audioping: a useful hack for network debugging

Steve Hayman sahayman at
Wed Feb 20 08:06:58 AEST 1991

Here is a quick hack I dreamed up one night when we were
having network problems on the thinwire in our office.

This simple script will "ping" another host, and make an appropriate sound
whenever a returned packet is received (which is once a second, if
everything is working).  So you can go wandering around your network
trying to locate problems, and if you fiddle the right connector and
things suddenly start working again, you'll know about it because
you'll hear this voice in the background going PING ... PING ... PING
(or making whatever other sound you want.)

Before you run this, you need to find an appropriate sound source, 
and change one line in the script to indicate how you want
the sound produced.  (The default is just to echo a beep,
which works and is portable, but isn't very exciting.)

If you're on a NeXT, you can do this:

    % sndrecord ping.snd
	hit RETURN 
	say "PING" into the microphone
	hit RETURN again - quickly, you want the sound file 
	to be less than one second long.

    edit the script to add this line

	makenoise="sndplay ping.snd"

    [NeXT users may prefer to get the NeXTStep program "",
     written by Chris Kane (kane at which is based on
     this idea, only with a graphical interface.   You can
     ftp it from, it's pub/next/apps/Ping2.0.tar.Z]

If you're on a Sparcstation, and you have a microphone attached
    % cat /dev/audio >ping.snd
    say "PING" into the microphone
    *QUICKLY* hit control-C (or your interrupt character) to make
    sure the sound file is less than 1 second long.

    edit the script to add this line

	makenoise="cat ping.snd >/dev/audio"

Of course you may be able to find (or prepare) a better sound file, such as
a nice submarine "PINGGGGG" sound effect, somewhere else.  Just substitute
the appropriate definition of "makenoise" into this script.

Here's the script.  Don't forget to change the definition of "makenoise"
if you want something other than a control-G beep.

# audioping host
# Ping a host, make a noise for each packet received.
# Useful for network debugging.
# Works on Sparcstations and Nexts.
# Be sure to uncomment the appropriate 'makenoise' line, depending
# on whether you want a simple ^G beep or a more complex sound.
# Steve Hayman
# Indiana University
# sahayman at
# Tue Feb 19 16:06:00 EST 1991

PATH=/etc:/usr/etc:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/ucb export PATH

case "$#" in
1) 	;;
*)	echo "$0: Use: $0 hostname" 1>&2; exit 1 ;;

# Set the 'makenoise' variable to some sort of program
# that makes a noise.  This can be whatever you want,
# but if the noise is more than 1 second long you'll have problems
# with timing getting out of sync.

# On a plain ordinary terminal, make a noise by echoing a control-G.
# (We do it this way so that we don't have to put a literal ^G in this file.)
makenoise='echo -n . | tr . \\07'

# On a Sun, if you have an appropriate sound file, you can make
# a noise this way:
# makenoise="cat /some/sound/file >/dev/audio"

# On a NeXT you can play a sound file this way.
# Try running "snrdrecord some-file.snd", hit RETURN,
# say "PING" into the microphone, hit RETURN again.
# makenoise="sndplay some-file.snd"

ping -r -s $1 | tee /dev/tty | while read line; do
    case "$line" in
    *icmp*)	eval $makenoise ;;


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