Ping is a computer network administration utility used to test the reachability of a host on an Internet Protocol (IP) network and to measure the round-trip time for messages sent from the originating host to a destination computer. The name comes from active sonar terminology.
Ping operates by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echo request packets to the target host and waiting for an ICMP response. In the process it measures the time from transmission to reception (round-trip time) and records any packet loss. The results of the test are printed in the form of a statistical summary of the response packets received, including the minimum, maximum, and the mean round-trip times, and sometimes the standard deviation of the mean.
Ping may be run using various options (command line switches) depending on the implementation that enable special operational modes, such as to specify the packet size used as the probe, automatic repeated operation for sending a specified count of probes, time stamping options, or to perform a ping flood. Flood pinging may be abused as a simple form of denial-of-service attack, in which the attacker overwhelms the victim with ICMP echo request packets.