Pathping is a TCP/IP based utility that provides useful information about network latency and network loss at intermediate hops between a source address and a destination address.

It is a Windows based command-line tool is similar to the tracert tool in a sense that it traces the path that an Internet Protocol (IP) packet takes from a source to its destination.

Pathping will determine the path taken to the destination the same way like tracert, but provides more information.

Where is PATHPING used?

The pathping command is used to visually see a network packet being sent and received. It also shows the amount of network hops required for that packet to get to its destination.

Pathping provides additional information such as network latency and network loss which makes it a good tool for researching network issues.

Pathping syntax

Windows 2000 Syntax

pathping  [-n] [-h maximum_hops] [-g host-list] [-p period]
 [-q num_queries] [-w timeout] [-t] [-R] [-r] target_name

Windows XP Syntax

pathping  [-g host-list] [-h maximum_hops] [-i address] [-n]
 [-p period] [-q num_queries] [-w timeout] [-P] [-R] [-T] 
 [-4] [-6] target_name

-g host-list
 Loose source route along host-list.

-h maximum_hops
 Maximum number of hops to search for target.

 Prevents pathping from attempting to resolve the IP addresses of intermediate routers to their names. This is good to consider if the problem is with name resolution, or if DNS for example is not configured on the. The time spent trying to contact a name server can be avoided using this switch.

 Specifies the maximum number of hops in the path to search for the target (destination). The default is 30 hops.

-i address
 Use the specified source address.

 Specifies the number of milliseconds to wait between consecutive pings. The default is 250 milliseconds (1/4 second).

 Specifies the number of Echo Request messages sent to each router in the path. The default is 100 queries.

 Specifies the number of milliseconds to wait for each reply. The default is 3000 milliseconds (3 seconds).

 Displays help at the command prompt

How is Pathping used?

In Windows 98 or ME, go to Start -> Run, and type command and press ENTER.

In Windows 2000 or XP, go to Start -> Run, and type cmd and press the ENTER.

To run the pathping type pathping [hostname] where the [hostname] is the name of the server that you are connection testing.

This test will take a while. It will generate a list of the connection along the way and some information about the speed of the steps too.

Useful tip

If you have difficulty copying the pathping information from the command prompt screen, you can send the pathping output to a text file. In that case, type:

pathping [hostname] > C:\pathping_output.txt

This will write the command results to the text file named pathping_output.txt in the root of your C: drive.

Related network tool

Other useful tools are PING and TRACERT.

What it Time-to-Live?

Time to Live or TTL is a term related to networking concepts, you can find more here: Time to Live.


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