TTL is a value in data packet of Internet Protocol. It communicates to the network router whether or not the packet should be in the network for too long or discarded. Usually, data packets might not be transmitted to their intended destination within a stipulated period of time. The TTL value is set by a system default value which is an 8-bit binary digit field in the header of the packet. The purpose of TTL is, it would specify certain time limit in seconds, for transmitting the packet header. When the time is exhausted, the packet would be discarded. Each router receives the subtracts count, when the packet is discarded, and when it becomes zero, the router detects the discarded packets and sends a message, Internet Control Message Protocol message back to the originating host.
Apart from determining the life time of a packet in a network also helps in avoiding the wastage of bandwidth.