Does wake-on LAN/WOL depend on hardware or the operating system? Or both? How does one send a command to wake up a machine if it is supported (say a Fedora server)?

4 Answers 4


Hardware, and the associated firmware that runs on that hardware. It is OS independent.

There are a plethora of WoL utilities to send a "wake up" packet (sometimes called a Magic Packet). Try the port/package management system in your OS (or Google it). It's usually as easy as wol [MAC Address]


Wake On Lan involves sending a "magic packet" which contains the MAC address of the destination computer. There's a lot of detail here:

The best way to send a WOL request from one Linux box to another is ether-wake. If you're looking for it in Fedora, install the net-tools package:

$ yum whatprovides */ether-wake
net-tools-1.60-102.fc13.x86_64 : Basic networking tools
Repo        : fedora
Matched from:
Filename    : /sbin/ether-wake

The syntax is pretty darned easy:

ether-wake 00:11:22:33:44:55

Just replace 00:11:22:33:44:55 with the MAC address of the machine you want to wake.


Both, the hardware is a fundimental requirement but the control of WoL is passed to the os on boot and the os could change if it works or not.

  • Please do not spam this website. Thank you. Also, wouldn't the computer have to be on before the OS could change anything? WoL simply turns the computer on, what happens after that has nothing to do with WoL.
    – Chris S
    Oct 18, 2010 at 14:15
  • WoL is defined in BIOS but the OS can turn this on or off. Most windows machines have options in drivers menu to enable and disable WoL.
    – Depicus
    Nov 6, 2010 at 23:54
  • The OS is NOT involved. In fact the OS isn't even running when the NIC responds to a WoL packet. The WoL packets are NOT passed to the OS at all. Wether the OS can disable WoL capability or not (or try to, because the NIC doesn't have to obey) does not mean the OS plays a part in WoL itself. Jan 4, 2011 at 12:08
  • The OS IS involved, if the OS turns off WoL then the NIC cannot wake up no matter what you do. Read here for non persistent WoL ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=234588
    – Depicus
    Jan 4, 2011 at 15:44
  • Per wikipedia you're both kind of right: Hardware requirements Wake-on-LAN support is implemented on the motherboard (BIOS) of a computer and the network interface (firmware), and is consequently not dependent on the operating system (and NIC drivers) running on the hardware. Some operating systems can control Wake-on-LAN behaviour via hardware drivers.
    – Matthew
    Jul 13, 2012 at 3:21

The following guide goes step by step on configuration and gives good understanding of WOL. Please read at http://www.thegeekstuff.com/2008/11/wol-wakeonlan-guide-remotely-turn-on-servers-without-physical-access/

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