How to Ping the Windows Network Router - dummies

By Dan Gookin

The first test you need to make for a router is to ping it, or send it a signal that proves not only that the router is there but also that your computer is connected to the router and that all communications are taking place in a friendly manner.

To send the router a friendly ping, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start menu, choose All Programs→Accessories→Command Prompt.

    A Command Prompt window opens.

  2. To discover the router’s address, type ipconfig and press Enter.

    The ipconfig command coughs up some information about your PC’s current network configuration. You see information that includes something like this:

       IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
       Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
       Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

    The IPv4 address is your PC’s IP address on the local network. The address is assigned by the router, using something called DHCP.

    The subnet mask is a type of filter that helps PCs on the network better see each other.

    The default gateway is the IP address of the router. Make a note of it.

    If you see the message, media disconnected, check both ends of the Ethernet cable.

  3. Type the command ping, a space, and then the IP address of the router, or default gateway; press Enter.

    For example, using the output shown in Step 2, the command is


    After you press the Enter key, the ping command attempts to send four packets of information to the router, which should echo those results to you. You see something like this:

    Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=127
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=127
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=127
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=127
    Ping statistics for
        Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
        Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms

    The information is technical, but not complex. The key is that you want to see a mess of data, as shown in the previous example. When you see the text Destination host unreachable or Request timed out, that’s when the PC has trouble communicating with the router.

  4. Type exit and press Enter to close the Command Prompt window.

Are there problems? You may not seem to see any, but first confirm that the gateway address given in Step 2 is the same as the router address. If not, the PC is most likely just pinging itself in Step 3. That works, but it’s not the same as communicating with the router.

When the router is unreachable, you probably need to turn off the router and then turn it on again. Because most routers lack a Power button, you need to unplug it and then plug it back in. After the power is back on, try repeating these steps to see whether you can ping the router.

If the router remains unreachable, you need to restart the entire network.

  • The ipconfig command’s output lists some Tunnel adapter information. Feel free to ignore it.

  • The router is also a gateway, which is why the results of the ipconfig command list its address as Default Gateway.

  • IP stands for Internet Protocol.