liboping - Library to send ICMPv4/ICMPv6 echo packets to multiple hosts


This is an overview of liboping, a C library to send ICMP ECHO_REQUEST packets to remote hosts and measure the time it takes for replies to be received. This method, often simply called “ping”, is a common way to measure network latency and/or host reachability.

The goals of this library are to provide the above functionality in a platform and protocol independent manner. The interface is simple, object oriented and (hopefully) ANSI-C compliant.


There are two main types that are used by applications. Both are “opaque types”, meaning they are structures that are not completely defined in the header file, so you cannot access the structures’ members. You don’t need to, don’t do it. These structures are subject to change without notice.

  • pingobj_t

A ping-object. You can set specific options for this object, add and remove hosts to/from it and send ICMP packets to all associated hosts. This is often called a “handle”.

  • pingobj_iter_t

An iterator over the hosts associated with a pingobj_t object. This iterator can be used to query more information about a host, for example the hostname, the measured latency or the current ICMP sequence.

Upon startup you usually create one or more pingobj_t objects and add hosts to it using the ping_host_add method (see below). You periodically send “echo requests” using the ping_send method, iterate over all hosts using ping_iterator_get and ping_iterator_next. For each host you call ping_iterator_get_info to read the current latency and do something with it.

If an error occurs you can use ping_get_error so get information on what failed.


Depending on you platform you don’t need any extra libraries (e.g. GNU/Linux) or libsocket (using -lsocket) if the socket function is not in the C-library. The latter is the case for the Solaris operating system.


All “official” function or method names are prefixed with “ping_”. Don’t use any other functions or methods. Although no such functions should exist.


liboping has been designed to be as thread safe a possible. However, this has not been tested and may need some additional work. Use at your own risk and please report back any problems or success messages. Thank you :)


ping_construct(3), ping_setopt(3), ping_host_add(3), ping_send(3), ping_get_error(3), ping_iterator_count(3), ping_iterator_get(3), ping_iterator_get_info(3), ping_iterator_get_context(3)


liboping is licensed under the LGPL 2.1 or later.


liboping is written by Florian “octo” Forster . Its homepage can be found at

Copyright © 2006-2017 by Florian “octo” Forster.