### interpreting ping results

• I'm pinging yahoo.com and am I'm puzzled by the result.

``````C:\Users\jon>ping -t yahoo.com

Pinging yahoo.com [98.138.253.109] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=195ms TTL=46
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=230ms TTL=44
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=175ms TTL=45
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=208ms TTL=44
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=180ms TTL=46
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=206ms TTL=44
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=209ms TTL=44
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=173ms TTL=46
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=170ms TTL=46
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=224ms TTL=45
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=200ms TTL=45
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=172ms TTL=46
Reply from 98.138.253.109: bytes=32 time=258ms TTL=44
``````

I vaguely understand the TTL value as the number of hops that the packet traverses to reach its destination, but I don't understand how TTL can have such a dramatic +/- 1 variance in such a short amount of time.

Also, it seems Yahoo has some kind of rate-limiting implemented as a persistent ping will start timing out after about 20 packets. Is this normal? bing.com doesn't even reply to me!

When pinging google.com the TTLs are consistent.

When pinging Twitter.com sometimes I get TTL=249, but usually TTL-58.

What's going on? Are my ISP up to no good or is there a less sinister explanation?

ibgp load balancing by one of your upstreams is a possible cause, but we have insufficient information to know. You can find this out by tracerouting... pls google for mtr and explore some more

If you can provide your source ip (curl http://my.ip.fi) I can try several vantage points to see the return path options

8 years ago

Most likely this is caused by load balancing across multiple networks. Each ping will take a different path and accordingly will have a difference TTL value.

I also read about search engine providers doing strange things with TTL, but its just going through a different route either way.

TTL values are different when sourced from different operating systems:

• Windows: 128
• Linux: 64
• Cisco: 255
• Solaris: 255

And yes, some sites will stop responding to ICMP after a certain amount of time, or when a rate limit is hit. I believe Google's DNS on 8.8.8.8 eventually stops after a while.