As the title suggests... Most WiFi stations enter a sleep/doze state following a short period of inactivity.

Is it possible to wake or elicit a response from a device in this state at will by spoofing AP frames, or perhaps another method?


Perhaps allow me to explain why I'm asking, as it may help with the advice that is posted...

I'm attempting to make a device capable of locating mobile WiFi devices, such as phones, tabs etc.

I have produced a working example which simply sniffs 802.11 packets "hunting" for a specific MAC address. When this is detected it alerts me and I can use signal strength to get an approximate range. Works fine. HOWEVER - I am finding this method slow as it is entirely at the mercy of the target stations' transmission activity. For me to successfully detect a target station it has to be actively probing or passing data with an access point. Two things that potentially seldom occur and are out of my control. For example, my iOS mobile device probes just a handful of times a day if left unattended.

I would therefore like to be able to send "something" out to trigger a response from a station in order to detect its presence.

In my scenario I would know the target MAC address and SSID connection history (and passwords). The catch is that the target would not be associated with any access points (otherwise I could just blindly force a re-association) and so I'm not sure if this is actually possible.

I appreciate this is an unusual project, but if there is any possibility of manipulating 802.11 to achieve it then I'm sure Ill find it here!

Ideas welcome...

  • 2
    Are you referring to an 802.11 power save sleep state, or to an OS sleep state?
    – YLearn
    Aug 22, 2018 at 1:36
  • Good question @YLearn, and to be honest, I'm not quite sure.
    – Matt
    Aug 22, 2018 at 21:23
  • Did any answer help you? If so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you can provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 25, 2018 at 9:21

1 Answer 1


Only if the NIC supports Wake-on-LAN or Wake-on-WiFi. It takes a special packet called a "magic packet".

Read more here

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