The TTL field, Time To Live, of an IP packet represents the maximum number of IP routers that the packet can go through before being discarded. In current practice you can expect each router on the Internet to decrement the TTL field by exactly one.
The TCP/IP specification states that the TTL field of a new TCP packet should be set to 60, but many systems use smaller values (4.3BSD used 30 and 4.2BSD used 15).
The maximum possible value of this field is 255, and most UNIX systems
set the TTL field of ICMP (type
packets to 255. This is why you will find you can ping some hosts,
but not reach them with
During normal operation,
ping prints the TTL value
for every packet it receives.
When a remote system receives an ICMP packet,
it can do one of three things to the TTL field
in its response packet: