Tim Mattison

Hardcore tech

Tip: Monitor Networked Devices Aurally With Ping on Mac OS and Linux

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I work with embedded Ethernet devices a lot and I need to monitor them to know exactly when they restart or if they go down during testing. I used to do it with ping sitting on an external monitor and just glance up at it every few minutes to see what’s happening. This is a less than optimal solution since it requires me to constantly be distracted by a stream of information, it eats up screen real estate, and it forces me to keep an electron inhaling LCD panel running.

I just discovered that the standard ping utility in Linux and Mac OS has a neat feature to alleviate this pain. It will output an audible bell on every packet either received (showing a device is online) or missed (showing a device is offline). It’s your choice which one you use, of course. Personally, I have only needed the offline alert since I just need to be able to get into devices to see what they’re doing immediately after a planned restart.

To get audible notification for every packet missed do this:

ping -A hostname

To get audible notification for every packet received do this:

ping -a hostname

Now you can work without distraction until you hear those BELs.