CNET GLOSSARY: Terms for the techie
packet Internet groper
When submarine crews wanted to test the distance of an object, they would send a sonar "ping" and wait to hear the echo. In the computer world, Ping is a program that "bounces" a request off of (in other words, sends a packet to) another computer over a the Internet to see if the remote computer is still responding. If the ping comes back, the remote computer is still connected.
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