In the realm of networking and firewalls, one of the most important and first questions to ask is this: Is the device up? This is where testing connectivity comes into play. Although this step is not applicable to every situation, it is usually a good idea to try to connect to the firewall or system protected by the firewall just to make sure it is up. There are a number of ways to do this.
The de facto standard method of testing connectivity is to send a ping to the target host. There are a couple of ways that this can be done that will provide additional information based on the response. To help with understanding the process and the interaction of each step, see the connectivity testing flowchart in Figure 13-1.
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