Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 includes a new feature named WOL Proxy. ConfigMgr (or SCCM) has had a wake-on-LAN solution since ConfigMgr 2007 for appropriately flagged deployments. ConfigMgr WOL runs in one of two modes: subnet-directed broadcast or unicast. ConfigMgr customers found that unicast did not work once the clients’ routers had dropped their MAC address (typically after 4 hours). Subnet-directed broadcasts only worked if routers were set to propagate subnet-directed broadcasts, which is normally not the case due to security concerns. Therefore ConfigMgr 2012 WOL was generally found to not be practical in production.
The SP1 ConfigMgr WOL proxies address the unicast weakness by ensuring that at least one client on each subnet has the MAC addresses for all its peers and is ready to send magic packets in response to the unicast packets. It never drops the MAC addresses and therefore should be ready at any time.
WOL proxies are a good concept but in this version both the community’s and 1E’s observations are that they have several weaknesses for most organizations. Security weaknesses are the most obvious, but amongst other issues the current implementation is also very counter-productive if you have a computer power management strategy in place. We’re pleased to see Microsoft improve their WOL solution for some organizations but we encourage you to consider whether this implementation will work in your environment considering the details in the linked document.
For organizations that use 1E NightWatchman, or are considering doing so, we also detail how this feature compares with NightWatchman’s Wake-on-LAN (WOL) feature (also known as WakeUp).