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> The L2 ping sounds remarkably like the LLC "Test" mechanism to me ;-)

  Presumably yes. However, as you note in a different message, LLC as
a whole is optional.
  Vendors which claim conformance to 802.2 must implement Type 1 TEST
frames, but many vendors do not claim 802.2 compatibility. Sadly enough,
attempts to use TEST frames in real networks are generally disappointing,
as only a fraction of the nodes respond. LLC has 20 years of inertia
behind it, and I think it would be unwise for 802.3ah to try to promote
its implementation as a vital portion of the service.
  I believe we do need to define a TEST-like function within 802.3.
I gave a presentation on LLC TEST at the last plenary, and am planning a
followup on a proposed mechanism now that we are (almost) a sanctioned
working group.

Denton Gentry
Dominet Systems