Find all active IP addresses in an network

Today I found myself reconfiguring a wireless access point I hadn’t used in a very long time. I no longer have the manual (so I could reset it to factory defaults) nor do I remember what the obscure IP address I configured it with was. Luckily I do know what network it’s setup for ( 192.168.1.x ) but I don’t want to have to try to connect to all 254 IP addresses ( through as that would take quite some time. So what I’m going to do is use Nmap a swiss army knife for network operators and system admins. What we’re going to do is use Nmap to scan the entire network and tell us which IP addresses are active. This will allow us to drastically reduce the number of IP addresses we have to try. There are Nmap versions for all three major OS’s *nix, OS X and Windows. I’ll be showing you the syntax for the *nix/OS X version.

nmap -sP

replace with whatever network it is you’re trying to scan.
The /24 is the netmask of the network in CDIR notation. If you need a cheat sheet you can find one here

Once you press return (or enter) Nmap will start to work pinging each and every IP address on your network and noting which ones respond and which don’t. (Note that if your device has a firewall that discards ping requests it will appear to be down to this scan)

You’ll quickly get an output similar to the following

Starting Nmap 4.50 ( ) at 2008-08-19 10:15 PDT
HOST appears to be up.
MAC Address: 0:0F:1F:4C:0B:E6 (WW Pcba Test)
Nmap finished: 256 IP addresses (3 hosts up) scanned in 5.711 seconds

As always let me know what you think of this post and post any questions you may have to the comments.

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I'm a self labeled Nerd who enjoys Playing Video Games, restoring classic muscle cars (i have a 65' Mustang in the works) , Running Big Data Clusters, Tattoos, Working on System Automation, Riding and customizing Motorcycles, and writing python Code. I'm an SRE with DemonWare/Activision Specializing in Big Data/Hadoop operations but all opinions and views expressed on this site are solely my own.