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Computing a system for testing whether internet systems are responding and how long in milliseconds it takes them to respond
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a river in Thailand, a right tributary of the Chao Phraya River (Menam Chao Phraya). The Ping River is approximately 800 km long and drains an area of approximately 46,000 sq km. It rises in the north, in the northeastern spurs of the Tanen Taunggyi. It flows primarily through a mountainous and hilly populated area; the lower course flows through the Chao Phraya Valley (Menam Lowland). The river’s water level is high from April through November, the monsoon season. On the middle Ping, above the mouth of the Wang River, is the Bhumibhol electricity-distributing system, which consists of a reservoir more than 100 km long with a dam 154 m high and a hydroelectric power station with a capacity of approximately 500 megawatts. The system was built in 1966. The Ping is used primarily for irrigation. The city of Chiang Mai is situated on the river.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A sonic or ultrasonic pulse sent out by an echo-ranging sonar.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(networking, tool)
(ping, originally contrived to match submariners' term for the sound of a returned sonar pulse) A program written in 1983 by Mike Muuss (who also wrote TTCP) used to test reachability of destinations by sending them one, or repeated, ICMP echo requests and waiting for replies. Since ping works at the IP level its server-side is often implemented entirely within the operating system kernel and is thus the lowest level test of whether a remote host is alive. Ping will often respond even when higher level, TCP-based services cannot.

Sadly, Mike Muuss was killed in a road accident on 2000-11-20.

The term is also used as a verb: "Ping host X to see if it is up."

The Unix command "ping" can be used to do this and to measure round-trip delays.

The funniest use of "ping" was described in January 1991 by Steve Hayman on the Usenet group He was trying to isolate a faulty cable segment on a TCP/IP Ethernet hooked up to a NeXT machine. Using the sound recording feature on the NeXT, he wrote a script that repeatedly invoked ping, listened for an echo, and played back the recording on each returned packet. This caused the machine to repeat, over and over, "Ping ... ping ... ping ..." as long as the network was up. He turned the volume to maximum, ferreted through the building with one ear cocked, and found a faulty tee connector in no time.

Ping did not stand for "Packet InterNet Groper", Dave Mills offered this backronym expansion some time later.

See also ACK, ENQ, traceroute, spray.

The Story of the Ping Program.

Unix manual page: ping(8).
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(1) See also PNG, ping service, blog ping and iTunes Ping.

(2) A signal from an airplane's black box. See pinger.

(3) (Packet INternet Groper) An Internet utility used to determine whether a particular IP address is reachable online by sending out a packet and waiting for a response. Ping is used to test and debug a network as well as see if a user or server is online.

Are You There?
"Can you ping the server?" means typing ping xx.xx.xx.xx at the command line. The xx's are the four numbers in the dotted decimal IP address used to identify IP clients and servers. If the request times out, the address cannot be reached. A ping utility also typically supports DNS name resolution, and the domain name may be used. For example, ping would yield the same results as typing in the correct numeric address. See IP address, ICMP and DNS.

Ping Me!

The term was coined when submarines first used sonar to detect enemy ships. A pinging sound was heard in the headset when a signal reflected back from an object in the water.

Ping is geekspeak for "call" or "get in touch." "Ping me at home" means "call me at home." It is also used to mean sending or transmitting a short burst of data; for example, "the GPS transmitter pings the satellite every few seconds."
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References in periodicals archive ?
He also said that scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution used a pinger with the same specification as MH370 in their study of baleen whales.
An experiment to test the effectiveness of pingers on reducing marine mammal entanglement began in 1996 and continued through 27 October 1997, after which time, pingers became mandatory.
'We have not had detailed costings yet for these so-called pinger devices but the idea is they should be placed at certain intervals along nets so it could add to quite a sum.
These pingers are designed to warn the porpoises away from nets.
The Commission claimed that acoustic pingers have been proven to reduce the accidental catches of small cetaceans around the world and the mandatory use of pingers on bottom-set gillnets in areas frequented by harbour porpoises would cut down accidental deaths.
Fisheries minister Elliot Morley said the pingers are likely to save many porpoises, which can get trapped on the sea bed unable to come up for air.
Results: Division 1: Eaglescliffe B 2-8 Northfield Advanced: Hartlepool Westbourne 0-10 Northfield Patriots: Northfield Meercats 6-4 Northfield Pingers.
Tony Langley and Dave Williams picked Cope up points for the Pingers. Langley defeating Nick corking eight in the fifth after being 2-0 down and 1-5 down at the turnaround in the last end.
The B team recorded a convincing win over Northfield Pingers with Danny Welsh being the star man for Eaglescliffe.
The title may be won and lost by which team can beat the bottom three teams by the biggest margin which is not easy when they each can field some dangerous players, an example being Keith Robertson of Hartlepool Westbourne winning two against champions Eaglescliffe and players such as Karl Shaw and Mick Young for Meerkats and Luke Bradburn and Ken Edon for Pingers.
The black boxes' locator beacons, known as pingers, will emit signals for only another eight days.
In the bottom half of the division, Northfield Meerkats beat Pingers 6-4.