Boot machines remotely - Wake On LAN

What is Wake-on-LAN?

Wake-on-LAN (WoL) is a tool that remotely wakes up, or boots up, a machine present in the network that is powered off. Using a specially designed frame called a magic packet, which contains the target computer's MAC address, WoL has the capability to communicate with computers that are powered off or in a low power mode. A device connected to the network can transmit these packets to wake up a target computer, eliminating the need to physically boot up a machine.

How does Wake-on-LAN work?

A network admin can perform a remote wake-up by transmitting the magic packets to the target device. To do this, a message is broadcast to all the machines in the network or subnet, including the target machine to be awakened. The machines in low power mode that are enabled with Wake-on-LAN infrastructure will “listen” to the broadcast message. The machine boots up if the received WoL magic packet contains its MAC address.

Threats and difficulties in WoL implementation

Several factors impede the implementation of Wake-on-LAN technology, such as the use of an appropriate BIOS or network card, the internal architecture of the target machine, and sometimes the reliability of the OS and router functionality.

  • Hardware issues: By default, machines are expected to wake up from a low powered state, i.e., machines that are powered off but are still connected to a power source. Hardware issues, such as situations like those mentioned above, might wake up computers from sleep instead of from a fully off state, or vice versa.

  • Security threats: Magic packets, which are sent via the data link layer, can be used or manipulated by any attacker or rogue device in the same network. If the target computer boots from a Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) server, it could allow the computer to boot from an attacker’s boot image, bypassing any security and providing unauthorized access to local disks over the network.

To avoid these network mishaps, an effective software tool like OpUtils Wake-on-LAN should be used.

Wake-on-LAN tool by OpUtils

OpUtils' Wake-on-LAN tool enables admins to wake up machines remotely on demand. The tool can be used to wake up either a single machine or multiple machines simultaneously. Admins have the option to send the WoL packets to a specific system, or broadcast the WoL packets to whole subnets. The status and the last wake-up time are automatically updated in the database.

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Effortlessly boot your machines remotely

OpUtils' Wake-on-LAN solution eases the use of WoL technology in a network by supporting both manual and scheduled wake-up. Equipped with real-time network scanning tools, it discovers and displays the MAC addresses in your network to help admins wake up a specific target machine. Also, OpUtils’ tree-based hierarchy of subnets helps admins efficiently broadcast WoL messages to the subnets in which the target machine(s) are present.

Wake-on-LAN features:

  1. Supports both manual and scheduled wake-up
  2. Automatic discovery of MAC addresses of the systems in the network
  3. Create multiple groups of computers as different tasks and schedule them separately
  4. Ability to boot systems across VLANs
  5. Provides a summary of the various tasks, along with the status of execution
  6. Detailed status of individual computers in different groups
  7. On-demand wake-up

Scheduled wake-up

With the Wake-on-LAN software, admins can add all the systems via scheduled wake-up to run at a specified interval: daily, monthly, or yearly. At the specified time, the tool sends the WoL packets to the systems to boot them up.

Group-based scheduling

The Wake-on-LAN tool enables admins to create multiple groups containing different computers, and these groups can be scheduled to run at different times. There is no restriction on the number of groups that can be created. The status of individual tasks will be provided as a summary under Groups in Networking Tools. The statuses of individual computers will also be available in the Status column under Devices in Networking Tools

Wake-on-LAN requirements

For the Windows Wake-on-LAN tool and Linux Wake-on-LAN to work, the machines should meet the following requirements:

  • An ATX motherboard with 3-pin Wake on LAN connector.
  • An ATX power supply meeting the ATX 2.01 specifications.
  • A network card (NIC) that supports Wake on LAN.
  • Wake on LAN should be enabled in the BIOS power Management.

For more details, refer to the Wake on LAN topic in the online help. Refer to Wake on LAN Knowledge Base for troubleshooting tips.

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