So many pings…

When I got into networking there was only one type of ping I was familiar with: ping.  After being in networking for awhile and working with different groups I’ve come to encounter a few other varieties of ping-like tools that are used to perform basic troubleshooting for different applications.  Here’s a high level look at some of the more popular ones I have encountered.


Ping is probably the most common and well known tool for troubleshooting reachability of a host.  Ping usually uses ICMP (although it can be set to use UDP or TCP on operating system). It sends an echo packet to the destination and waits for the echo-reply packet to be sent back.  With it’s default settings ping is able to show you if a host is active, the round trip time, TTL, and any packet loss.  Using other options you can also use it to troubleshoot fragmentation issues, MTU issues, or determine the return path (record option).  Ping comes standard on every operating system as well as all networking hardware. For more info on the version of ping included in Cisco IOS check out this page.


TNSPing is a utility created by Oracle to determine if an Oracle service can be successfully reached over the network. It only confirms if the listener is up and will not give you any indication of the state of the database itself.

TNSPing will test a few things:

  • Was the service name specified correctly – typically it is defined in the tnsnames.ora file
  • Is the listener listening (if it can’t connect to the listener you can doublecheck the correct port was specified in the tnsnames.ora file and that any firewall between the tnsping utility and destination is allowing the traffic)
  • The roundtrip time for each connection test

For more information on TNSPing check out this link from Oracle.


NiPing is a tool developed by SAP.  Niping will test:

  • to test network connectivity
  • latency
  • throughput.

Niping works similarly to a iperf/ttcp test in that it requires a client and server version of the tool to run.  Like TNSPing, Niping runs tests on a higher level than ICMP does.  Niping is useful to see if the required ports for SAP are open on a firewall if telnet isn’t available.  For more information on NiPing check out this link.


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