Windows Pathping Network utility

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Pathping is a TCP/IP based utility (command-line tool) that provides useful information about network latency and network loss at intermediate hops between a source address and a destination address. It does this by sending echo requests via ICMP and analyzing the results. ICMP stands for Internet Control Message Protocol. ICMP is an extension to the Internet Protocol (IP - part of the TCP/IP protocol suite) defined by RFC_792. ICMP supports packets containing error, control, and informational messages. Pathping will send multiple echo request messages to each router between what you are attempting to ping – the source address. 

 

Syntax

To use pathping, you simply need to open a command prompt on the source system you will run the test from. 

Running pathping is easy. Open a command prompt (start -> run -> cmd -> Click Command prompt or Enter key) and type pathping.

As listed here, you can see that the pathping command has many options to include

-n


Prevents pathping from attempting to resolve the IP addresses of intermediate routers to their names. You may want to consider doing this if you think you have a name resolution issue, or if DNS for example is not configured on your system … the time spent trying to contact a name server can be avoided using this switch.


-h


Specifies the maximum number of hops in the path to search for the target (destination). The default is 30 hops.


-p


Specifies the number of milliseconds to wait between consecutive pings. The default is 250 milliseconds (1/4 second).


-q


Specifies the number of Echo Request messages sent to each router in the path. The default is 100 queries.


-w


Specifies the number of milliseconds to wait for each reply. The default is 3000 milliseconds (3 seconds).


/?


Displays help at the command prompt

 

There are more options, but these are the most commonly used. You can use the help feature to learn more about the options as they are listed in the Windows command prompt.

To use pathping, launch the pathping command from the source to the destination and let pathping do its computation.

Here is an example, using pathping to test between a production LAN out to the Internet to Google web server.

 

NOTE: You will also have to be a little patient while pathping is running.

Pathping will first display your results as if you were using tracert or traceroute, which is a similar utility covered in a separate article. Tracert will show you the ‘path’ through the network as well as verify connectivity but will not show you how the packet is traversing in relation to speed, bandwidth usage and latency. Next (and this is where patience sets in), depending on the hop count (how many router hops that need to be analyzed), check pathping’s results for the Lost/Sent = Pct and Address columns show that the links may either be over utilized (if you have a high drop rate) and so on.

The loss rates displayed for the links, identified as a vertical bar (|) in the Address column, indicate link congestion that is causing the loss of packets that are being forwarded on the path. The loss rates displayed for routers (identified by their IP addresses) indicate that these routers may have a problem with overloading or saturation.

Note:
If you see the ‘*’ sign, don’t fret immediately – there may be a firewall blocking ICMP, so you may not get the response although the site is up and responsive. ACL (access control lists) and firewall rule-sets commonly throw off network testers because of this fact. Make sure you know the layout of your network if you are going to troubleshoot it and take this into consideration as it is commonly seen.

 

Once pathping has completed you can send the results to support / NOC on a current ticket or create a new support request, be sure to include and provide the output of pathping for us to investigate the matter further.

You can lodge a ticket from our MySAU Customer Portal or by emailing support@serversaustralia.com.au

 

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