ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) is an Internet protocol that is focused on the control of messages and the reporting of errors. In design, ICMP is configured to provide these functions as a mediator between a gateway and a host server. The presence of ICMP helps to protect the integrity of the messages that are relayed back and forth between the two devices, as well as make efficient use of the Internet Protocol datagrams that are present.

Being one of the core protocols within the overall protocol suite, ICMP takes on the direct responsibility of processing error messages. This can be especially helpful in a networked environment, as ICMP makes it possible for a server to send out an error message to all connected workstations in the event that a program is taken offline or is temporary unavailable for some reason. This makes ICMP a valuable tool in making the most use of the operating system interface on the network, without tying up a lot of resources at the same time.

How Does ICMP Work?

The beauty of being the go-between for the host server and various connected devices is that ICMP can encapsulate the message in a way that protects the content, but does not use up lots of resources. When a message is received by ICMP, the protocol places the entire message in single IP datagram, and then forward the datagram to the destination. This special routing relieves some of the usage from the more standard protocols and helps to keep resources open and available to the other protocols. Overall, this aids in the total efficiency of the network.

How Do I Get ICMP?

Chances are you already have ICMP in place if you work within a network environment, or are using a computer system that has the ability to be linked into a network. Installation on systems that do not have ICMP is not difficult, but owing to the widespread use of the protocol, there is not much chance that an outside installation would ever be needed. Just to be sure, check with a technician about the use of ICMP on your network.

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