How to ping an IP address by using sockets in Visual Basic .NET

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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to use sockets in Microsoft Visual Basic .NET to ping an Internet Protocol (IP) address. The PING command uses Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) to test a network connection. The response time to ping a particular IP address is calculated and displayed. This article uses the System.Net.Sockets API of Visual Basic .NET to ping an IP address.

Requirements

This article assumes that you are familiar with the following topics:
  • Programming with Visual Basic .NET
  • Sockets
The following list outlines the recommended hardware, software, network infrastructure, and service packs that you need:
  • Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP, or Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Visual Basic .NET

Declare an ICMP packet structure

ICMP supports packets that contain error messages, control messages, and informational messages. The PING command uses ICMP to test a network connection. Use the following code to declare the structure of an ICMP packet and to declare a method to calculate the total number of bytes in a packet:
   Structure IcmpPacket
#Region "PUBLIC MEMBER VARIABLES"
      Dim type_message As Byte                ' Type of message.
      Dim subCode_type As Byte                ' Type of sub-code.
      Dim complement_checkSum As UInt16       ' One's complement checksum for the structure.
      Dim identifier As UInt16                ' Identifier.
      Dim sequenceNumber As UInt16            ' Sequence number.
      Dim data() As Byte                      ' Data.
#End Region


#Region "PUBLIC MEMBER METHODS"
      Public Sub Initialize(ByVal type As Byte, ByVal subCode As Byte, ByVal payload() As Byte)
         Dim index As Integer
         Dim buffer_icmpPacket() As Byte
         Dim cksumBuffer() As UInt16
         Dim icmpHeaderBufferIndex As Int32 = 0
         Me.type_message = type
         Me.subCode_type = subCode
         complement_checkSum = UInt16.Parse("0")
         identifier = UInt16.Parse("45")
         sequenceNumber = UInt16.Parse("0")
         Data = payload

         ' Declare a variable to store the total packet size.
         ' Call the Serialize method to count the total number of bytes in the packet.
         buffer_icmpPacket = Serialize()

         ' Resize a UInt16 array to half the size of the packet.
         ReDim cksumBuffer((buffer_icmpPacket.Length() \ 2) - 1)

         ' Initialize the UInt16 array.
         For index = 0 To (cksumBuffer.Length() - 1)
            cksumBuffer(index) = BitConverter.ToUInt16(buffer_icmpPacket, icmpHeaderBufferIndex)
            icmpHeaderBufferIndex += 2
         Next index

         'Call a method that returns a checksum.
         complement_checkSum = MCheckSum.Calculate(cksumBuffer, cksumBuffer.Length())
      End Sub

      Public Function Size() As Integer
         Return (8 + Data.Length())
      End Function

      ' The Serialize method converts the packet to a byte array to calculate the total size.
      Public Function Serialize() As Byte()
         Dim b_seq() As Byte = BitConverter.GetBytes(sequenceNumber)
         Dim b_cksum() As Byte = BitConverter.GetBytes(complement_checkSum)
         Dim b_id() As Byte = BitConverter.GetBytes(identifier)
         Dim index As Int32 = 0
         Dim buffer() As Byte
         ReDim buffer(Size() - 1)

         ' Serialize the structure into the array.
         buffer(0) = type_message
         buffer(1) = subCode_type
         index += 2
         Array.Copy(b_cksum, 0, buffer, index, 2)
         index += 2
         Array.Copy(b_id, 0, buffer, index, 2)
         index += 2
         Array.Copy(b_seq, 0, buffer, index, 2)
         index += 2

         ' Copy the data.
         If (Data.Length() > 0) Then
            Array.Copy(Data, 0, buffer, index, Data.Length())
         End If
         Return buffer
      End Function
#End Region
   End Structure

Define the CPing class

The CPing class contains methods to accept the host name or the IP address of a server as input, to ping the host name or IP address, and to display the response time.
   ' The CPing class.
   Public Class CPing
#Region "MEMBER CONSTANTS"
      Private Const DEFAULT_TIMEOUT As Integer = 1000
      Private Const SOCKET_ERROR As Integer = -1
      Private Const PING_ERROR As Integer = -1
      Private Const ICMP_ECHO As Integer = 8
      Private Const DATA_SIZE As Integer = 32
      Private Const RECV_SIZE As Integer = 128
#End Region

#Region "MEMBER VARIABLES"
      Private _open As Boolean = False
      Private _initialized As Boolean
      Private _recvBuffer() As Byte
      Private _packet As IcmpPacket
      Private _hostName As String
      Private _server As EndPoint
      Private _local As EndPoint
      Private _socket As Socket

#End Region

#Region "CONSTRUCTORS & FINALIZER"
      Public Sub New(ByVal hostName As String)
         Me.HostName() = hostName
         ReDim _recvBuffer(RECV_SIZE - 1)
      End Sub

      Public Sub New()
         ' Set the default host name to the local host.
         Me.HostName() = Dns.GetHostName()
         ReDim _recvBuffer(RECV_SIZE - 1)
      End Sub

      Private Overloads Sub finalize()
         ' Make sure that you close the socket.
         Me.Close()
         Erase _recvBuffer
      End Sub
#End Region

#Region "MEMBER METHODS"
      ' Get and set the current host name.
      Public Property HostName() As String
         Get
            Return _hostName
         End Get
         Set(ByVal Value As String)
            _hostName = Value
            ' If the CPing object is already open, close it and then reopen it by using a new host name.
            If (_open) Then
               Me.Close()
               Me.Open()
            End If
         End Set
      End Property

      ' Get the state (open or closed).
      Public ReadOnly Property IsOpen() As Boolean
         Get
            Return _open
         End Get
      End Property

      ' Create a socket to host remote end points and local end points.
      Public Function Open() As Boolean
         Dim payload() As Byte

         If (Not _open) Then
            Try
               ' Initialize the packet.
               ReDim payload(DATA_SIZE)
               _packet.Initialize(ICMP_ECHO, 0, payload)

               ' Initialize an ICMP socket.
               _socket = New Socket(AddressFamily.InterNetwork, SocketType.Raw, ProtocolType.Icmp)

               ' Set the server end point.
               _server = New IPEndPoint(Dns.GetHostByName(_hostName).AddressList(0), 0)

               ' Set the receiving end point as your client computer.
               _local = New IPEndPoint(Dns.GetHostByName(Dns.GetHostName()).AddressList(0), 0)
               _open = True
            Catch
               Return False
            End Try
         End If
         Return True
      End Function

      ' Destroy the socket and the end points (if necessary).
      Public Function Close() As Boolean
         If (_open) Then
            _socket.Close()
            _socket = Nothing
            _server = Nothing
            _local = Nothing
            _open = False
         End If
         Return True
      End Function

      ' Perform a PING operation.
      Public Overloads Function Ping() As Integer
         Return Ping(DEFAULT_TIMEOUT)
      End Function

      ' The Ping method performs a PING operation.
      Public Overloads Function Ping(ByVal timeOutMilliSeconds As Integer) As Integer

         ' Initialize the time-out value.
         Dim timeOut As Integer = timeOutMilliSeconds + Environment.TickCount()

         ' Send the packet.
         If (SOCKET_ERROR = _socket.SendTo(_packet.Serialize(), _packet.Size(), 0, _server)) Then
            Return PING_ERROR
         End If

         ' Use the following loop to check the response time until you receive a time-out.
         Do
            ' Poll the read buffer every millisecond.
            ' If data exists, read the data and return the round-trip time.
            If (_socket.Poll(1000, SelectMode.SelectRead)) Then
               _socket.ReceiveFrom(_recvBuffer, RECV_SIZE, 0, _local)
               Return (timeOutMilliSeconds - (timeOut - Environment.TickCount()))
            ElseIf (Environment.TickCount() >= timeOut) Then
               Return PING_ERROR
            End If
         Loop While (True)
      End Function
#End Region
   End Class

Calculate the checksum value

The following code contains a Calculate method to calculate the checksum value. This code also contains unions that the Calculate method uses.
#Region "MEMBER METHODS"
      <StructLayout(LayoutKind.Explicit)> _
                 Structure UNION_INT16
         <FieldOffset(0)> Dim lsb As Byte      ' Least significant byte
         <FieldOffset(1)> Dim msb As Byte      ' Most significant byte
         <FieldOffset(0)> Dim w16 As Short
      End Structure

      <StructLayout(LayoutKind.Explicit)> _
      Structure UNION_INT32
         <FieldOffset(0)> Dim lsw As UNION_INT16     ' Most significant word
         <FieldOffset(2)> Dim msw As UNION_INT16     ' Least significant word
         <FieldOffset(0)> Dim w32 As Integer
      End Structure

      ' The Calculate method calculates the checksum value.
      Public Function Calculate(ByRef buffer() As UInt16, ByVal size As Int32) As UInt16
         Dim counter As Int32 = 0
         Dim cksum32 As UNION_INT32
         Do While (size > 0)
            cksum32.w32 += Convert.ToInt32(buffer(counter))
            counter += 1
            size -= 1
         Loop

         cksum32.w32 = cksum32.msw.w16 + cksum32.lsw.w16 + cksum32.msw.w16
         Return Convert.ToUInt16(cksum32.lsw.w16 Xor &HFFFF)
      End Function
#End Region

Implement the user interface

The following code implements the user interface. This code determines whether the host name or the IP address that the user types is empty, and then alerts the user to type a host name or an IP address in the specified format. After the user types a host name or an IP address, the application establishes a socket connection to the corresponding IP address (if this address is in the same network), and then the application sends a data packet by using ICMP. The application then calculates the time taken (in milliseconds) to send and receive the data packet, and then the application displays this value. If the host name or the IP address is not in the same network or if the user types an invalid IP address or an invalid host name, the application displays a message.
Sub Main()
   Dim Packet As New ICMP_Packet.CPing()
   Dim retValue

   Console.WriteLine("Enter the IP address or the host name to ping: ")

   ' Accept a host name or an IP address.
   Packet.HostName = Trim(Console.ReadLine())

   ' Determine whether the user has typed only spaces instead of a host name or an IP address.
   If Packet.HostName = "" Then
      Console.WriteLine("Please enter an IP address (in the N.N.N.N format) or a host name")
   Else
      ' Determine whether you can establish a socket connection to the IP address.
      If Packet.Open Then
         ' Establish a socket connection, and then send a packet using ICMP.
         retValue = Packet.Ping
         If retValue <> -1 Then
            ' Display the response time in milliseconds.
            Console.WriteLine("Approximate response time : " & retValue)
         Else
            Console.WriteLine("Host Unreachable")
         End If
      Else
         Console.WriteLine("No host found")
      End If
      
      Packet.Close()

   End If

   Console.WriteLine("Press ENTER to quit.")
   Console.ReadLine()

End Sub

Create a console application

  1. Start Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.
  2. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Project. The New Project dialog box appears.
  3. Under Project Types, click Visual Basic Projects.
  4. Under Templates, click Console Application.
  5. In the Name box, type MyConsoleApplication.

    Note MyConsoleApplication is a sample Visual Basic .NET application.
  6. In the Location box, type the location where you want to save the MyConsoleApplication project, and then click OK.

    By default, the Module1.vb file is created.
  7. In the Module1.vb file, replace the existing code with the following code:
    Imports System.Net.Sockets
    Imports System.Net
    Imports System
    Imports System.Runtime.InteropServices
    
    Namespace ICMP_Packet
    
       ' Define the structure of an ICMP packet.
       ' This structure contains packet information.
       Structure IcmpPacket
    #Region "PUBLIC MEMBER VARIABLES"
          Dim type_message As Byte                ' type of message
          Dim subCode_type As Byte                ' type of sub-code
          Dim complement_checkSum As UInt16       ' one's complement checksum for the structure
          Dim identifier As UInt16                ' identifier
          Dim sequenceNumber As UInt16            ' sequence number  
          Dim data() As Byte                      ' data
    #End Region
    
    
    #Region "PUBLIC MEMBER METHODS"
          Public Sub Initialize(ByVal type As Byte, ByVal subCode As Byte, ByVal payload() As Byte)
             Dim index As Integer
             Dim buffer_icmpPacket() As Byte
             Dim cksumBuffer() As UInt16
             Dim icmpHeaderBufferIndex As Int32 = 0
             Me.type_message = type
             Me.subCode_type = subCode
             complement_checkSum = UInt16.Parse("0")
             identifier = UInt16.Parse("45")
             sequenceNumber = UInt16.Parse("0")
             Data = payload
    
             ' Declare a variable to store the total packet size.
             ' Call the Serialize method to count the total number of bytes in the packet.
             buffer_icmpPacket = Serialize()
    
             ' Resize a UInt16 array to half the size of the packet.
             ReDim cksumBuffer((buffer_icmpPacket.Length() \ 2) - 1)
    
             ' Initialize the UInt16 array.
             For index = 0 To (cksumBuffer.Length() - 1)
                cksumBuffer(index) = BitConverter.ToUInt16(buffer_icmpPacket, icmpHeaderBufferIndex)
                icmpHeaderBufferIndex += 2
             Next index
    
             'Call a method that returns a checksum.
             complement_checkSum = MCheckSum.Calculate(cksumBuffer, cksumBuffer.Length())
          End Sub
    
          Public Function Size() As Integer
             Return (8 + Data.Length())
          End Function
    
          ' The Serialize method converts the packet to a byte array to calculate the total size.
          Public Function Serialize() As Byte()
             Dim b_seq() As Byte = BitConverter.GetBytes(sequenceNumber)
             Dim b_cksum() As Byte = BitConverter.GetBytes(complement_checkSum)
             Dim b_id() As Byte = BitConverter.GetBytes(identifier)
             Dim index As Int32 = 0
             Dim buffer() As Byte
             ReDim buffer(Size() - 1)
    
             ' Serialize the structure into the array.
             buffer(0) = type_message
             buffer(1) = subCode_type
             index += 2
             Array.Copy(b_cksum, 0, buffer, index, 2)
             index += 2
             Array.Copy(b_id, 0, buffer, index, 2)
             index += 2
             Array.Copy(b_seq, 0, buffer, index, 2)
             index += 2
    
             ' Copy the data.
             If (Data.Length() > 0) Then
                Array.Copy(Data, 0, buffer, index, Data.Length())
             End If
             Return buffer
          End Function
    #End Region
       End Structure
    
       ' The CPing class.
       Public Class CPing
    #Region "MEMBER CONSTANTS"
          Private Const DEFAULT_TIMEOUT As Integer = 1000
          Private Const SOCKET_ERROR As Integer = -1
          Private Const PING_ERROR As Integer = -1
          Private Const ICMP_ECHO As Integer = 8
          Private Const DATA_SIZE As Integer = 32
          Private Const RECV_SIZE As Integer = 128
    #End Region
    
    #Region "MEMBER VARIABLES"
          Private _open As Boolean = False
          Private _initialized As Boolean
          Private _recvBuffer() As Byte
          Private _packet As IcmpPacket
          Private _hostName As String
          Private _server As EndPoint
          Private _local As EndPoint
          Private _socket As Socket
    
    #End Region
    
    #Region "CONSTRUCTORS & FINALIZER"
          Public Sub New(ByVal hostName As String)
             Me.HostName() = hostName
             ReDim _recvBuffer(RECV_SIZE - 1)
          End Sub
    
          Public Sub New()
             ' Set the default host name to the local host.
             Me.HostName() = Dns.GetHostName()
             ReDim _recvBuffer(RECV_SIZE - 1)
          End Sub
    
          Private Overloads Sub finalize()
             ' Ensure that you close the socket.
             Me.Close()
             Erase _recvBuffer
          End Sub
    #End Region
    
    #Region "MEMBER METHODS"
          ' Get and set the current host name.
          Public Property HostName() As String
             Get
                Return _hostName
             End Get
             Set(ByVal Value As String)
                _hostName = Value
                ' If the CPing object is already open, close it and then reopen it by using a new host name.
                If (_open) Then
                   Me.Close()
                   Me.Open()
                End If
             End Set
          End Property
    
          ' Get the state (open or closed).
          Public ReadOnly Property IsOpen() As Boolean
             Get
                Return _open
             End Get
          End Property
    
          ' Create a socket to host remote end points and local end points.
          Public Function Open() As Boolean
             Dim payload() As Byte
    
             If (Not _open) Then
                Try
                   ' Initialize the packet.
                   ReDim payload(DATA_SIZE)
                   _packet.Initialize(ICMP_ECHO, 0, payload)
    
                   ' Initialize an ICMP socket.
                   _socket = New Socket(AddressFamily.InterNetwork, SocketType.Raw, ProtocolType.Icmp)
    
                   ' Set the server end point.
                   _server = New IPEndPoint(Dns.GetHostByName(_hostName).AddressList(0), 0)
    
                   ' Set the receiving end point as your client computer.
                   _local = New IPEndPoint(Dns.GetHostByName(Dns.GetHostName()).AddressList(0), 0)
                   _open = True
                Catch
                   Return False
                End Try
             End If
             Return True
          End Function
    
          ' Destroy the socket and end points (if necessary).
          Public Function Close() As Boolean
             If (_open) Then
                _socket.Close()
                _socket = Nothing
                _server = Nothing
                _local = Nothing
                _open = False
             End If
             Return True
          End Function
    
          ' Perform a PING operation.
          Public Overloads Function Ping() As Integer
             Return Ping(DEFAULT_TIMEOUT)
          End Function
    
          ' The Ping method performs a PING operation.
          Public Overloads Function Ping(ByVal timeOutMilliSeconds As Integer) As Integer
    
             ' Initialize the time-out value.
             Dim timeOut As Integer = timeOutMilliSeconds + Environment.TickCount()
    
             ' Send the packet.
             If (SOCKET_ERROR = _socket.SendTo(_packet.Serialize(), _packet.Size(), 0, _server)) Then
                Return PING_ERROR
             End If
    
             ' Use the following loop to check the response time until you receive a time-out.
             Do
                ' Poll the read buffer every millisecond.
                ' If data exists, read the data and return the round-trip time.
                If (_socket.Poll(1000, SelectMode.SelectRead)) Then
                   _socket.ReceiveFrom(_recvBuffer, RECV_SIZE, 0, _local)
                   Return (timeOutMilliSeconds - (timeOut - Environment.TickCount()))
                ElseIf (Environment.TickCount() >= timeOut) Then
                   Return PING_ERROR
                End If
             Loop While (True)
          End Function
    #End Region
       End Class
    
       ' The MCheckSum module contains the static Calculate method.
       Module MCheckSum
    #Region "MEMBER METHODS"
          <StructLayout(LayoutKind.Explicit)> _
                     Structure UNION_INT16
             <FieldOffset(0)> Dim lsb As Byte      ' Least significant byte
             <FieldOffset(1)> Dim msb As Byte      ' Most significant byte
             <FieldOffset(0)> Dim w16 As Short
          End Structure
    
          <StructLayout(LayoutKind.Explicit)> _
          Structure UNION_INT32
             <FieldOffset(0)> Dim lsw As UNION_INT16     ' Most significant word
             <FieldOffset(2)> Dim msw As UNION_INT16     ' Least significant word
             <FieldOffset(0)> Dim w32 As Integer
          End Structure
    
          ' The Calculate method calculates the checksum value.
          Public Function Calculate(ByRef buffer() As UInt16, ByVal size As Int32) As UInt16
             Dim counter As Int32 = 0
             Dim cksum32 As UNION_INT32
             Do While (size > 0)
                cksum32.w32 += Convert.ToInt32(buffer(counter))
                counter += 1
                size -= 1
             Loop
    
             cksum32.w32 = cksum32.msw.w16 + cksum32.lsw.w16 + cksum32.msw.w16
             Return Convert.ToUInt16(cksum32.lsw.w16 Xor &HFFFF)
          End Function
    #End Region
    
          Sub Main()
             Dim Packet As New ICMP_Packet.CPing()
             Dim retValue
    
             Console.WriteLine("Enter the IP address or the host name to ping: ")
    
             ' Accept a host name or an IP address.
             Packet.HostName = Trim(Console.ReadLine())
    
             ' Determine whether the user has typed only spaces instead of a host name or an IP address.
             If Packet.HostName = "" Then
                Console.WriteLine("Please enter an IP address (in the N.N.N.N format) or a host name")
             Else
                ' Determine whether you can establish a socket connection to the IP address.
                If Packet.Open Then
                   ' Establish a socket connection, and then send a packet by using ICMP.
                   retValue = Packet.Ping
                   If retValue <> -1 Then
                      ' Display the response time in milliseconds.
                      Console.WriteLine("Approximate response time : " & retValue)
                   Else
                      Console.WriteLine("Host Unreachable")
                   End If
                Else
                   Console.WriteLine("No host found")
                End If
                
                Packet.Close()
    
             End If
    
             Console.WriteLine("Press ENTER to quit.")
             Console.ReadLine()
    
          End Sub
       End Module
    
    End Namespace
  8. In Solution Explorer, click the MyConsoleApplication project.
  9. On the Project menu, click Properties.
  10. In the MyConsoleApplication Property Pages dialog box, select Sub Main from the Startup object drop-down list box, and then click OK.
  11. On the Debug menu, click Start.
  12. At the command prompt that appears, type a host name or an IP address, and then press ENTER.

REFERENCES

For more information, visit the following Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web sites:
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.net.sockets(vs.71).aspx

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/b6xa24z5(vs.71).aspx

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.net.sockets.socket(vs.71).aspx
For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
300197 HOW TO: Ping an IP address with Visual Basic by using ICMP

Properties

Article ID: 828993 - Last Review: April 19, 2007 - Revision: 1.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2002 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbnetwork kbhowtomaster kbwinsock KB828993

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