On the limited (Cisco) VPN systems that I've used, the VPN connectivity is broken when my computer is put to sleep and must be re-established on wakeup. Is this a necessary property of VPN?

  • ** Disable Power Saving mode** all I had to do was go into my ethernet adapter setting a disable the power/energy saving mode. it has been renamed once before so. navigate to the adapter and then into "Configure" where you should find a advanced tab with a ton of different switches. ** Disable Power Saving mode** This will literally stop the hardware adapter from switching off during nap time. it has nothing to do with the VPN. VPN cannot go through a powered down adapter. Aug 10, 2021 at 12:47

4 Answers 4


I think Bob Somers hit the answer, but there's another possibility. You could be sleeping your computer through the rekey interval, which breaks the connection.

VPNs negotiate a session key for every connection. This key gets "stale" after a while, and may be vulnerable to attack if enough data has been passed with it. To maintain the security of the VPN channel, there is a rekey interval where both ends automatically renegotiate a fresh session key. This is usually transparent to both sides of the tunnel, assuming both sides are connected. When you put your computer to sleep, it's possible the rekey interval is up during that time, and the VPN host closes the connection because it can't renegotiate the session key.


Because VPN is a not a stateless communication system like HTTP, it needs to have continuous connection. And since the OS is sleeping, it'll no longer maintain the connection.

  • Is there a specific reason it can't maintain the session though a sleep cycle? Is it a question of sleep duration?
    – cdleary
    Apr 30, 2009 at 8:52
  • Note that you can probably handle a quick sleep; it can be handled like any other network glitch.
    – Mikeage
    Apr 30, 2009 at 8:52
  • I wonder if this is going to change somehow. Where I work, the power settings on all of the PCs are set to "never sleep" so users can VPN to their machines which isn't very "green." May 28, 2010 at 17:35

I'm not exactly sure but my guess is because the network card (NIC) has been disconnected from the operating system stack. The fact that a VPN connection remains open is not so much hardware related but more by the software layers (think back to your 7 layer architecture).

  • It is hardware... VPN will stop when the adapter setting of "Power Saving Mode" is enabled. this literally is the config of the hardware adapter. and this kills VPNs when sleep enables Aug 10, 2021 at 12:45

Bingo. Most VPN software is implemented using the TCP/IP stack, which is not stateless. They have timeouts associated with the connections and when you put your computer to sleep there's no way to keep that connection alive.

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