I stumbled across this incredibly useful command in Cygwin sometime back and, for whatever reason, I can never remember it when I need it.
httping is a simple little utility that pings specific port numbers — default port 80 of course — the same way that ping.. err, pings servers. The following, for example, will help alert you to recovery of that production machine you just knocked off the net thanks to a fat fingered root command (oops):
httping -h example.com
-Gb switch combo to get transfer speed indicators.