Wake on LAN (WOL) is an Ethernet computer networking standard that allows a computer to be turned on or woken up remotely by a network message sent usually by a simple program executed on another computer on the network. This is most commonly used by large businesses, to perform software updates remotely outside office hours.

Computers that are to be woken up need to be in Suspended (power saving) mode (Sleeping, Hibernating) but not disconnected from its power source. The network card listens for a specific packet containing its MAC address, called the “Magic Packet”. If the Magic Packet is valid, the network card takes the computer out of hibernation or standby, or starts up.

Note that for WOL to work it requires:

  • The NIC and motherboard in your PC to support WOL (WOL compliant)
  • The PC needs to be in Suspend mode – not powered OFF!