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I can perform port scan using nmap to test if a given IP is being used, e.g.

nmap -PR

However, nmap is not installed in most server, is it possible to have the same result (e.g. check if the particular IP is being used) without installing nmap?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

You can use ping:


Most of the machines will reply, but some wont. If it's in the same local network, you can check the arp (after a no-reply):

arp -n |  grep 

(-n shows numeric IP addresses - does not try to resolve hostnames)

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Possibly a stupid question, but would arp be installed when nmap isn't? – Freiheit Oct 8 '12 at 17:40
I think arp is by default found on almost all devices that are able to communicate in a switched network. i.e. you'll find it already installed on most devices AFAIK.. – amyassin Oct 8 '12 at 19:17
@amyassin, technically your comment isn't correct. ARP is a component of the TCP/IP protocol suite. It's not a function of the type of network the host is connected to. Any host that uses the TCP/IP suite will use ARP and presumably has a tool for testing ARP. I could run my hosts on IPX/SPX in my switched network, they would all communicate just fine, and ARP would never be seen as it's not a component of IPX/SPX. – joeqwerty Oct 8 '12 at 20:37
@joeqwerty You are right, by switched network I meant TCP/IP and that was wrong. Sometimes I forget that there are other than TCP/IP :) – amyassin Oct 8 '12 at 21:49
No worries. I just wanted to add some clarification. – joeqwerty Oct 8 '12 at 21:51

I assume there is some reason why ping is unacceptable? If you're looking for a device that might be firewalled, but is on the local broadcst network, ping followed by arp -a -n|grep can be a more reliable way of finding an otherwise-silent host.

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