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Snow Leopard now supports Wake on WLAN, but not all hardware supports this. For example, my Octo Mac Pro from early 2008 has an AirPort card, but it does not support this. Nor does my 2007 2.33GHz MacBook Pro.

For reference to what is needed, look at http://www.macrumors.com/2009/08/28/a-closer-look-at-snow-leopards-wake-on-demand-feature/ which includes a screenshot of what the System Profiler should show.

It's pretty hard to find Apple parts, but is it possible to put newer cards into these machines to have them support Wake on Wireless?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Upgrading the Airport card to a sufficiently recent version will work.

I pulled one out of my white MacBook (same model of card as described in hanleyp's post), popped it into a Intel Core Duo 17-inch iMac (Early 2006), and it worked.

I replaced the MacBook's Airport card with one I bought on eBay. It was one generation earlier (System Profiler describes its card type as "AirPort Extreme (0x14E4, 0x87)"), and does not support Wake on Wireless.

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Thanks for actually trying this. I guess this answers the question! –  wojo Mar 16 '10 at 15:01
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It is possible to replace the Airport Express card on a Mac Pro. I haven't been able to find any information about how it is supported. My understanding is that it isn't considered by Apple as a user upgradable option.

Technically, the way an add-in card wakes the system is via a wake signal which connects to the slot. PCI and PCIe slots have this connection, called PME# and WAKE# respectively (the # means it is asserted when low or close to 0V).

It looks like the slot (labeled FOXCONN 682WD )in a Mac Pro is or is related to the mini PCI slot, which are typically found on laptops. If this is the case, then there is a good chance that a newer add-in card could also work in an older system and be able to wake the system.

There is risk that a card meant for a newer Mac Pro won't fit because the cards may be specifically designed for the one system they go in and have some sort of mechanical interference, such as a big capacitor, even though the slot is the same.

BTW, here is the information from my white MacBook which is similar to the article linked above but with newer firmware and 0x88 at the end of the Card Type instead of 0x1367.

  Card Type:    AirPort Extreme  (0x14E4, 0x88)
  Firmware Version: Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (5.10.91.19)
  ...
  Wake On Wireless: Supported
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If your Mac supports Wake on Demand, you can wake it up over wireless with/over almost every router. There is only one requirement: the router must support Wireless Multimedia Extensions (WME), also known as Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM).

Here is my blog post about wireless wake up Mac.

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I just replaced the Airport Extreme Card in my early 2008 Mac Pro with one intended for the early 2009 Mac Pro. I hoped that it give me wake on wireless, but unfortunately it does not.

Here are the details for the card:

Card Type:  AirPort Extreme  (0x14E4, 0x8E)
Firmware Version:   Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (5.10.131.36.1)

and for my Mac Pro:

  Model Name:   Mac Pro
  Model Identifier: MacPro3,1

If the 2009 Mac Pro does support wake on wireless, then this would suggest that it is the 2008 Mac Pro that does not support wake on rather than the particular wireless card.

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