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WoL - Wake-on-LAN


Definition: Wake-on-LAN (WoL) is a network technology that allows you to power on a computer remotely. This feature was originally designed for use by professional administrators of local area networks (LANs), but it can be set up to work with any modern PC.

Using Wake-on-LAN

Wake-on-LAN is employed when needing to establish a network connection with a computer that has been shut off. One computer initiates a WoL request to another that involves sending specially-formatted messages. The messages identify the target computer by its MAC address and associated IP address.

Although the PC is in a powered off state, internally its network adapter is maintained with sufficient power from the PC motherboard to service Wake-on-LAN requests.

Wake-on-LAN Requirements

A computer capable of being powered on via Wake-on-LAN must be connected to the network via Ethernet. Computers connected via Wi-Fi or other methods cannot be activated using this feature.

Any computer (whether connected by Ethernet, Wi-Fi or other link) can initiate a Wake-on-LAN request. However, initiating such requests often requires specific application software. Business network administrators typically use an enterprise software program having this option. Standalone Wake-on-LAN software utilities designed for individual use are also available for free download on the Internet.

To receive Wake-on-LAN requests requires not only an Ethernet connection and reachable IP address but often also special configuration of the computer's BIOS and operating system. In Microsoft Windows, for example, an Ethernet adapter's Properties page normally contains Power Management options including enabling (or disabling) of WoL.

In Microsoft Windows, after a computer is powered on via Wake-on-LAN, it will normally (by design) return to a powered down state after two minutes of network inactivity.

Also Known As: Wake on PCI

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