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Apple Airport Extreme Basestation and Wake On Lan

In order to cut down on energy usage I wanted my allwayson windows XP server to hibernate when not in use. My network adapter supports wakeOnLan and I also had it configured in a minute. Make sure Wake on Lan is activated in your Bios as well as in the configuration menu of the networking card.

Wake On Lan settings on the server

Wake On Lan settings on the server

wake on land settings - energy management

be sure to check all three boxes. The last box makes sure your pc does not wake up from random networking traiffc.

this is what it looks like on a mac

this is what it looks like on a mac

Then I go to my macbook pro and fire up this tool http://gsd.di.uminho.pt/jpo/software/wakeonlan/ which is a small free but fully functional wake on lan tool for macs that is able to send the so called magic packets that wake up a computer in standby or hibernation mode. There are a ton of tools like this for windows as well. google is your friend.

wake550

So within the network everything works just fine. I put in the mac address and the broadcasting IP which usually is something like 192.168.x.255 and hit go. seconds later my server is booting up. very nice.

Wake on Lan over the internet through a Airport Extreme basestation is a different story. In theory all you had to do is forward the UDP port 9 to the broadcasting IP of 192.168.x.255. So any magic package that hits your router on the wan port is automatically broadcasted over your local network in order to find the machine that needs to be powered up. pretty simple in theory.

1. Update 4.5.2009

2. Update 20.5.2009

Wake on lan over the internet

It is possible to do it over the internet on the long run. The important thing to understand is that the Airport extreme basestation still will not allow any broadcasting of outside traffic. It can be done however if you manually specifiy the ip address for the computer that should wake up. your are very likely to have your Airport Extreme Basestation hand out IP addresses to devices using DHCP. Your computer needs an IP reservation that will give it the same Ip every time it is on, so the magic package will always reach the correct machine. you can make such a reservation in the Airport utility at internet –> DHCP. The AEBS will only remeber the computer with the IP reservation for a short amount of time so it is not a long term solution.

Ip reservation

You need the computers mac address to make this reservation, usually something like this xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx. Then head over to you computer’s network settings and asign the same IP you just reserverd manually to the computer.

manual ip

Now you have to forward the UDP 9 port in the airport utility. Unlike previously assumed you do not want to forward it to the broadcasting IP but to the specific IP you asigned to the computer.

forwarding the udp 9 port

forwarding the udp 9 port

http://ifatwww.et.uni-magdeburg.de/wol/

http://stephan.mestrona.net/wol/

here is a really good german explaination of the entire issue.

Bottom Line:

it is possible to use wake on lan within your local network/subnet if you have an Apple Airport Extreme Basestation, but it is not possible to wake up your machine over the internet since the AEBS will not forword the magic packages coming in at the UDP 9 Port.

It is possible to do wake on lan over the internet and on your local lan with your airport extreme basestation. Thanks a bunch for the commenter who came up with this idea!

It is possible to do wake a lan over the internet but after a short time the AEBS “forgets” the link to the computer and it will not work any more. Sry for the messy post, I will clean it up once I have figuered the damn problem out!

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  1. This is a great article and a big disappointment.

    I was about to buy an Apple Time Capsule, but if it won’t support WOL over WAN there won’t be much point.

    Do you happen to know if Time Capsule is the same as Airport Extreme? I suspect so as I understand it is just and Airport Extreme with hard drive attached.

  2. I am pretty sure that time capsule is just like an airport extreme. Maybe something changed though with the release of new time capsules. Calling apple might be a good idea.

    It’s something that really bothers me but I have not found a cheap solution or work around. I am just thinking maybe I could hook up another cheap router to the system and relay the public port to the router and have the second router do die broadcasting, but I am not sure if that is going to work. I will give it a shot some time this week, and post if I get something working.

  3. Hey I have configured my Time Capsule to forward the port 9 just like on your screenshot and it works perfectly! :) Now I’m willing to get Sleep On Lan ( http://www.readpixel.com/wakeonlan/index.html )

    Hooray! :-)

  4. have you tried that from a remote location or different network. it also worked for me as long as I was within my home network. But I will certainly recheck, maybe something has changed since wrote this post.

  5. I persume StuFF mc is referring to his LAN.. Do you have anything else to report, Christoph?

  6. I think maybe there is a way to work for Airport Extreme Base Station to be able to wake-on-lan thru internet. I didn’t have the AEBS myself, but try this.

    Set the machine wired with ethernet to a specific IP address outside the DHCP range. My example is a Mac Mini, I set it thru the Network Preference.

    Set Configure to Manually (not Using DHCP with manual address). Type in your specific address at IP Address, like 192.168.1.201, but it need to be outside the DHCP range of the router. Then set your subnet mask, should be 255.255.255.0 and router address, mine is 192.168.1.1 and DNS server to the DNS server if you have one or the router address.

    After all, setup a forwarding port 9 UDP to that specific address, (my case 192.168.1.201), and try to send a magic package, either thru scrip or the wakeonlan app, to your router IP seen to the world. That would probably wake the machine.

    Try it, since the address is specified in the machine itself, it won’t change and the router will always has the same ip allocated to that machine.

    Let me know if it works. It works on my case, i have a AirLink router, but i didn’t forward magic package to a broadcast address, but just to that Mini specific IP address, and it wakes the Mini, every time!!

  7. thats a very interesting idea, I will try it this weekend and post if it works out. thanks!

  8. you were perfectly right, it worked the way you described. Thanks a lot for pointing this out!

  9. Tried the method outlined by Jimmy above & can also confirm I was able to wake my server up remotely, then shutdown using a VNC application.

    My only issue is that in order for the router to ‘find’ the IP address of the server, it needs to have connected to it previously. I regularly switch my router off… if I switch it on & try waking the server straight away via the internet, it won’t be able to find it. If the server is switched on while the router is on, then powered down again, waking over the internet will work.

    Still, even with that minor restriction, its a useful technique… especially if, unlike me, you leave your router on 24/7. Is there a way to make the airport extreme ‘remember’ the server’s address? I know you can reserve IP addresses for your network, but they need to be within the specified range.

  10. I’ve been searching for a solution to this problem ever since I bought my airport extreme a year ago. And Google has sent my to this site every time I tried to find a solution. With the same depressing conclusion every time…

    But all of sudden there’s gold at the end of the rainbow! Jimmy Lam, you just saved my day! And my airport extreme. Thx a bunch.

  11. I unfortunately have the same problem as James Herron describes above. But I never shut off my airport extreme. Still it seems to forget the ip of the computer I’m trying to wake up after a short while so it only works right after the computer has already been powered up and connected. So I’m pretty much back to square one. Any ideas?

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I have been trying to get this to work so that I can WOL and then VNC into my iMac that I use as the main file server in our office.
    I love the Airport Extreme but the lack of WOL was driving me crazy.
    I confirm that I can locally and remotely WOL using this method.
    Thanks Christopher and Jimmy for working through this issue.

  13. Crap, Crap, Crap!
    I spoke too soon. I have the same problem as James Herron and Vestermark above. It works for a short while and then the door closes. Neither my iMac nor my AEBS have been turned off and it still forgets the manually set ip from the iMac.
    I’d like to narrow down a time interval and then maybe have a script to connect the iMac through the AEBS to keep the connection alive. Kind of defeats the sleep mode function though.
    Anybody know what the alive time is?

  14. Since I leave my server on all the time(only auto sleep and wakeup during the night) I have not tried it after a longer time of sleep. It seems I have to change the post once more since I think it just does not work. damn it! If anybody has a good solution please post it. I currently run a 2 router setup and I have thought about sending the package from the AEBS to the second router and distribute it from there but I haven’t had the time to try this yet. I will post my findings.

  15. I finally gave up on the Airport Extreme and bought a Draytek Vigor 2710N instead. Now wake on wan works all the time, every time :-)
    The only thing that held me back for a while was the lack of gigabit ethernet. But since I have a gigabit router between the Draytek and my home network it’s not really a problem… I don’t think it would be even if I didn’t have the router.
    And the fact that the 2710N has a built in ADSL2/2+ modem just makes everything even sweeter (the 2710VN also has built in voip).

    Verdict: Buy, buy, buy!

    A few links:
    http://www.draytek.com/user/PdListbyCategory.php?action=LoadData&Typeid=13

    http://www.draytek.co.uk/support/kb_vigor_wol.html

  16. Hello,

    I have managed to make it work with TimeCapsule and I suppose it will work too with Airport Extreme.

    There are two reasons why the router might loose the IP address :

    1): If the router is restarted. As the information is stored in RAM memory, it is lost.

    2): When the DHCP lease expires. By default, it is configured on 3 hours. In this case, every 3 hours, the information is lost.

    So my solution is to update the DHCP lease to 9999 days. In this case, it works. If we don’t reboot the router, the IP address in maintained in the router memory and we have made static the DHCP allocation.

    Let me know if it works for you.

    Regards,

    Laurent

  17. Hi,

    I’m about to buy an airport extreme and have been googling this issue a lot now. Some say they got it to work while some says the opposite…

    Can someone CONFIRM that they got WOL to work with an airport extreme/time capsule? And by work I mean that it’s possible to wake the machine on your LAN from a remote location without timeouts etc.

    I got this to work with my old router but the problem was that the port forwarding in the router stopped working once the machine had been shut off for 30 minutes.

    Please let me know if you got this to work!

    BR
    pokke

  18. I could not get WOL to work reliably with an airport extreme, when the machine to be awoken had been sleeping for several hours. So I used a kludge instead: with cron and pmset, have the machine wake itself up for just a few minutes every 4 hours. While it’s awake, it acquires a network address from the router, and during its 4-hour nap it can be woken up using WOL. it’s hacky but it works.