Wake-on-LAN (WOL) is an Ethernet computer networking standard that allows a shut-down computer to be turned on remotely. Most recent motherboards that have an integrated Ethernet controller that supports this feature. You can enable the Wake-on-LAN feature in the Power Management section of the motherboard’s BIOS. There are two ways of how Wake-on-LAN can work. The first one is you want to turn on a computer on the same local area network and the second one is you want to turn on a computer in another location through the internet.
This is how Wake-on-LAN works; the target computer is shut down with enough power reserved for the network card to function. The network card listens for a specific packet called the “Magic Packet”. The listening computer receives this packet, checks it for the correct information, and then boots if the Magic Packet is valid. A magic packet is data consisting of “FF FF FF FF FF FF” followed by 16 repetitions of the listening network device’s MAC address.
Here is how you can turn on a computer on the same local area network using Wake-on-LAN. There are many Wake-On-LAN tools that can be downloaded on the Internet and of course we always try our best to find the easiest ones to use.
WakeMeOnLan is a useful little utility from NirSoft that displays a list of computers on the network and allows you to switch one or all of them on with the click of a button.
All you need to do is scan the network by pressing F5 and it will display all connected computers and the status as to whether they’re currently on or off. Simply select the computer to wake and click the Wake button or hit F8. The good thing is, the list is saved and will be loaded the next time you start the program, or you can rescan for new computers or their updated status. The range of IP Addresses can be limited via the options.
As with many NirSoft tools, WakeMeOnLan can be used via the command line and a computer can be woken up by either it’s address, name , MAC address or even the predefined text description you give it. For example, to wake a computer using it’s MAC address:
WakeMeOnLan.exe /wakeup 40-48-81-A7-34-27
Or, to wake a system using it’s IP:
WakeMeOnLan.exe /wakeup 192.168.1.7
Great for shortcuts or batch files too. Just to mention, you have to run the program in the GUI mode first for the information to get saved to the .cfg file which the command line uses.
2. Nyxbull Wake on LAN
Only the MAC address of the target computer is required for this tool to work on the LAN. To find MAC address, double click on the network icon located at tray bar, go to Support tab and click on Details button. The physical address is your MAC address. It is in 00-11-22-33-44 format.
Another way is to open up command prompt and type “arp -a“. The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) command can only display MAC address of other computer that is turned on. You can’t use it to display your own MAC address.
3. FUSION WakeUp on Lan
Another Free utility. What I really like about this tool is it has the ability to get MAC address from IP address. If the target computer is off, you can still try the Get MAC button because it can search in the cache. As for the password box, you can leave it blank.
Important Note: If you’re unable to remotely turn on your computer using any of the tools listed above, you need to make sure that your computer is Wake-On-LAN ready by checking your BIOS settings and network adapter properties which can be found on page 2 together with 5 more ways to remotely turn on a computer from LAN/WAN.
Wake on LAN over the Internet
We’ll now continue to the more interesting part, booting up a computer from another location through Internet. Let’s say I am in Singapore on a business trip and I need to turn on my computer to retrieve some files. It may seem impossible but it is possible. For Wake-on-LAN over the internet, you must have a router that is turned on in order to wake up a computer over the internet.
Note: Make sure you configure your router to forward port 9 to the computer that you want to boot up otherwise it will not work because the Magic Packet can’t get into your network. Refer to PortForward.com on how to configure port forwarding for your router.
4. Depicus Wake on Lan
At first we found the Depicus Wake on Lan tool that is able to boot up a computer using Wake-on-LAN over the internet.
Something that was very confusing at first about this tool was the Subnet Mask entry. It somehow modifies the entered IP address to become something else. Eventually we came across a simple solution to this issue. Just use the subnet mask 255.255.255.255 and it’ll send the magic packet to the IP address and MAC Address that you’ve specified.
Here are some websites that allow sending magic packets to boot up a computer over the internet. They are free services that can be used by anyone.
5. Wake-On-LAN Online
You must know the external IP address, MAC address and also the Port. The default port for WOL over the Internet is 9. Some use port 7. Enter the correct information, hit the “Wake Up!” button and it’ll send the magic packet to turn on your computer.
You can also setup a schedule to turn the computer on at a specified time and date.
The requirement is the same as above. You need to enter IP address/hostname, MAC address and port which defaults to 9.
7. Depicus Wake on LAN over the Internet
Other than entering IP Address, MAC Address and Port, you need to enter subnet mask as well. Just enter 255.255.255.255 and a port of 9.
8. Wake on Lan Monitor
If Wake-on-LAN doesn’t work for you, try using Wake on Lan Monitor/Sniffer. You can use this tool to test if the magic packet is reaching your computer or not.
Tip: There are some routers that supports Dynamic DNS. This is a very useful feature where if your IP address changes, you can still keep track of your current IP address. My Belkin N1 wireless router has this feature and it’s easy to configure. I only need to sign up with DynDNS.org, and enter the information in my Belkin router.
Make Sure Your Computer is WOL Ready
To enable the Wake-on-LAN feature in the BIOS, in addition to an obvious option which is usually named something like “Wake on LAN”, you may have to enable an option called “PCI Devices power on” in the ACPI configuration and power management settings.
You also need to make sure the LAN driver in Windows has the WOL feature enabled. Right click on (My) Computer -> Manage -> Device Manager -> Network adapters. Double click on your Ethernet controller and look in the Advanced tab for a “Wake on LAN” or “Wake from shutdown” option and make sure it’s enabled. Also go into the Power Management tab and tick “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”, “Allow this device to wake the computer”, and optionally “Only allow magic packets to wake the computer”.
Also, while the system is switched off, make sure power is still getting to the network adapter by checking to see if the light is on near the connector on the motherboard or card. If not there is no power going to it then other settings may need adjusting. Something else which could stop power getting to the network adapter is a motherboard jumper. Some ASRock boards have a LAN power saving jumper which needs shorting for network adapter power to remain on. Worth checking the manual for this if there is still no network power.