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Intel Receives Network-Power-On Patent

By - Source: USPTO | B 8 comments

Intel has been just granted a patent which enables electronic devices to be switched on via an intermediate computing device.

The document, filed in 2007, describes a networked environment of devices and is a step beyond the WoL (Wake on LAN (Local Area Network)) feature. In an environment of at least three devices, where on device is requesting data from a second device that is turned off, there is a third device that will is capable of determining that state and switch on a computing device on demand. The benefit of such an environment may be reduced power consumption as WoL device never can be entirely turned off and will always consume power.

According to Intel, the feature of "powering on devices via intermediate computing device" not only applies to enterprise scenarios, but also home environments where "devices coupled to a network may act as distributed media storage and playback with reduced power consumption when such devices are not in use." The power-on message is supported to be transmitted via wired and wireless signals over local and wide-area networks.

While Intel remains blurry about the exact technologies and protocols being used - the patent refers to virtually any networked computing environment and their data transfer protocols - the company specifically notes that the power-on feature may be built into processors and other circuits, logic units, or devices within the system. The actual data transfer takes place "via a point-to-point (PtP) interface using PtP interface circuits, respectively." The microprocessor would include a high speed (e.g., general purpose) I/O bus channel in some embodiments of the invention to facilitate communication with various components (such as I/O device(s))," the patent states.

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  • 4 Hide
    velocityg4 , December 28, 2011 12:39 PM
    This would be great. Power consumption is the reason I have yet to build a NAS for my home.

    Even an ARM CPU uses too much energy running 24/7 to justify setting one up just for an occasional convenience of access to all my files on all devices at all times.
  • 1 Hide
    nhat11 , December 28, 2011 3:06 PM
    velocityg4This would be great. Power consumption is the reason I have yet to build a NAS for my home.Even an ARM CPU uses too much energy running 24/7 to justify setting one up just for an occasional convenience of access to all my files on all devices at all times.


    eh how much power does your device use? My desktop can be on 24/7 and its only a few dollars a month ($2-5)
  • 2 Hide
    jhansonxi , December 28, 2011 3:37 PM
    Seems like a minor improvement over remote power distribution/control devices which have available for datacenters for 20 years. There may be some innovation in the specific way it handles network messages but this still seems like another frivolous patent.
  • 2 Hide
    drwho1 , December 28, 2011 3:57 PM
    "Intel has been just granted a patent which enables electronic devices to be switched on via an intermediate computing device."

    really?
    now?
    I have been using remote controls for nearly 3 decades!
  • 3 Hide
    nordlead , December 28, 2011 4:00 PM
    velocityg4This would be great. Power consumption is the reason I have yet to build a NAS for my home.Even an ARM CPU uses too much energy running 24/7 to justify setting one up just for an occasional convenience of access to all my files on all devices at all times.

    Don't run it 24/7. My NAS consumes 30W at idle with an Atom processor, 2 HDDs, and a 8GB CF card (OS drive) and a horribly inefficient PSU. It costs $42/year to run 24/7 at $0.156/kWh (my average rate). I used to have it set to shutdown at midnight and wake up at 8AM (with WoL if I needed it outside those hours). That would cut the costs by 1/3 down to $28/year.

    Honestly, I was burning more energy with the Christmas lights in my house (11x100W strands) in a single hour than what the server would use in a day.
  • 0 Hide
    dealcorn , December 29, 2011 1:56 AM
    I like this technology if it is affordable, but do not overestimate it's dual benefits. As a replacement for WoL you may save up to the 0.5 watt or so that WoL requires, As power supplies are typically inefficient at the this output, I would read that as more like a watt or two at the plug. Second, WoL requires a hard wired connection and this does not: wireless WoL works with this approach.
  • -1 Hide
    JonnyDough , December 29, 2011 5:22 AM
    Intel just wants a large company to screw up so they can sue for millions in "lost revenue". Ugh.
  • 0 Hide
    thrasher32 , December 30, 2011 2:50 PM
    Hmm, sounds like a nice feature. How come Wake-On-LAN couldn't have been updated to include this functionality, I mean it seems like a no-brainer.

    Water under the bridge now I suppose, since Intel now holds the patent.