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I recently moved some stuff around in my office and stuck my workstation under my desk. It’s out of the way but to power it on I needed to crawl under my desk and hit the power button.

In the past I’ve used the power on settings in the BIOS to regularly power on a computer everyday but sometimes I leave my personal desktop on for days and sometimes I power it off.

I started to wonder how I could wire in a remote switch and then had one of those ‘Ah ha!’ moments and looked up Wake-on-LAN.

What is ‘Wake-on LAN’?

From Wikipedia: Wake-on-LAN (WoL) is an Ethernet or token ring computer networking standard that allows a computer to be turned on or awakened by a network message.

I’ve been aware of Wake-on-LAN for ages but have never tinkered with it.

So I have a computer turned off and a network, what can I use to turn it on that is also on the same network?

My phone!

Turns out this was really simple…

  • Check your computer BIOS and verify Wake-on-LAN is enabled
  • Check in my OS that WoL is supported (in Ubuntu I ran ‘sudo ethtool enp1s0’ and saw that Wake-on: g was present)
  • Download an app - there are tons of them available.

The app I downloaded scanned my local network, I selected the IP of my workstation, and then hit ‘Wake’…

… and I could hear my workstation power up under my desk.

It’s magic!