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Definition of Wake-on-LAN

Wake-on-LAN (WoL) is a networking standard that allows a computer to be turned on or awakened remotely over a network connection. It works by sending a specially crafted network packet, called a Magic Packet, to the target computer's network interface card (NIC), prompting it to power up from a low-power state or even from a completely powered-off state.

Origin of Wake-on-LAN

The concept of Wake-on-LAN originated in the early 1990s with IBM, who developed a pre-boot execution environment (PXE) that allowed computers to be remotely booted over a network. The WoL standard as we know it today was further developed by AMD and Hewlett-Packard in the mid-1990s, becoming an industry-standard feature in many network interface controllers.

Practical Application of Wake-on-LAN

One practical application of Wake-on-LAN is in IT management. System administrators can use WoL to remotely power up computers for maintenance tasks, software updates, or troubleshooting, without needing physical access to the machines. This is particularly useful in large organizations with distributed networks, where manually powering on each computer would be impractical and time-consuming.

Benefits of Wake-on-LAN

1. Energy Efficiency: Wake-on-LAN helps in conserving energy by allowing computers to remain in a low-power state when not in use, yet still be accessible remotely when needed. This can lead to significant energy savings, especially in environments with large numbers of computers.

2. Remote Management: With WoL, IT administrators can efficiently manage and maintain computers across a network, regardless of their physical location. This enables quicker response times to issues, reduces downtime, and improves overall productivity.

3. Convenience: WoL provides a convenient way to access computers without the need for physical presence. Whether it's starting up a server in a data center or accessing a workstation in an office, WoL offers flexibility and convenience in managing networked devices.


Wake-on-LAN works by sending a Magic Packet, a specially formatted network packet, to the target computer's MAC address. The NIC of the sleeping or powered-off computer listens for this specific packet, and upon receiving it, triggers the system to power up.

Most modern computers and network devices support Wake-on-LAN, including desktops, laptops, servers, and routers. However, it requires support at both the hardware and BIOS/UEFI firmware levels.

While Wake-on-LAN itself doesn't provide encryption or authentication, it's generally considered safe for internal network use. However, sending Magic Packets over the internet without proper security measures could pose risks, so it's essential to use WoL within a secure network environment.


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