Features and Benefits of Snow Leopard's "Wake on Demand" service


With the major release of Apple's 7th addition to the Mac OS X family, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, there are a lot of enhancements which have arrived with this new OS X upgrade.

With the number of enhancements and refinements I can provide detailed summaries about with this new Mac OS X version, there is one service within Snow Leopard I found both potentially helpful and compelled to expound about, because it is a service not found in the previous, ground breaking version of Mac OS X, 10.5 Leopard.

 It is the Wake On Demand service, Apple developed just for Snow Leopard OS.

Wake on Demand allows you to access via an Airport Base Station or Time Capsule over a WiFi or Ethernet connected network,  the shared resources (files, folders, devices, etc) on of a Mac, while it is in sleep mode. To access Shared files on a previous version like Mac with 10.5 Leopard, the Mac had to be awake in order for those shared resources to be accessed.  

It is also a great energy saver due to its ability to allow a user to access resources from Macs in sleep mode without waking the computer(s). If you are a user with multiple Macs or PCs in your network, this service can present a great benefit for you, reducing some of your energy costs.

To use WoD (will use this acronym throughout this article, for sake of shortening its full name use) in Snow Leopard, will require the Mac user to have either a WPA or WPA2 network, and either an Airport Base Station or Time Capsule, to host the network. Either of these devices, must be  the main base station of the network however, in order for WoD to work.
The key service component for WoD is another network service called Bonjour Sleep Proxy, a service already found within the Airport Base Station (Extreme or Express 802.11g or 802.11n) and Time Capsule.

Bonjour Sleep Proxy, is the actual service the WoD employs  to access any sleeping Mac within your network, whose shared resources are being requested.The computers on the network automatically register themselves with this service when Bonjour Sleep Proxy is active.

  Once the use of the targeted Mac is completed, according to its sleep time setting configured in the System Preferences > Energy Saver Pane,  that Mac will then go back to its normal timed sleep mode. That is the energy saving benefit using the WoD service.

 One of the other interesting aspects about Bonjour Sleep Proxy, is when Macs are registered to the service, when sleep, will occasionally wake intermittently, in order to remain registered with this service.

The core network service of Bonjour Sleep Proxy service, is  Bonjour, a Zeroconf (zero-configuration) discovery service protocol, and a Mac OS X built-in service for all recent and newer Apple desktops and Apple notebooks.

Bonjour services, automatically enables any computer within that network,  to discover connected shared resources over a network without any configuration steps needed.  Bonjour can also be downloaded and installed on Windows PCs, thereby allowing PCs to easily connect and use the same shared resources on the same network as Macs, a great asset for mixed networks.

So with the Bonjour Sleep Proxy service containing these attributes, this makes WoD is quite a useful network resource to use:  Discoverable computers whose resources can be accessed even while sleep over a network.

Wake on Demand supports the sharing of application and devices on Macs. Here are a few applications and devices available to be shared through WoD

* iTunes Sharing
* Printer Sharing
* Screen Sharing
* Local File Sharing
* BackToMyMac

Quick Note About Waking Intel Macs with WoD:
Aside from Snow Leopard being the only OS which can be used with WoD, this service is not available to use wirelessly for Intel Apple Desktops and Portable Notebooks from 2008 and earlier.
 However, those Intel Macs can still be awakened if connected via Ethernet to an Airport Base Station.


So what we have here is an Apple network service with multiple benefits.  From auto-discovery, to accessing resources from sleeping computers remotely, to having cross-platform compatibility, Wake on Demand should prove to be a valuable service for many Mac users, who possess multiple computers and devices, with the need to have the freedom to share resources across their networks, without the issue of having to wake any sleeping computer to acquire those resources.

Thank you for reviewing this resource article on this featured service for Mac OS X 10.6
I hope it has effectively introduced you to one of the innovative enhancements found within Mac OS X  10.6 Snow Leopard.



For more detailed information about Wake on Demand, here is a great link from Apple to visit:
More About Wake on Demand

Another great in-depth reference to review regarding Wake on Demand and a tried and test review from an established Mac user's perspective.
Wake on Demand Let's Snow Leopard sleep with one eye open


Comments (1)


Hello WaterStreet,

Thank you for the update. I was beginning to wonder if I had skipped a step
when I finally submitted this article.

I always enjoy the candid, honest and helpful critiques from the Editors and reviewers of my articles, so I will watch for the updates and to find out if this article hit the correct marks to make an impact to the Experts and readers.

Best Regards,

Sr. Mac Support Specialist (ACDT, ACPT)

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