R.G. Keen's Blog

Curses – Opensolaris doesn’t support Wake On Lan!

Posted in Opensolaris Server, Power Considerations, Remote Management by rgkeen on May 12, 2010

Well, mostly not. After some more time on google, I find that to make WOL work, you need

  • A WOL-capable motherboard
  • Setting the BIOS to enable WOL, or in newer boards “S5 on PME” wakeup events
  • A WOL-capable LAN adapter; some add-in cards do this, some don’t; and some internal LAN adapters support it, some don’t
  • A network device driver that supports WOL

It’s that last which Opensolaris fails on. The drivers may or may not have WOL inside them, depending on their provenance. And the WOL that may happen to be there may or may not work, or -worse!- may not work correctly, or reliably.

As I read when doing this research, the guys who form the Opensolaris cognoscenti do not think much of WOL. The general idea is that it’s at least useless, possibly worse. They vastly prefer wake from sleep/standby. Obviously this is a very broad generalization, and it’s what I inferred from a couple of hours of reading. Individuals may take issue with it.

I’m after remote wakeup and shutdown, as I mentioned in the post on remotely managed AC power. I had stopped work on the managed AC power button pushers while I investigated WOL. I’m now glad I did the AC button pusher work. It looks like I’ll need it.

I also found another suitable class of wakeup/shutdown devices. These go under the heading of embedded ethernet I/O devices. Some of them contain a minimal web server and can be run by a remote web browser. All of them have their own LAN port, and let you twiddle the I/Os remotely.

The application is obvious. These things can do the low-power button pushing and could conceivably have an AC power relay added. I’ll do more digging and see if this gets me closer to the poor-man’s “Lights-Out Adapter”, which is what the industry terms remote management setups.


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