Wake on LAN

This technology has been around for a while, but I still think it’s cool.

If you have a computer you sometimes want to start up from a different computer, then you could send a Wake On LAN packet to the computer if it’s enabled for that.

Here’s a Python script I wrote that to wake up my computer at work if it was shut down, so I wouldn’t have to drive in just to start it up — the wake-on-LAN packet would be sent from another server on the internal network.

# Program: wakeup.py
# Purpose: Sends a magic wakeup packet to the MAC address specified in the current user's .wolrc file
# Programmer: Daniel Meyer
#
# Notes: The magic packet is actually built by wolpython.py, written by Marc Balmer.
# See http://gsd.di.uminho.pt/jpo/software/wakeonlan/mini-howto/wolpython.txt

import os,sys,re,string
import wolpython

def mac_well_formed(mac):
  return re.match('[0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F]:[0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F]:[0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F]:[0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F]:[0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F]:[0-9a-fA-F][0-9a-fA-F]', mac)

# Main
walrus_filename = os.environ['HOME'] + '/.wolrc'
if not os.path.exists(walrus_filename):
  print 'wakeup: please place the MAC address of the computer you want to wake in ' + walrus_filename
  sys.exit()

walrus = open(os.environ['HOME'] + '/.wolrc')
mac = string.strip(walrus.readline())
while mac != '':
  if mac_well_formed(mac):
    print 'Sending wakeup message to ' + mac + '...',
    wolpython.WakeOnLan(mac)
    print 'done.'
  else:
    print 'MAC address "' + mac + '" skipped (not in xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx format).'
  mac = string.strip(walrus.readline())

If the computer-you-want-to-wake is running Linux, you can find its network address by running /sbin/ifconfig and looking for the HWaddr; on Windows, run ipconfig /all from the command prompt and look for the Physical Address.

This script is a little silly, because it has this idea of a .wolrc (“walrus”) file that contains the computer you always want to wake up, and it is only designed to work on Unix/Linux (it expects a HOME environment variable) — not very full-featured.  I was proud of the walrus filename though. :)

You’d probably be better off using java-wakeonlan!

(Is it even really worth having my home computer’s network card always be awake listening for a wake-on-LAN packet that it might get once every couple of weeks?  Hmm…)

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