Ping, Tracert and IPConfig – essential commands
There will come a time in almost everyone’s life, now that the majority of people have internet access, where these commands can be used to help solve a network configuration or connectivity problem. We use these commands daily in the CCTV surveillance industry, but they apply to many scenarios outside of it.
Using These Commands
To execute these commands, you will need to open the command prompt (Windows) or Terminal/Shell (Mac, Linux, Etc). In newer versions of Windows, you can reach the command prompt by opening the START menu and typing “Command Prompt” in the search box. On older version of Windows, you can click START, then RUN, then type “cmd” and hit enter. [WINDOWS KEY]+R is also a shortcut to bring up the RUN prompt.
Please note that these commands may perform differently in other operating systems, or have different variations. We will demonstrate the Windows version in this article.
The Commands Themselves
The easiest way to know whether your internet, or the device or server you are trying to reach, is working is to ping it. The command’s results will tell you how long it takes to send and receive packets between you and the destination. If the ping “times out”, either your connection is not reaching the outside world, meaning there is a problem with your network or internet connection, or the destination website, server, or device is not receiving your attempted ping. In the latter case, either you aren’t targeting the proper destination url or IP address, or the destination is offline or not configured properly.
Traceroute (command: “tracert”) displays the path, or route, of packets across the internet between you and the destination you are trying to reach. Each “hop” that it displays is a different point in the network that your connection hits between you and the destination. This command can be useful in pinpointing the location of problems with your internet connection or network, and can even be helpful in proving why your connection is slow to your ISP.
In the example image below, my connection to the 4th hop on the first packet send is slower than the rest… hmmm… I wonder why that happened.
This command is best for figuring out what your computer’s location and TCP/IP configuration is on the network. For instance, the command “ipconfig /all” will show you the devices global IP address, local IP address, DNS servers, and much more. You can also modify the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and DNS (Domain Name System) settings with the ipconfig command modifiers.
Below is a video demonstration we did for finding your default gateway using ipconfig.