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Nov 12, 2022 2 min read

How to Do a UDP Ping

Table of Contents

While ping is one of the most basic command utilities to troubleshoot networking issues, it only sends ICMP packages (belonging to the IP layer) and ports (belonging to the Transport layer) making it impossible to ping on specific ports!

So what’s the solution? Well, I’m going to use other utilities that have the same effect as the ping command with the ability to specify ports!

  • nmap
  • netcat

So let's get started with the nmap utility.

Method 1: Ping UDP using nmap

The nmap utility is mainly used for security auditing as it provides real-time data, a list of live hosts, and a lot more but can also be used to do a UDP ping.

But it requires manual installation and if you're on a Debian-based distro, you can use the given command to install nmap:

sudo apt install nmap

For example, I've used UDP port 161 of the host at itsfoss.com:

sudo nmap -sU -p 161 itsfoss.com
Using nmap for UDP ping

Now, let me break down the used options with nmap:

  • -sU was used to force nmap to scan for UDP ports
  • -p option was used to mention specific ports or you can also use a range of ports here

Method 2: Ping UDP using netcat

The netcat utility covers everything that comes under TCP and UDP which fits perfectly for our use case.

For example, I'll be pinging itsfoss.com at UDP port 161 to check for listening ports only:

netcat -v -u -z itsfoss.com 161
Using netcat for UDP ping

Here,

  • -v was used to produce verbose output
  • -u uses UDP instead of TCP (the default behavior)
  • -z scans for listening ports only

And that should get your job done. Have more ideas? I would love to hear from you.

Final Words

This was my take on how to perform UDP ping with two different utilities so you can choose what suits your workflow.

And if you have any queries, feel free to ping them in the comments!

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