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Basic TCP/IP Utilities Available on Windows

Usage of the network utilities that are available on Windows machines

Besides being the most popular network protocol used today, TCP/P also has some of the more complete tools for gathering information and checking connections.

The IPX protocol used on Netware has generated some third party products which can provide some of the TCP/IP like analysis that standard TCP/IP utilities provide.

However, even with some clever products, the standard suite of bundled TCP/IP utilities is quite sufficient and useful in most common situation. Some of the basic utility programs that comes free with Windows are listed below.


PING

Ping is probably one of the most used utility available. Whenever a savvy user or network administrator faces a slow or unresponsive network connection, the instinct is to ping some known sites to get an idea of the network's reliability, configuration and throughput.

Ping is a utility designed to verify a connection between two host machines by sending ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) packets. The utility waits a configurable period for a reply, usually in seconds, from the target host for each packet it sends. By default the Windows Ping utility sends four ICMP echo packets that consists of 32 bytes of data.

However you can use command line parameters to send more packets and even to change the size of the packets. Ping with the option -a will also resolve the IP address to a hostname, which will be shown in the first line of the status sentence.

If the DNS server of your network is your router that will do the forwarding of all DNS queries, pinging a hostname will also be responded with a IP address corresponding to the host machine.

If you are concerned that TCP/IP is not installed properly on your PC, you can also ping yourself. You can use two methods to ping your own PC - eithier type in the address of your PC after the ping command, or ping what's called the loop-back address.

The loopback ping is nice if you are using a DHCP client that don't really know what the PC's IP address is. A destination host unreachable error response normally indicates incorrectly setup gateway or gateway information unavailable. While a request time out indicate destination is down, not available or behind a firewall.