I have Freebsd as a router.
Local network is on interface sk0: inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast
In my local network I have a computer(windows 7) that gets it's ip( from DHCP server on Freebsd.

  • Ping to exact address works fine.

When I try to ping bradcast from Freebsd itself nothing happens:

--- ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 0 packets received, 100.0% packet loss
  • #arp -a says:
    ? ( at (incomplete) on sk0 expired [ethernet]

  • Firewall allows all on this interface

Where to look? What to do to make broadcast working?


If you want to perform host discovery, don't use broadcast pings, just simply ping each possible permutation for a given subnet. It sounds heavy, but it actually takes seconds (brackets are important):

$ time ( s=192.168.0 ; for i in $(seq 1 254) ; do ( ping -n -c 1 -w 1 $s.$i 1>/dev/null 2>&1 && printf "%-16s %s\n" $s.$i responded ) & done ; wait ; echo )      responded     responded      responded    responded      responded

real    0m1.317s
user    0m0.004s
sys 0m0.084s
  • 3
    While it does offer an alternative way to ping the network, it doesn't answer the questions posed as to "why doesn't broadcast ping work?" – Sarge Oct 12 '12 at 21:52
  • 1
    True, but call it pragmatic intuition. I suspected there was an underlying reason as to why this person was trying to broadcast ping the network. I don't see any harm in going beyond the answer to provide a possible solution. ;-) – Craig Oct 12 '12 at 22:48
  • Or, e.g. nmap -sn (replace with appropriate subnet). – Andrew Marshall Jan 24 '15 at 18:05

Most operating systems simply ignore broadcast ICMP pings by default, for security reasons. You don't "make it work", and it has no effect on other kinds of broadcasts.

On FreeBSD, the net.inet.icmp.bmcastecho sysctl toggles this feature.

  • 5
    And on Linux you can enable broadcast pings with: sysctl net.ipv4.icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts=0 – Andre Miller Nov 11 '12 at 15:58

I know this question is very old, but it's one of the top result when googling 'ubuntu broadcast ping'.

I would like to add that you can send broadcast ping requests (ICMP echo-requests) very easily from a Linux host, with the option -b. Microsoft, for some reason, doesn't allow this.

Here's a broadcast ping sent from an Ubuntu host:

ping -b
WARNING: pinging broadcast address
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.031 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.960 ms (DUP!)
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=92.3 ms (DUP!)

Note the -b option to allow broadcast. As you can see, several hosts on my network have replied, including a Cisco switch, my own Ubuntu host, and an Apple laptop.

And yes, as others have said before, broadcast pings are terrible for scanning a network. Some hosts simply ignore echo-requests. There are much better tools for this purpose (E.g. nmap).

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