I've used pcap in different programs, and essentially, the route I went to develop it didn't really go near pcap :). I've always thought of pcap as a way to write custom packet sniffing tools (I've got one that just logs host and service of machines that access a particular server. Used just prior to decommissioning it to check if anything would break horribly when we did)
I started with a need to send pings, so started using Net::Ping. Then, when that proved no use for my needs, I started looking at the source code, and adapting from there.
The reason I didn't include a subnet scanner, was partially because as is, this program fulfills my need, and partially because sending a large number of fragmented ICMP packets counts as a DOS. So hitting a whole subnet with them is a very rude thing to do.
For subnet scanning, I use nmap. It's fairly easy to do a pingsweep in nmap, and feed the results through to this script :)
I hadn't really considered using it as a network performance indicator. I suppose that as the network load drops, the quantity of returned packets will increase, but my primary aim was to track down the few machines that were slowing us down (backups primarily) by running half duplex.
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