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Wake on WLAN

Wake on WLAN (called WoWLAN in the following) is a feature which allows a device to be woken up from standby power states to facilitate device management. It is based on the well well-established standard for Wake on LAN. The functionality is not entirely equivalent to Wake on LAN and there are some limitations.

The NetworkManager snap allows its users to configure one or more triggers to allow the device it operates on to be woken up remotely.

An important precondition for WoWLAN to work is that your device’s kernel WiFi driver has support for it. If it is has support for WoWLAN it may only support a subset of possible triggers.

You can read more about the kernel side implementation on the following sites:

Enable Wake on WLAN Globally

To allow users to enable or disable WoWLAN, the snap provides two configuration options:

  • wifi.wake-on-wlan
  • wifi.wake-on-wlan-password

Both options can be set via the configuration API snaps provide. See Managing snap configuration for more details.

Both configuration options will affect all wireless network devices. If you want to change it just for a single wireless connection take a look at Per Connection Configuration below.


This configuration option accepts the following values:

  • disabled (default): Wake on WLAN is disabled for all wireless network devices.
  • any: Wake on WLAN is enabled and any possible trigger will cause the system to wake up.
  • disconnect: If a connection to a station gets disconnected the device will be woken up.
  • magic: Wake on WLAN is enabled and only a received magic packet will cause the system to wake up. The magic packet has the same structure as the one used for Wake on LAN. For more details see The content of the magic packet can be extended with the wifi.wake-on-wlan-password option to require the client to send a specific byte sequence functioning as a password so that not anyone unprivileged can wake up the system.
  • gtk-rekey-failure: A failure of a GTK rekey operation will cause the device to wake up.
  • 4way-handshake: Reiteration of the 4way handshake will cause the device to wake up.
  • rfkill-release: Release of a rfkill will cause the device to wake up.
  • tcp: Any incoming TCP packet will cause the device to wake up.


$ snap set network-manager wifi.wake-on-wlan=magic


This configuration option accepts a textual value. If specified, the value will be used in addition to the wireless device MAC address to function as a password that disallows unprivileged actors to wake up the device.


$ snap set network-manager wifi.wake-on-wlan-password=MyPassword

Per Connection Configuration

To configure WoWLAN per connection you have to use the nmcli utility which comes with the NetworkManager snap. It allows you to configure the same two options as the snap accepts. However, the wifi.wake-on-wlan option takes a numeric value instead of a textual one.

The wifi.wake-on-wlan option accepts the following values (see above for a detailed description of each value)

  • 0: disabled
  • 1: Use global default configuration
  • 2: any
  • 4: disconnect
  • 8: magic
  • 16: gtk-rekey-failure
  • 32: 4way-handshake
  • 128: rfkill-release
  • 256: tcp

The wifi.wake-on-wlan-password option accepts the same values as the snap configuration option.


$ nmcli c modify my-connection wifi.wake-on-wlan 2 $ nmcli c modify my-connection wifi.wake-on-wlan-password Test1234

Verify WoWLAN Configuration

NetworkManager will use the kernel to configure WoWLAN on the hardware level. The iw utility provides a simple way to verify the right option is configured.

If you don’t have the iw utility on your system you can install it with the wireless-tools snap.

$ snap install --devmode wireless-tools $ sudo wireless-tools.iw phy phy0 wowlan show WoWLAN is enabled: * wake up on magic packet

See the help output of the iw command for more documentation and available options.

This page was last modified 1 year, 4 months ago. Help improve this document in the forum.