command Prompt window by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Command Prompt. At the command prompt type ping followed by the IP address you would like to check. For example, ping 134.126.10.50. This can also be done with web addresses such as ping www.jmu.edu. When you ping, if communication is good between your computer and the computer or device you are pinging, you should see something like the following:

Pinging 134.126.10.50 with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 134.126.10.50: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=62
Reply from 134.126.10.50: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=62
Reply from 134.126.10.50: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=62
Reply from 134.126.10.50: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=62
Ping statistics for 134.126.10.50:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms

Ping sends a small amount of data from your machine to the destination machine or device and checks to see if the data returns.

If communication is not working properly, then you will see something similar to the following:

Pinging 134.126.255.255 with 32 bytes of data:

Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Ping statistics for 134.126.255.255:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

Note that sometimes, something will appear to time out even though it is actually fine. An example of this is www.microsoft.com, which times out when pinged even though the site comes up OK. Some sites restrict what data they send out, including pinging statistics.



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Using the Tracert command

Use the Tracert command to troubleshoot TCP/IP communication issues more specifically than using Ping. Run this utility from a command prompt. Open the Command Prompt window by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Command Prompt. At the command prompt type tracert followed by the IP address you would like to check. For example, tracert 134.126.10.50. This can also be done with web addresses such as ping www.jmu.edu. Tracert shows the "hops" between your machine and the destination machine or device. Tracert will number the hops from machine to machine. If an asterisk (*) appears, then there is either a failure to communicate or the destination site (if you are using tracert on a web address) is not revealing that data. For example, if you find that pinging a web site times out, and you verify that you cannot open the page in a browser, then try tracert. This will show you where the communication problem is occurring. Tracert could yield information that would determine if the communication issue is within our network or outside of our network.

Note that sometimes, something will appear to time out even though it is actually fine. An example of this is www.microsoft.com, which times out after several hops, when the route is traced even though the site comes up OK. Some sites restrict what data they send out, including tracert information.



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Additional Resources

TCP/IP Troubleshooting

Ping and Traceroute in Macintosh OS X



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