What is ICMP?

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ICMP stands for Internet Control Message Protocol and is one of many utilities that are part of the Internet Protocol suite. Many of the utilities under Internet Protocol basically perform different functions in the way computers interact with each other online or in a given network. Some utilities and layers are in-charge of data transfers between different computers or between the server and end-user.  ICMP meanwhile is in-charge of providing error messages which can be used to diagnose problems in the computer network.

In a given network, all devices connected to it must have a way of communicating with each other in terms of status of requests and data transmission for example. While some utilities of Internet Protocol are busy transmitting data bytes from one end to another, there may be instances that the actual transfer will encounter problems along the way.  One way of knowing the status of the data transfer is through the use of the error messages which can be generated by the Internet Control Message Protocol or ICMP. In the case of routers wanting to give an error alert, it may do so using ICMP. Status of the error messages may be about the service or request being unavailable. The error message may also be about the host computer that is down or unreachable.

Aside from error messages, the ICMP or Internet Control Message Protocol may also be used to send out query messages between different computers or devices that are connected to the same network. Updates and statuses of data packets being transmitted may also be viewed through ICMP.  These query messages are often helpful along with the error messages in terms of diagnosing network or server-related problems.  All these messages are pre-defined and follow standard conventions in error reporting or relaying which are all part of the Internet Protocol suite.  Guidelines and rules are basically set beforehand in how messages are sent between devices through ICMP.

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