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Wake-on-LAN (WoL): Bring your computers back to life, on demand

Wake-on-LAN (WoL) allows you to power up computers from anywhere. Scalable, energy-efficient remote device management is at your fingertips, thanks to full WoL capabilities hardwired into your TeamViewer Remote solution.

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Wake-on-LAN

What is WoL?

Wake-on-LAN (WoL) is a computer industry standard protocol for remotely reactivating a computer from a low-power or powered-down mode. Providing that the computer you want to control meets certain configuration requirements, WoL allows you to wake it up from another device. 

TeamViewer Remote comes with built-in Wake-on-LAN support. It means you can maintain machines for long periods of time, even if they are turned off or in low-power or hibernate mode. When required – e.g. for maintenance, support, monitoring, or to access work applications and files from home – you can use TeamViewer Remote’s WoL function to reactivate and control your devices from anywhere with minimal disruptions to business operations.

At the same time, this functionality can be used not only on the PC, but also on mobile devices. As an overarching protocol, WoL supports TeamViewer on a wide range of operating systems and devices.

How does Wake-on-LAN software work?

Originally developed by AMD and Hewlett Packard, WoL is a well-established networking protocol that has been in use since the 1990s. 

For Wake-on-LAN software to work, the remote computer you want to control must have its WoL settings enabled. This means that although the rest of the device is powered down (e.g. in soft-off or hibernate mode), there is sufficient power for the device’s network interface card (NIC) to remain receptive to communications in standby mode. 

To wake up a target device, the WoL software broadcasts a small data signal known as a magic packet to the NIC of the target device, either on the broadcast address for that device’s particular subnet, or on the address for the entire local area network (LAN). 

The magic packet is designed specifically to be processed quickly and easily by the NIC using very little power. It contains a header and the target device’s media-access-control (MAC) address – a unique identifier assigned to each NIC. 

When the WoL-enabled NIC receives the magic packet, it checks it for the correct information. If the MAC address is valid, it powers on or wakes the device.

Wake-on-LAN requirements

  • The computer must be connected to a power source
  • The computer’s network card must support WoL (the vast majority of devices have this capability)
  • The computer must have an internet connection via a network cable
  • Operating system set-up: See below for specific requirements for Windows, MacOS, and Linux

Wake-on-LAN on TeamViewer Remote

Through its built-in WoL capabilities, TeamViewer Remote allows you to turn on offline devices from anywhere. 

With TeamViewer Remote, you can wake up a computer directly via its public IP address. This is useful for PCs and other pieces of equipment that are clearly identifiable on the internet at all times. 

Alternatively, if a computer you want to connect with does not have a public IP address – e.g. non-internet-enabled point-of-sale equipment, industrial devices, or any other devices that you do not want to be connected directly to the internet – you can wake it up by sending a message via another computer on its network. (N.B. for this method, the other intermediary computer must be turned on and TeamViewer must be installed and configured on it).

For both WoL via a public address and WoL via the network, once your target device is in wake mode, TeamViewer Remote gives you full control of it – including the ability to switch it back into off or sleep mode when any task at hand is complete. In this way, you get full wake-up, remote access and control capabilities all in one easy-to-use solution.

System configuration for Wake-on-LAN

Your target computer’s NIC must be configured so it is supplied with power and capable of receiving broadcasted magic packets. Check your device instructions for this, as configuration of the NIC can vary depending on type of card and operating system.

Apply the following measures to the device you intend to switch on: 

  • Make sure TeamViewer is installed 

  • Assign the device to your TeamViewer account 

  • Activate TeamViewer Wake-on-LAN

  • For Wake-on-LAN via the network:
    Enter the TeamViewer ID of the computer which is to be wakened in the TeamViewer Wake-on-LAN options

  • For Wake-on-LAN via a public address:
    The public address of the computer must be entered in the TeamViewer Wake-on-LAN options

TeamViewer Remote has a simple, secure process for managing those devices that you wish to wake up, access, and control by adding them to your device list.

How to setup Wake-on-LAN on different operating systems?

Depending on the device type, WoL set-up on a PC may require configuring the device’s BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) – a type of firmware stored on the computer’s motherboard. This usually involves the following: 

 

  1. Start the computer

  2. Press the F2, delete, or escape key during the booting process to access the BIOS set-up

  3. In the BIOS set-up, open the Power tab

  4. Activate the Wake-on-LAN option

  5. Save and exit the BIOS set-up

     

Note: If there is no option to activate Wake-on-LAN in the BIOS, check the manual of the motherboard to make sure that it supports Wake-on-LAN.

For the majority of Windows devices, further set-up steps are as follows: 

 

  1. Open Settings and click on Devices

  2. Under Related Settings, click the Device Manager link

  3. In the Device Manager window, go to Network adapters and choose the Properties option 

  4. Open the Power Management tab

  5. Activate the Allow this device to wake the computer option

Activate WoL for the network card under Mac OS X and later by following these steps:

 

  1. Start the computer

  2. Open the System Settings box

  3. Scroll down in the box sidebar to Energy Saver

  4. Click to activate the Wake for network access slider

  5. The network card now supports WoL

To enable the WoL feature in the BIOS, different motherboard manufacturers use slightly different language. Look for terminology such as PCI Power up, Allow PCI wake up event or Boot from PCI/PCI-E

To query whether WoL is enabled on the network adapter, install ethtool, determine the name of the network interface and query it using the command:

# ethtool interface | grep Wake-on

Supports Wake-on: pumbag
Wake-on: d

The Wake-on values define what activity triggers wake up: d (disabled), p (PHY activity), u (unicast activity), m (multicast activity), b (broadcast activity), a (ARP activity), and g (magic packet activity). The value g is required for WoL to work, if not, the following command enables the WoL feature in the driver:

# ethtool -s interface wol g

Under Linux, for example under Ubuntu, it is also possible to provide Wake-on-LAN. At the same time, Ubuntu provides a tool that can be used to test the computer’s compatibility. The software tool is installed using the sudo apt-get install ethtool command via the terminal. Afterwards, it is possible to check the Wake-on-LAN compatibility via the Powershell. The command sudo ethtool eth0 provides information about this.

The result is a listing in which the section supports Wake-on can be found. If the letter g is listed here, it means that the functionality is available. To use Wake-on-LAN, Wake-on-LAN for Linux is enabled as follows:

sudo ethtool -s eth0 wol g

Benefits of using Wake-on-LAN software

TeamViewer Remote’s WoL functionality makes it easier to ensure that devices are powered down when not in use and reactivated remotely only when needed. With organisations under increasing pressure to reduce carbon footprints and overheads, greater WoL adoption can form a useful part of your wider strategy to lower energy usage.

For tasks such as patch management, applying updates and generating bandwidth-intensive reports that may impact network or device performance, WoL gives you greater scope for switching on machines and completing the tasks outside of work hours, thereby minimising disruption to business users and critical processes.

With effective WoL functionality at their fingertips, there is no need for office-based machines to be kept running just in case employees need to access them remotely. Employees can soft power down on-site equipment, safe in the knowledge that they can reactivate those machines remotely if and when access is needed. Whether you are looking to transfer files from your office computer while at home or need to run a critical update on a remote machine, using Wake-on-LAN is the ideal solution.

If a power outage or human error knocks an unattended device offline, WoL allows you to power it back up remotely without the need for a site visit. TeamViewer Remote’s WoL function is also useful for carrying out periodic remote checks on scattered devices – eliminating wasted time and costs on physical interventions.

TeamViewer offers advanced security features such as a black screen option for the remote PC so no one can see what you are doing, and a sticky notes feature to inform the remote PC user of the changes you have made.

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IT maintenance

Wake-on-LAN functionality within TeamViewer Remote helps ensure that IT administrators are fully-equipped to maintain, optimize, and update delocalized computers as efficiently as possible. 

Technicians are able to deploy WoL to wake endpoints on-demand. Using the solution’s remote access and remote control capabilities, they are then able to inspect problems, reconfigure settings, and install updates with ease. The ability to switch on devices remotely means that essential work can be completed outside of regular working hours, thereby reducing business disruption.

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Industrial and manufacturing

WoL functionality can have a useful role to play as part of your Industry 4.0 and smart production projects. 

With TeamViewer WoL, devices across the production pipeline – e.g. computerized sensors, monitors, and PCs – can be maintained in soft off or hibernate mode when not required, and then switched on remotely for the purposes of taking periodic data readings or device reconfiguration. This on-demand wake-up capability also allows you to keep power consumption to a minimum.

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Remote working and personal use

Use TeamViewer Remote WoL to switch on a work computer remotely and gain instant access to whatever files or applications you need. Need access to a locally stored document at home? No problem. With our solution, you have WoL capabilities at your fingertips to switch on your laptop and retrieve the document in no time.

Take your remote support and access to the next level

Enhance your TeamViewer experience, know more about your devices, and proactively keep your IT infrastructure healthy, stable, and secure. Boost your IT efficiency and centrally manage, monitor, track, patch, and protect your computers, devices, and software — all from a single platform with TeamViewer Remote Management.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Wake-on-LAN uses a UDP (User Datagram Protocol) port – usually ports 7 or 9. If it is not possible to forward the WoL packet to a specific IP address, the UDP port needs to be forwarded to all IP addresses behind your router. For the action to work, i.e. for the computer to wake up, the Wake-on-LAN packet must be forwarded to every device running behind your router. A device will only wake up if the information in the WoL packet matches it.

This requires you to configure your router, which will depend on the device used and the firmware installed on it. Please refer to the router supplier’s instructions.