A Packet Inter-Network Groper, or ping, is a software utility network program used to test and verify the reachability of a host on an Internet Protocol (IP) address. It uses the command (CMD) prompt to verify whether a computer can communicate with another computer or a device over the network and is available across all operating systems of Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. Any user who wishes to check their IP can use the command. The syntax of the ping command may differ from one operating system to another. 

The term was first used in 1983 and took the name “ping” because the action of the utility mimicked that of a sonar sending out a signal. The characteristics of the return signal (timing, strength, direction) were useful in determining what lay ahead of a the sender.

What are ping’s key functions?

Although troubleshooting is the most important function of ping, it also performs the following functions:

  • Commonly used to troubleshoot reachability and connectivity and can be used to test the network communication between two devices. 
  • Can determine the name and IP address of a computer. 
  • Can be used to measure the network performance and to manage the network connectivity issues successfully.
  • Comes with flags such as -t, -a, -n, -l, -f, and -r count, to name a few, and each of these has a specific function when used along with the command itself.

How does ping work?

Pinging verifies IP connectivity to another transmission control protocol (TCP/IP) computer by sending specific echo request messages such as internet control message protocol (ICMP) to a specified address. When the target host receives this echo request, it immediately replies with an echo reply packet. The command is considered successful only if the echo request gets to the proper destination and the destination can get back to the source within a given time period. Otherwise, it sends a timeout message. 

Ping’s three major uses

The command can be applied to identify various connectivity and latency issues in both local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) settings, including:


One of the most common usages of the command is verifying an IP address. Pinging the IP in question enables users to know if there are any routing, network speed, or congestion issues within the network. Moreover, each unsuccessful ping can also provide troubleshooting information.


Spoofing includes sending fake information to a server wherein the false data acts as original data packets and sends the data to the server-side. When this happens, the receiving server responds to a third-party user rather than the original sender. 

Ping in Online Video Gaming

In online gaming, ping refers to the network latency period and is usually represented as low ping and high ping, specified with specific values. A value of 20 ms is said to be exceptional, while a value between 50 and 100 ms is called low ping, and a ping of 150 ms or more is less desirable and categorized as high ping. In general, a low ping is preferable for games where timing and position are important, while high ping results in delays or lag in playing the game, which usually affects the game outcome.

Siji Roy
Siji Roy specializes in technology, finance, and content marketing. She helps organizations to communicate with their target audience. She received her Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism from the University of Calicut, India. She is fortunate to be married to a lovely person and blessed with three naughty boys.

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