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How To Monitor Ping Requests on Your Network

Ubuntu 16

When managing a network, it’s crucial to keep tabs on the traffic that comes in and out of your system. One of the most common types of network traffic is the ping request. In this article, we will guide you through several methods on how to monitor ping requests on your network.

Quick Answer

To monitor ping requests on your network, you can use tools like tcpdump, Avahi, iptables-persistent, or Wireshark. These tools allow you to intercept and analyze network traffic, specifically ICMP echo requests (ping requests). By using these tools, you can gain insights into your network’s traffic patterns and identify any potential issues or security threats.

Understanding Ping Requests

Ping is a computer network diagnostic tool used to test the reachability of a host on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. It operates by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo Request messages to the target host and waiting for an Echo Reply. The time taken from sending the request to receiving the reply is measured and gives an indication of the network latency between the two hosts.

Monitoring Ping Requests

There are several ways to monitor ping requests on your network. We will cover some of the most effective methods.

Using tcpdump

Tcpdump is a command-line packet sniffer tool available on most Unix-based systems. It allows users to intercept and display network packets being transmitted or received over a network.

Here’s how you can use tcpdump to monitor ICMP echo requests (ping requests):

sudo tcpdump -i ethX icmp and icmp[icmptype]=icmp-echo

In this command:

  • sudo gives the command administrative privileges.
  • tcpdump is the command to start the packet sniffer.
  • -i ethX specifies the network interface to listen on (replace ethX with your actual network interface, like eth0 or eth1).
  • icmp filters the output to only show ICMP packets.
  • and icmp[icmptype]=icmp-echo further filters the output to only show ICMP echo requests, which are ping requests.

Using Avahi

Avahi is a system which facilitates service discovery on a local network. It allows you to browse your network for available services and hosts.

To install Avahi, you can use the following command:

sudo apt-get install avahi-utils

Once installed, you can use the following command to browse your network:

avahi-browse -rat

This command will compile a full list of connections, including the hostname, IP addresses (both IPv4 and IPv6), and ports. This can help you identify who is pinging your PC.

Using iptables-persistent

Iptables-persistent is a service in Ubuntu that saves IP Tables rules and restores them on boot.

First, install the package using the command:

sudo apt-get install iptables-persistent

Then, add the following command to the /etc/iptables/rules.v4 file:

-A INPUT -p icmp --icmp-type echo-request -j LOG --log-prefix "LOG_IPTABLES_PING_REQUEST: "

This command will log all incoming ICMP echo requests. To check who is pinging you, you can use the grep command to search for the log entries:

grep 'LOG_IPTABLES_PING_REQUEST: ' /var/log/messages

Using Wireshark

Wireshark is a popular network protocol analyzer. It lets you see what’s happening on your network at a microscopic level. It is available for Windows, Linux, OS X, and other platforms.

To install Wireshark, you can download it from the official website.

Once installed, you can use it to capture and analyze network traffic, including ICMP packets.


Monitoring ping requests on your network is a crucial aspect of network management. Whether you choose to use tcpdump, Avahi, iptables-persistent, or Wireshark, each tool offers a unique way to monitor and analyze network traffic. By understanding how to use these tools, you can gain a better understanding of your network traffic and enhance your network’s security and performance.

What is the purpose of monitoring ping requests on a network?

Monitoring ping requests allows network administrators to track the reachability and latency of hosts on their network. It helps identify network issues, troubleshoot connectivity problems, and ensure optimal network performance.

Can I monitor ping requests on any network?

Yes, you can monitor ping requests on any network that allows ICMP traffic. However, keep in mind that some networks may have security measures in place that restrict ICMP traffic, which could limit your ability to monitor ping requests.

Is tcpdump available for Windows?

No, tcpdump is primarily available for Unix-based systems. However, there are alternative packet sniffing tools available for Windows, such as Wireshark and Microsoft Message Analyzer.

How can I identify the source of a ping request using tcpdump?

When using tcpdump, the output will display the source IP address of the ping request. By analyzing the source IP address, you can identify the device or host that sent the ping request.

Can I monitor ping requests on a wireless network?

Yes, you can monitor ping requests on a wireless network. The methods mentioned in this article, such as using tcpdump or Wireshark, can be applied to both wired and wireless networks.

Are there any legal considerations when monitoring ping requests on a network?

It is important to comply with local laws and regulations when monitoring network traffic, including ping requests. Ensure that you have the necessary authorization and follow privacy guidelines to avoid any legal issues.

Can monitoring ping requests help detect network attacks?

Yes, monitoring ping requests can be useful in detecting certain types of network attacks, such as ICMP flood attacks. Unusually high levels of ping requests or suspicious patterns in the traffic can indicate a potential attack on the network.

Is Wireshark a free tool?

Yes, Wireshark is an open-source and free-to-use network protocol analyzer. It is widely used and trusted by network professionals for capturing and analyzing network traffic.

How often should I monitor ping requests on my network?

The frequency of monitoring ping requests depends on your network’s needs and the level of monitoring required. It is recommended to have continuous monitoring in place or perform regular checks to identify any network issues promptly.

Can monitoring ping requests impact network performance?

Monitoring ping requests using tools like tcpdump or Wireshark generally has minimal impact on network performance. However, it is important to use these tools judiciously and avoid capturing excessive amounts of network traffic, which could potentially affect performance.

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