Testing Network Connections (Part 2)

by Jan 13, 2020

If you’d like to test whether a specific computer or URL is online, for decades ping requests (ICMP) have been used. In recent times, many servers and firewalls turn off ICMP to reduce attack surfaces. Test-NetConnection by default uses ICMP, so it fails on computers that do not respond to ICMP:

PS> Test-NetConnection -ComputerName microsoft.com 
WARNING: Ping to failed with status: TimedOut
WARNING: Ping to failed with status: TimedOut
WARNING: Ping to failed with status: TimedOut
WARNING: Ping to failed with status: TimedOut
WARNING: Ping to failed with status: TimedOut

ComputerName           : microsoft.com
RemoteAddress          :
InterfaceAlias         : Ethernet 4
SourceAddress          :
PingSucceeded          : False
PingReplyDetails (RTT) : 0 ms 

There is another test built into Test-NetConnection that computers cannot avoid: a port test. Ports provide access to specific services, so a port must be available for any public service. For webservers, you could use port 80, for example:

PS> Test-NetConnection -ComputerName microsoft.com -Port 80

ComputerName     : microsoft.com
RemoteAddress    :
RemotePort       : 80
InterfaceAlias   : Ethernet 4
SourceAddress    :
TcpTestSucceeded : True

Here is a list of commonly used ports:
HTTP: Port 80
HTTPS: Port 443
FTP: Port 21
FTPS/SSH: Port 22
TELNET: Port 23
POP3: Port 110
POP3 SSL: Port 995
IMAP: Port 143
IMAP SSL: Port 993
WMI: Port 135
RDP: Port 3389
DNS: Port 53
DHCP: Port 67, 68
SMB/NetBIOS: 139
NetBIOS over TCP: 445
PowerShell Remoting: 5985
PowerShell Remoting HTTPS: 5986

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