The Magic Packet

Unless you know what Wake on LAN is then the title of this post will be filled with mystery and intrigue. Nothing as intricate, it’s the piece of information that gets transmitted through the network which tells a sleeping computer with WoL enabled to wake up.

I still think you’re magnificent, magic packet.

I’ve had success with WoL in the past but didn’t really have a practical application for it; the server’s always been on and I’d usually be sitting at my desktop. Enter Parsec (software) which Wikipedia can explain better than me:

Parsec is a proprietary freeware desktop capturing application primarily used for playing games through video streaming. Using Parsec, a user can stream video game footage through an Internet connection, allowing one to run a game on one computer but play it remotely through another device. Although its main focus is gaming, Parsec can also be used as low-latency desktop sharing software. Parsec is available on most modern operating systems.

The Steam “Fall” sale was the catalyst for me to finally purchase Grand Theft Auto V and I’m enjoying it thoroughly, but realistically I only have one device built for and capable of running it which is my desktop. Being tethered to the desk is hard and it would be rare to get the lounge TV. I don’t want to leave this computer on all the time just in case I feel like playing a game when I’m away from home so WoL would be the ideal solution, except I don’t have an RJ45 ethernet connection to my desktop anymore, having replaced the run with 10GBe fibre. WoL isn’t supported on my 10GBe card and I couldn’t get it to work with my Wi-Fi adapter either (and that’s a supplemental standard).

I see four options to fulfill my dream of being able to turn my computer on remotely: Employ Powerline-Ethernet adapters (the last time I used them I was getting a decidedly underwhelming 33mbps, not good for anything except a Magic Packet really), run an ethernet cable alongside the fibre run (unsightly), install a smart momentary switch inside the case to simulate a power button press (a bit of work but absolutely nothing to do with the Magic Packet, but would also allow virtual assistants to turn the computer on or off) or install a WAP next to the computer. The easiest and cheapest would be the network cable but I’m strongly considering the momentary switch. I’ll keep you posted.

What will I do?

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