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One of the tools in the NetCrunch Admin Toolset is the Wake On LAN tool. Wake On LAN is a handy tool when you want to wake PCs that are powered off and inaccessible on the network. What is Wake On LAN ? How is it configured? How can the NetCrunch Admin Tools be used to perform Wake On LAN on your network effectively? Let's explore WAKE ON LAN using this powerful little tool.
What is Wake on LAN ^
Wake on LAN is a networking standard used in Ethernet networks to turn on or "awaken" a shutdown computer using a specialized network message. Generally, WAKE ON LAN is performed using another network-connected device capable of sending what is known as the "magic packet." What is this magic packet? It is a specially formatted network packet containing the sleeping computer's network card MAC address. Computers in a low-power or off state still have power to the network card, allowing the network to essentially be "alive" while the rest of the computer is asleep, off, etc.
Wake on LAN settings depend on configuring your computer's BIOS settings to allow Wake on LAN functionality and then enabling the functionality within the computer's operating system. What are its use cases?
WAKE ON LAN use cases
As an administrator, how many times have you been managing workstations remotely or workstations located at another site and found the end user powered off a workstation? It essentially prevents any management or connectivity to the machine, since it is powered off and the operating system is not accessible.
This situation is a prime use case for Wake on LAN. ou can "wake up" a workstation that has been powered off or put to "sleep" by the end user using the special WAKE ON LAN packet. By merely sending the packet to the network card's MAC address enabled for WAKE ON LAN functionality, you can power on the workstation remotely.
Configuring your BIOS and network card ^
As mentioned, there are a couple of places where you need to enable WAKE ON LAN functionality. These include the computer's motherboard BIOS and the network card settings in the operating system. Every BIOS will differ in how it displays the WAKE ON LAN settings. The PC below calls this the "LAN Wakeup Function." Others may note the setting as "Wake on LAN" or "Power on LAN." You will want to consult your motherboard manufacturer for specific guidance in this regard.
The next step is configuring the operating system's network adapter configuration to support WAKE ON LAN . To do this, you need to navigate to the properties of your network adapter by typing ncpa.cpl at the run menu. In viewing the properties of your network adapter, you want to view the Advanced tab. Look for the entries "Wake on Magic Packet," "Wake on Pattern Match," and "WAKE ON LAN Speed." Ensure these settings are enabled and configured correctly.
Setting the network adapter advanced configuration to support WAKE ON LAN
On the Power Management tab, make sure you have all three checkboxes checked.
Now that we have the BIOS and network adapter configured correctly, the WAKE ON LAN functionality is ready to receive the special packet and power on the workstation. Let's see how we can use the NetCrunch Admin Toolset to send the special "magic packet" to the workstation.
NetCrunch Admin Toolset ^
AdRem Software produces a free set of tools called the NetCrunch Admin Toolset. This toolset includes a wide variety of network admin tools and is of tremendous value, providing comprehensive network tooling for free. The NetCrunch Admin Toolset comprises the following tools, divided into three categories:
- WAKE ON LAN
- DNS info
- Who is
- DNS audit
- MAC address resolver
- Subnet calculator
- Ping sweep
- Network services scanner
- Open port scanner
- SNMP scanner
Installing the NetCrunch Admin Toolset
What does the process look like to install the NetCrunch Admin Toolset? The first thing you will need to do is visit the NetCrunch site to download a copy of the NetCrunch Admin Toolset. Once you have the installer, the install process is a straightforward "next, next, finish" wizard.
After installing the NetCrunch Admin Toolset, you must register with a valid email address before using it.
Enter an existing email address or create a new account with AdRem Software.
After completing registration, you will see the NetCrunch Network Tools app displayed.
As mentioned, the tools are grouped into categories. The NetCrunch Wake On LAN tool is located under the Basic IP Tools section.
As you can see, the WAKE ON LAN tool is simple. You need the MAC address for the network card to send the magic packet for waking the computer. In Windows 10, this can be found easily using the ipconfig /all command at either a command or PowerShell prompt.
Once you have the MAC address, enter this in the Wake On LAN tool in NetCrunch Network Tools. Click Send. That's it!
After sending the magic packet to your WAKE ON LAN -configured workstation, you should see the workstation power on and go through the normal boot process.
Cloud-based Wake On LAN service ^
Adrem Software offers another Wake On LAN option that is independent of the toolset and is cloud-based. The free Wake On LAN online service allows admins to create a special link that allows turning on a specific computer remotely from a web browser. Such a link can be custom created and sent to a specific employee who has to remotely power on their PC at the office before they RD to it.
It may be a case for employees who need to perform some tasks from their office PC. To enable such links, admins have to install the wakeonlan.net agent on a Windows machine with access to the subnet where the desktop computers resides. End users can then turn on their office PCs from a different subnet or even from home when working remotely, without bothering the administrator to power on the PC for them. More details can be found here.
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The NetCrunch Wake On LAN tool, as part of the free NetCrunch Admin Toolset, is a useful tool among the twelve total included. WAKE ON LAN is easily configured by setting up the computer BIOS and the network adapter properties to listen for the "magic packet" and perform the power-on once received. You can download the NetCrunch Admin Toolset here.