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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book



The Network Utility program found in your Mac OS X Applications/Utilities folder offers many useful network diagnostic tools, including Ping. To give it a try, open Network Utility and click the Ping tab. Windows users can open a command-line window and type PING <server name> to do the same thing.

Ping is used to troubleshoot an Internet connection. It sends a signal to a remote system, waits for acknowledgment, and shows how long the round trip took.

You can use this information in several ways:

  • Ping the IP address of a machine on your LAN to see if your network hardware is working.

  • Ping a server by name, as in yahoo.com, to see if your Internet name resolution, or DNS, works. If you can see a numeric address but not a word-based address, your DNS settings are likely wrong.

  • Ping a server to see how responsive it is. If it takes more than 500 milliseconds round trip, the remote server or the Internet itself is slow. If you see considerable packet loss, you have a poor connection.

Traceroute is Ping on steroids. It returns the names of the servers through which your packet traveled to reach its destination and how long each leg of the trip took. It's fun to see the places your data passes through on the way to its destination, and it can be useful information for diagnosing an Internet slowdown.


To reboot is to restart the computer. Rebooting the computer often is the first step in attempting to fix an otherwise healthy computer that is exhibiting random or minor malfunctions (that is, it's unusually slow, freezing frequently, or stuttering).

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