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A simple way to ping in Python

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PythonPing is simple way to ping in Python. With it, you can send ICMP Probes to remote devices like you would do from the terminal. PythonPing is modular, so that you can run it in a script as a standalone function, or integrate its components in a fully-fledged application.

Basic Usage

The simplest usage of PythonPing is in a script. You can use the ping function to ping a target. If you want to see the output immediately, emulating what happens on the terminal, use the verbose flag as below.

from pythonping import ping

ping('', verbose=True)

This will yeld the following result.

Reply from, 9 bytes in 0.17ms
Reply from, 9 bytes in 0.14ms
Reply from, 9 bytes in 0.12ms
Reply from, 9 bytes in 0.12ms

Regardless of the verbose mode, the ping function will always return a ResponseList object. This is a special iterable object, containing a list of Response items. In each response, you can find the packet received and some meta information, like the time it took to receive the response and any error message.

You can also tune your ping by using some of its additional parameters:

  • size is an integer that allows you to specify the size of the ICMP payload you desire
  • timeout is the number of seconds you wish to wait for a response, before assuming the target is unreachable
  • payload allows you to use a specific payload (bytes)
  • count specify allows you to define how many ICMP packets to send
  • interval the time to wait between pings, in seconds
  • sweep_start and sweep_end allows you to perform a ping sweep, starting from payload size defined in sweep_start and growing up to size defined in sweep_end. Here, we repeat the payload you provided to match the desired size, or we generate a random one if no payload was provided. Note that if you defined size, these two fields will be ignored
  • df is a flag that, if set to True, will enable the Don't Fragment flag in the IP header
  • verbose enables the verbose mode, printing output to a stream (see out)
  • out is the target stream of verbose mode. If you enable the verbose mode and do not provide out, verbose output will be send to the sys.stdout stream. You may want to use a file here.
  • match is a flag that, if set to True, will enable payload matching between a ping request and reply (default behaviour follows that of Windows which counts a successful reply by a matched packet identifier only; Linux behaviour counts a non equivalent payload with a matched packet identifier in reply as fail, such as when pinging with 1000 bytes and the reply is truncated to only the first 74 of request payload with a matching packet identifier)


Do I need privileged mode or root?

Yes, you need to be root to use pythonping.

Why do I need to be root to use pythonping?

All operating systems allow programs to create TCP or UDP sockets without requiring particular permissions. However, ping runs in ICMP (which is neither TCP or UDP). This means we have to create raw IP packets, and sniff the traffic on the network card. Operating systems are designed to require root for such operations. This is because having unrestricted access to the NIC can expose the user to risks if the application running has bad intentions. This is not the case with pythonping of course, but nonetheless we need this capability to create custom IP packets. Unfortunately, there is simply no other way to create ICMP packets.

Advanced Usage

If you wish to extend PythonPing, or integrate it in your application, we recommend to use the classes that are part of Python Ping instead of the ping function. executor.Communicator handles the communication with the target device, it takes care of sending ICMP requests and processing responses (note that for it to be thread safe you must then handle making a unique seed ID for each thread instance, see ping._init_ for an example of this). It ultimately produces the executor.ResponseList object. The Communicator needs to know a target and which payloads to send to the remote device. For that, we have several classes in the payload_provider module. You may want to create your own provider by extending payload_provider.PayloadProvider. If you are interested in that, you should check the documentation of both executor and payload_provider module.

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