Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Trying to figure out if your laptop is connected to your home or office network? ping it.
ping is a diagnostic tool used for verifying connectivity between two hosts on a network. It sends Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echo request packets to a remote IP address and watches for ICMP responses. The author of the initial version of the ping program that we use today was Mike Muss. Many other people have tweaked, rewritten and variously abused ping since then.
The name ping itself is somewhat colorful. Some people claim that it is an acronym standing for Packet INternet Groper, but this is not the case. ping was named after the sound a sonar tracking system makes. There even is a story claiming that a system administrator wrote a script that repeatedly pinged a host on the network and made an audible "pinging" alert for each success. The system administrator then was able to go through his network methodically checking BNC connectors until he found the dodgy connector that had been plaguing his network. When the noises stopped, he'd found the culprit.