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I want to find a Terminal command that will provide a timestamped ping every second for a period of time (say 5 minutes) and then pause for another period of time (say 30 minutes) and then repeat that process until I stop it. I will need to let it run for days.

In other words, what I want is sort of a combination of the following 2:

1) ping 8.8.8.8 | while read line; do echo `date` - $line; done
2) ping 8.8.8.8 | while read line; do echo `date` - $line; sleep 1800; done

(1) provides a ping listing every second with a timestamp, while (2) does the same thing but every 30 minutes instead of every second. I can use (1) but it generates way more data than I need. (2) provides the pauses I need but cannot catch the events I'm looking for (which last about 4 seconds, see below).

Although not needed to answer my question, the reason I want this is to deal with an intermittent internet connectivity problem. By using (1) above I have found that most of the time my internet connection is fine, but every couple of days or so there will be periods (lasting hours) during which I get unusually high pings for about 4 seconds, and this repeats every 15 seconds or so. But using (1) to figure that out meant a lot of unnecessary data collection. Also, I have a separate script which will plot the data and there are just way too many data points to plot conveniently since I need to collect for days.

I'm running OS 13.2 on a MacAir M1

1 Answer 1

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while :; do
    ping --apple-time -c $((5*60)) 8.8.8.8
    sleep $((30*60))
    echo # if required to separate the blocks
done

--apple-time obviously is an Apple addition which is quite useful for what you need here, the output would look like

15:50:24.467213 64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=0 ttl=114 time=2.991 ms
15:50:25.471150 64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=1 ttl=114 time=1.805 ms
15:50:26.476259 64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=2 ttl=114 time=1.822 ms
15:50:27.480521 64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=3 ttl=114 time=1.832 ms
15:50:28.485576 64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=4 ttl=114 time=1.785 ms

If you just want the timestamp and the ping time, you can use sed to filter out the noise:

$ ping --apple-time -c $((5*60)) 8.8.8.8 | sed -n -E 's/(.*) 64 bytes.*time=(.*) ms/\1 \2/p'
19:11:49.447810 2.928
19:11:50.450692 1.836
19:11:51.455125 1.829

To accomplish the same without relying on Apple-specific options, you can also just take your second command and put the sleep outside of the while read line loop:

while :; do
    ping -c $((5*60)) 8.8.8.8 | while read line; do echo $(date): "$line"; done
    sleep $((30*60))
    echo # if required to separate the blocks
done

or, again without the noise

while :; do
    ping -c $((5*60)) 8.8.8.8 | while read line; do 
        echo $(date): $(sed -n -E 's/.*time=(.*) ms/\1/p' <<<$line)
    done
    sleep $((30*60))
    echo # if required to separate the blocks
done
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  • This is great -- it does the most important part of what I want. The only thing I don't like is all the "non-raw data" it outputs between each set of raw data. In other words, I'd rather have ONLY the timestamp and ping time lines (as you showed in your output example) and nothing else. The reason is that I take that raw data and process it to make a chart, and getting rid of the non-raw data means more work. Do you have a way around that? In any event, this qualifies as an answer even as it is. Thanks again.
    – Tony M
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 16:48
  • @TonyM see the edits
    – nohillside
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 18:19
  • I tried many things but can't get your "without the noise" code to work. But that's okay. The other code is great. Thanks again.
    – Tony M
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 20:33
  • @tonym which one did you try, the First or the second? And what was the error you got?
    – nohillside
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 21:14
  • 1
    @TonyM That was left as an exercise for the reader :-) Should work with the pause now (even though the 3 MB a day it generates without the pause/sleep will not overflow your drive).
    – nohillside
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 21:44

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