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AnyEvent::FastPing - quickly ping a large number of hosts


 use AnyEvent::FastPing;


This module was written for a single purpose only: sending ICMP ECHO REQUEST packets as quickly as possible to a large number of hosts (thousands to millions).

It employs a separate thread and is fully event-driven (using AnyEvent), so you have to run an event model supported by AnyEvent to use this module.



Returns true iff IPv4 is supported in this module and on this system.


Returns true iff IPv6 is supported in this module and on this system.


Returns the number of octets per IPv4 ping packet (the whole IP packet including headers, excluding lower-level headers or trailers such as Ethernet).

Can be used to calculate e.g. octets/s from rate ...

   my $octets_per_second = $packets_per_second * AnyEvent::FastPing::icmp4_pktsize;

... or convert kilobit/second to packet rate ...

   my $packets_per_second = $kilobit_per_second
                            * (1000 / 8 / AnyEvent::FastPing::icmp4_pktsize);



Like AnyEvent::FastPing::icmp4_pktsize, but for IPv6.

THE AnyEvent::FastPing CLASS

The AnyEvent::FastPing class represents a single "pinger". A "pinger" comes with its own thread to send packets in the background, a rate-limit machinery and separate idle/receive callbacks.

The recommended workflow (there are others) is this: 1. create a new AnyEvent::FastPing object 2. configure the address lists and ranges to ping, also configure an idle callback and optionally a receive callback 3. start the pinger.

When the pinger has finished pinging all the configured addresses it will call the idle callback.

The pinging process works like this: every range has a minimum interval between sends, which is used to limit the rate at which hosts in that range are being pinged. Distinct ranges are independent of each other, which is why there is a per-pinger "global" minimum interval as well.

The pinger sends pings as fats as possible, while both obeying the pinger rate limit as well as range limits.

When a range is exhausted, it is removed. When all ranges are exhausted, the pinger waits another max_rtt seconds and then exits, causing the idle callback to trigger.

Performance: On my 2 GHz Opteron system with a pretty average nvidia gigabit network card I can ping around 60k to 200k addresses per second, depending on routing decisions.

Example: ping with at most 100 packets/s, and with at most 1000 packets/s. Also ping the IPv6 loopback address 5 times as fast as possible. Do not, however, exceed 1000 packets/s overall. Also dump each received reply.

   use AnyEvent::Socket;
   use AnyEvent::FastPing;

   my $done = AnyEvent->condvar;

   my $pinger = new AnyEvent::FastPing;

   $pinger->interval (1/1000);
   $pinger->max_rtt (0.1); # reasonably fast/reliable network

   $pinger->add_range (v10.0.0.1, v10.0.0.15, 1/100);
   $pinger->add_range (v11.0.0.1, v11.0.255.255, 1/1000);
   $pinger->add_hosts ([ (v0. x 5 ]);

   $pinger->on_recv (sub {
      for (@{ $_[0] }) {
         printf "%s %g\n", (AnyEvent::Socket::format_address $_->[0]), $_->[1];

   $pinger->on_idle (sub {
      print "done\n";
      undef $pinger;



$pinger = new AnyEvent::FastPing

Creates a new pinger - right now there can be at most 65536 pingers in a process, although that limit might change to something drastically lower - you should be stingy with your pinger objects.

$pinger->on_recv ($callback->([[$host, $rtt], ...]))

Registers a callback to be called for ping replies. If no callback has been registered than ping replies will be ignored, otherwise this module calculates the round trip time, in seconds, for each reply and calls this callback.

The callback receives a single argument, which is an array reference with an entry for each reply packet (the replies will be batched for efficiency). Each member in the array reference is again an array reference with exactly two members: the binary host address (4 octets for IPv4, 16 for IPv6) and the approximate round trip time, in seconds.

The replies will be passed to the callback as soon as they arrive, and this callback can be called many times with batches of replies.

The receive callback will be called whenever a suitable reply arrives, whether generated by this pinger or not, whether this pinger is started or not. The packets will have a unique 64 bit ID to distinguish them from other pinger objects and other generators, but this doesn't help against malicious replies.

Note that very high packet rates can overwhelm your process, causing replies to be dropped (configure your kernel with long receive queues for raw sockets if this is a problem).

Example: register a callback which simply dumps the received data.

   use AnyEvent::Socket;

   $pinger->on_recv (sub {
      for (@{ $_[0] }) {
         printf "%s %g\n", (AnyEvent::Socket::format_address $_->[0]), $_->[1];

Example: a single ping reply with payload of 1 from ::1 gets passed like this:

      [ "\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\0\1", 0.000280141830444336 ]

Example: ping replies for and

      [ "\177\0\0\1", 0.00015711784362793 ],
      [ "\177\0\0\2", 0.00090184211731 ]
$pinger->on_idle ($callback->())

Registers a callback to be called when the pinger becomes idle, that is, it has been started, has exhausted all ping ranges and waited for the max_rtt time. An idle pinger is also stopped, so the callback can instantly add new ranges, if it so desires.

$pinger->interval ($seconds)

Configures the minimum interval between packet sends for this pinger - the pinger will not send packets faster than this rate (or actually 1 / rate), even if individual ranges have a lower interval.

A value of 0 selects the fastest possible speed (currently no faster than 1_000_000 packets/s).

$pinger->max_rtt ($seconds)

If your idle callback were called instantly after all ranges were exhausted and you destroyed the object inside (which is common), then there would be no chance to receive some replies, as there would be no time of the packet to travel over the network.

This can be fixed by starting a timer in the idle callback, or more simply by selecting a suitable max_rtt value, which should be the maximum time you allow a ping packet to travel to its destination and back.

The pinger thread automatically waits for this amount of time before becoming idle.

The default is currently 0.5 seconds, which is usually plenty.

$pinger->add_range ($lo, $hi[, $interval])

Ping the IPv4 (or IPv6, but see below) address range, starting at binary address $lo and ending at $hi (both $lo and $hi will be pinged), generating no more than one ping per $interval seconds (or as fast as possible if omitted).

You can convert IP addresses from text to binary form by using AnyEvent::Util::parse_address, Socket::inet_aton, Socket6::inet_pton or any other method that you like :)

The algorithm to select the next address is O(log n) on the number of ranges, so even a large number of ranges (many thousands) is manageable.

No storage is allocated per address.

Note that, while IPv6 addresses are currently supported, the usefulness of this option is extremely limited and might be gone in future versions - if you want to ping a number of IPv6 hosts, better specify them individually using the add_hosts method.

$pinger->add_hosts ([$host...], $interval, $interleave)

Similar to add_range, but uses a list of single addresses instead. The list is specified as an array reference as first argument. Each entry in the array should be a binary host address, either IPv4 or IPv6. If all addresses are IPv4 addresses, then a compact IPv4-only format will be used to store the list internally.

Minimum $interval is the same as for add_range and can be left out.

$interlave specifies an increment between addresses: often address lists are generated in a way that results in clustering - first all addresses from one subnet, then from the next, and so on. To avoid this, you can specify an interleave factor. If it is 1 (the default), then every address is pinged in the order specified. If it is 2, then only every second address will be pinged in the first round, followed by a second round with the others. Higher factors will create $interleave runs of addresses spaced $interleave indices in the list.

The special value 0 selects a (hopefully) suitable interleave factor automatically - currently 256 for lists with less than 65536 addresses, and the square root of the list length otherwise.


Start the pinger, unless it is running already. While a pinger is running you must not modify the pinger. If you want to change a parameter, you have to stop the pinger first.

The pinger will automatically stop when destroyed.


Stop the pinger, if it is running. A pinger can be stopped at any time, after which it's current state is preserved - starting it again will continue where it left off.


   Marc Lehmann <>


   This software is distributed under the GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE, version 2
   or any later version or, at your option, the Artistic License.