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For some servers:

nc -w 1 -z x.x.x.x 22

doesn't work. It has no response, but is looking like very busy: only ctrl + C can help.

So -w 1 seems to be a useless option, to specify the timeout.

Does somebody know what is going wrong: how specify a real timeout?

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Might be a bit off topic for the apple, might try unix, however. adding nc -w 5 -l 1222 works for me. the timer does not take effect until a connection is made. – hoss Jul 17 '13 at 14:44
I thought it is only issue of apple's version of netcat – static Jul 17 '13 at 22:03

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