I always frown on people using good old ping for network or application performance testing.
Ping does not use TCP or UDP for testing, it will use ICMP, which may confuse you and skew your results.
In my research I came across Cryping, a command line utility that will still perform those ICMP pings as well as provide some application level support for SMTP, POP, HTTP, NTP and simple port tests.
You can find CryPing at http://www.cryer.co.uk/downloads/cryping/index.htm
In this video I use this utility as the catalyst to show some Wireshark navigation tips and tricks.