Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

Ping strangeness is a term used in troubleshooting to describe the incidence of an unusual pattern or frequency of Packet Internet or Inter-Network Groper messages in a network. Pings are used to determine the presence of particular Internet Protocol ( IP ) addresses on host computers in a network and the time it takes for the ping packet to return.

The issuance of a ping request by a user or a program results in an Internet Control Message Protocol ( ICMP ) echo request. If the remote IP address is active, it responds with an ICMP echo reply. Ping can be used as an alternative to the traceroute utility to trace the hop or path that the ping echo takes through the network. Ping is faster, however, and generates less network traffic than traceroute.

Besides being a useful diagnostic tool, pings are sometimes used by router program ICMP requests so that network router tables can be kept up-to-date. Using a network monitoring tool, a network administrator can follow a packet exchange. If, for example, the monitor shows a consistent pattern of unexplained pings occurring in the same time period as the packet exchange, this "strange" pattern may be worth investigating.

This was last updated in August 2009
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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