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Interpreting PING results

Posted on 2000-05-17
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Last Modified: 2008-03-03
When I ping a certain site, here is the result I get:

Reply from 209.198.87.53:  bytes=32 time=30ms TTL=238

What does the TTL=238 mean?
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Question by:Danimal
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10 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:hkmdj
ID: 2818081
Time To Live, but this can be confusing because it actually increments/decrements as it crosses a router.  If it takes 15 hops to get to the destination, it will have been decremented 15 times.

The question is setting the TTL on the way out.  If you set it low, forcing the ping to occur prior to a certain number of hops, the packet will be returned with a request timed out.

Consider this from the OpenBSD man pages:

The TTL value of an IP packet represents the maximum number of IP routers that the packet can go through before being thrown away.  In current practice you can expect each router in the Internet to decrement the TTL field by exactly one.

TCP/IP specification states that the TTL field for TCP packets should be set to 60, but many systems use smaller values.  The maximum value for the field is 255.

dj
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MnNCOMM earned 25 total points
ID: 2818087
TTL means TIME TO LIVE you received 32 bytes in 30 miliseconds. TTL is kinda like starting out with one number and see it get less as it gets to you. TIME TO LIVE. So if it started out at 256 it has 256 (or whatever value is the cut off) before it is dead "Thus the term TIME TO LIVE"

The TTL is a number divisable by 2 (Almost like RAM size to speak) Like 64, 128, 256

So if the original TTL was 256 and you received a TTL response of 238 it would be "Aproximately" 18 hops.

But you can only guess what the original TTL was.
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Expert Comment

by:hkmdj
ID: 2818235
255 is the maximum value that a TTL can be.  The purpose of the 'ram speak' is specific to how far you want the ping to go.

0 - right here
1 - subnet
32 - site
64 - region
128 - continent
255 - unrestricted

you can set the ttl through some ping commands, generally -t 255 or whatever.

dj

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Author Comment

by:Danimal
ID: 2818320
Something is not making sense here.  But I will accept this answer for now....when I have a more focused question, I'll open another

thanks everyone.
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Expert Comment

by:MnNCOMM
ID: 2818391
If I explain it another way (Hopefully without being critisized for this example by others <smile>"

Ok.... Lets say your playing a game like dungeons and dragons or Monopoly or some sort of game where you have 100 Life Points (Or 100 dollars in the bank). As you use the game your using points.

So you have 100 TIME TO LIVE till you get to ZERO.

Now use 256 as the TIME TO LIVE (Thats what it has in the bank)

Now the signal that is sent to you starts its path at the far end at 256,
by the time it gets to you it now has a life of 238 so it used up 18 life points (So to speak). So we assume each hop is a point (For the most part) so you can estimate that it was aproximately 18 hops before the signal finally got to you. Thus the term used 238 TTL was received at your puter.


Figure it as a kind of signal strength meter from what the original TTL was and what is was when you got it at your machine. (But it is NOT signal strength I just said that as an example)

Hope that wasn't too technical and I did not open a can of worms for the poor example I used as other may think it was a bad example to use but I think you will get the point.... hee hee
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Expert Comment

by:hkmdj
ID: 2818406
When you can get the number 256 into an 8 bit field, you can legitimately have the points for this.  No harm, no foul, I guess.   :-)

dj
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by:MnNCOMM
ID: 2818424
HK we must have been typing at the same time I guess cuz I saw no other posts when reading this question. Your post was 4 min before mine. It must have been as I was typing it out here. I do feel I explained it better and more in detail so he could understand it though. So when I saw the posts after the screen refreshed I left it as an answer due to the explaination I had.

I don't want you to think I just "Went for the gusto" seing other posts here.

Tanx
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Expert Comment

by:hkmdj
ID: 2818447
understood, they were very close.  Alls well, onward and upward!

dj
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Author Comment

by:Danimal
ID: 2818455
just so  you know, I noticed about the 256 being too big a number for 2^8, but so the (Edited by Computer101) what?  

What is not making sense is that the results I get on different pings is not agreeing with some of the details provided in the answer.

Like I said, I will ask a more focused question later
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Expert Comment

by:MnNCOMM
ID: 2818557
What don't you get?

Figure going to the mall with $100.00. You have $100.00 till your broke. Your TTL is 100.

Now you spend $1.00 at each shop you go to. You are left with 90 bucks when you get home. So when your mom asks for a ping she gets a package size that was sent (32 bytes)which is the default size, it then took 30 miliseconds to get the result (Or you spent 30 miliseconds shoping "Yea Right") and the TTL was 90 bucks. So now she knows you went to 10 shops (Or rather aproximately 10 hops within)

You will get different ping results on most every ping. It depends on the time of day, how much traffic is in YOUR area as well as how much traffic is in the area your pinging TO as well as what route your going through at that time. Servers have downtime for maintenance, Servers fill up their connections, and you get re-routed around them to a different path that may be more or less of a path to the destintion your trying to reach.

You can't control the route it may change at anytime (For the most part)

Its kinda like the phone company when you pick up the phone to make a long distance call. It may go through satelite, ground, microwave or any combination there of. The route is determined in a split milisecond by ways WE as a user cannot control by yet another computer system.

But as far as the PING is concerned it will have a TTL all the time "For that route, at THAT time"

Also Please watch the language. We do not accept this type of language here on EE. We have users from many age groups and it may not be apreciated by some, and offend others.
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