Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Networking Hardware News IT

Network Adapter Keeps Talking While a PC Is Asleep 188

Posted by timothy
from the would-make-me-feel-better-about-keeping-a-server-on dept.
Al writes "Researchers at Microsoft and the University of California, San Diego have developed a network adapter that lets a computer enter sleep mode without disrupting the network connection. The adapter, dubbed Somniloquy (meaning to talk in one's sleep), consists of a gumstix running embedded Linux, 64MB of RAM and a 2G SD memory card, connected via USB. The adapter keeps the network connection going and the researchers have also developed a simplified IM client and bittorrent client that carry out more complicated tasks autonomously, only waking the computer if, for example, an actualy IM is received or a download is completed."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Network Adapter Keeps Talking While a PC Is Asleep

Comments Filter:
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:01PM (#29125179)
    So in other words you still have a computer running, just not your main computer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Shakrai (717556)

      So in other words you still have a computer running, just not your main computer.

      How's it gonna help those of us that download more than 2 gigabytes of porn^Wlinux distros at a time?

    • by mrphoton (1349555)
      To be hoist, one of the main reasons I turn my office computer off when I go home is so it is not hacked by script kiddies at night - I don't think I need a non updating embedded linux system running all the time on my network.
      • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:39PM (#29125671) Journal

        One of the reasons I don't turn off my office computer at night is because, if some pathetic script kiddie walks on water all the way through thousands of hours of preventative labour and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of top tier hardware all the way down to my desktop windows PC, I want to see it first thing, so I won't have had my coffee before I stab myself through the eyeball with a ballpoint.

        Seriously? You think you're safer by having it off 16 hours a day? Moreover, your tech people think that it's acceptable to have an environment where the security precaution is to turn off your computer when you're not using it?

        Wow. Just...Wow...

        • Seriously? You think you're safer by having it off 16 hours a day? Moreover, your tech people think that it's acceptable to have an environment where the security precaution is to turn off your computer when you're not using it?

          You would be surprised of how often tech "pros" do something stupid. I've had some people not update Windows because it might "mess something up" then others still have IE 6 because some outdated intranet program needs it, other times they have had non-updated anti-virus, run everything as admin, and a whole lot of other random bad ideas.

          • Sure...On the desktop. That's why we still get viruses from people clicking on bad webpages, etc.

            But there is nothing going around (that anyone has identified) that will blow through firewall after firewall and install it self across locked down subnets.

            I can't even remember the last time I saw an infection that wasn't caused by a user doing something silly, and the only time it "spreads" is when the user tells other users about the stupid site they went to and they go too.

            There is no excuse not to have tig

          • by wampus (1932)

            You would be surprised of how often tech "pros" do something stupid. I've had some people not update Windows because it might "mess something up" then others still have IE 6 because some outdated intranet program needs it

            So the correct course of action is to throw patches into production without testing and break compatibility business apps? Where do you work? It sounds exciting.

          • Some sage products blew up if IE7 was installed a few years ago, and one or two Server 2003 updates caused the serverside database to consume 100% cpu. Then theres SP3 which rendered some computers unbootable, SP2 which caused IT headaches all over the place, etc etc.

            WSUS was created for a reason, you know, some updates really can blow things up.
        • by loteck (533317)

          thousands of hours of preventative labour and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of top tier hardware

          Yes, how silly of his "tech people" to think that, especially since every office has tech people, and has that same expensive investment in their complex IT infrastructure, right!?

          Don't be obtuse. If your average under-served office with 1-5 (most likely infected) Windows PCs would shut down more often, it'd be better for both the environment and IT security as a whole.

        • by Dogtanian (588974) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @05:04PM (#29126055) Homepage

          You think you're safer by having it off 16 hours a day?

          Dude, if I was having it off [urbandictionary.com] for 16 hours a day, I wouldn't give a flying **** about some shitty PC security!

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          But it IS safer to have your computer off than on.

          Moreover, your tech people think that it's acceptable to have an environment where the security precaution is to turn off your computer when you're not using it?

          If it is THE precaution, then it would be bad. Having it as A precaution, if you don't have a strong firewall/gateway, isn't bad.

          • by billcopc (196330)

            There are hundreds of millions of computers on the internet, many of them 24/7. Do you think their sysadmins power them off to reduce the risk of infection ? No. Ideally, you should treat a PC as "tainted" from the moment you plug it into an untrusted network. In practice, having an unpatched Windows box on the internet for maybe 5 minutes is enough to get it breached, because out of those hundreds of millions of computers, a significant chunk of them are already infected, and scanning for new victims t

        • Not sure why your post was modded insightful. He didn't say his only precaution was to turn the PC off.

          Besides, when his PC is off, then the script kiddy can't get to it. Makes sense to me. And saves a bucketload of electricity.

          Yours is one of the less plausible excuses I've heard for keeping desktop PCs on 24 hours a day.

        • Fallacy here.
          Ok, the GP was a moron, but it doesn't explain why you would not turn your computer off.
          Unless you enjoy wasting electricity, I don't see any reason.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by noidentity (188756)

      So in other words you still have a computer running, just not your main computer.

      Don't worry, they're working on a solution which allows the network computer to go to sleep as well without disrupting the network connection. Perhaps they could add a second network computer that allows the first to power down...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      'sup dawg, I heard you like computers, so I put a computer in your computer so you can download while you sleep.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locutus (9039)
      much like the OLPC design for their mesh networking. Another cool thing they, the OLPC people, was to let the CPU sleep but the video card keeps displaying what's on the screen.

      LoB
  • Yo Dawg (Score:5, Funny)

    by decipher_saint (72686) * on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:02PM (#29125191) Homepage

    We put a computer on your computer so you can download while you download...

    • Re:Yo Dawg (Score:5, Funny)

      by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:09PM (#29125309)

      The question is whether the NIC can go into a power saving mode and be awoken by an even simpler device when a packet comes in.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ichthus (72442)
        I use Wake On Lan [wikipedia.org] to wake my PC. The same thing should work for this.
        • Re:Yo Dawg (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:50PM (#29125853) Homepage Journal

          I use Wake On Lan [wikipedia.org] to wake my PC. The same thing should work for this.

          Some applications, such as BitTorrent, require a continuous stream of packets. If you can offload processing these packets to another device that draws less electric power and keep the PC turned off until the device is ready to commit its changes, you can save money on your electric bill.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Still, the issue remains, why not just have two computers, a gumstix based box that runs bittorrent 24/7 and forwards the data to a cifs share on the windows box, and then a windows box that is set to sleep when idle but WOL? I see no benefit in tying the low power headless machine to your other computer. I essentially do this now, running my 24/7 tasks on an Atom based desktop and then sleeping my workstation when im not sitting in front of it. I also run my IM client on the remote host too, so the only be
          • by pclminion (145572)

            Or you could just shut the whole thing off. From my understanding, the only useful reason to have a BitTorrent client running is to either download or upload data. Without the main PC running, how will you access main storage in order to save and retrieve this information? Unless the network stick has several GB of persistent storage on it (which is possible, of course) I can't see how that would be useful.

            But if we're just looking to save power and torrent shit at the same time, why not use a small, low-po

      • by sukotto (122876)

        well, there are lots of turtles down there. one of them can turn it on.

      • Yes. The device runs NetBSD.

  • by jdb2 (800046) * on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:04PM (#29125207) Journal
    .....their incompetency once again.

    Apparently Timothy doesn't understand how to use Google [google.com], or, dare I say, even the Slashdot "Old Stories" search [slashdot.org]

    Almost the exact same story was posted on Monday, April 27 . [slashdot.org]

    jdb2
    • by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:31PM (#29125585)
      Posting dupes of 4 month old stories is the Slashdot way!
    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "Apparently Timothy doesn't understand how to use Google [google.com], "

      If you're going to tell someone they don't know how to use google and then you link it, at least have the link go to the finished search, because with just the link going to google.com it looks like you don't know how to google either.

      same goes for any search engine, including /.'s
      • by jdb2 (800046) *

        "Apparently Timothy doesn't understand how to use Google [google.com], " If you're going to tell someone they don't know how to use google and then you link it, at least have the link go to the finished search, because with just the link going to google.com it looks like you don't know how to google either. same goes for any search engine, including /.'s

        So you're saying that because I didn't spoon-feed the reader a link, which any 10 year old who has Internet access could have found by typing 'somniloquy usb network [ENTER]' in the text input field on the Google home page, that demonstrates my incompetency?

        Wow, either you've invented some new form of logic that is beyond the grasp of the rest of us or you just spewed out a non-sequitur which proves you're a lazy hypocrite. ( In the time it took you to write your reply one could have performed the aforem

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Almost the exact same story was posted on Monday, April 27 .

      May I recomend everyone begin submitting as many stories as they can find about cell phones being used to track traffic patterns. After all, /. has never posted a story about it. NEVER! Can you believe it?! It's amazing! Hopefully, one day they'll come to their senses, and post a story or two on the subject.

      You can read more here:

      http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/31/168228 [slashdot.org]

      http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/19/143247 [slashdot.org]

      http://slashdo [slashdot.org]

    • by sootman (158191)

      Actually, slashdot has had VERY few dupes in the last several months. It was always a joke, then it got REALLY bad for a while, but I'm here just as much as ever and I haven't seen a dupe in quite a while. Not like it used to be at all.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:04PM (#29125223)

    "Researchers at Microsoft"..."have developed"..."running embedded Linux"

    Um, was that a misprint or did hell just freeze over? Hasn't MS referred to Linux as a "virus", a "cancer", "un-American", a "patent violator", and "communistic"?

  • Awesome (Score:3, Funny)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:04PM (#29125225) Journal

    only waking the computer if, for example, an actualy IM is received or a download is completed."

    So now if my falling asleep leads to the computer falling asleep, it'll wake up to wake me up when it finished downloading.

    It sounds like a dislexic "Yo Dawg..."

  • "carry out more complicated tasks autonomously"

  • Now all we need is a network cable that can carry on the tasks of this NIC allowing it to sleep when it isn't busy, waking it when it needs to wake the main computer! Wait...
  • 'Round these here parts, we've had a device like that for years. We call it a network router.
  • So... (Score:2, Funny)

    .. does this mean my botnet can continue to spam folks even if they turn off their PCs? If so, this is a great feature!

  • so a lower cost ver of the killer nic?

  • If they'd only had this for Token Ring maybe one of its shortcomings wouldn't have hurt it so badly.

    (Yes, I know they were supposed to close a pass-through relay on power loss -- and how often somehow they didn't.)
    • I miss token ring you know, one of the great pleasures in life was to tell the boss/customer we had lost the token, and ask him to look around his office for it........

  • by golodh (893453) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:09PM (#29125303)
    It's funny how today's PCs continue to take architectural queues from earlier mainframe and minicomputer designs.

    Remember when your IBM mainframe had an array of special I/O processors? Well, the bus arbitrator on your motherboard looks suspiciously like one of those. And remember when disk arrays because "smart"? Well ... just looks at the electronics on the average SATA IDE drive and you'll see what I mean. It manages the hardware, and you only talk to the drive's on-board controller, never to the drive itself.

    And now this network controller. Pardon me, I mean network card.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recapitulation_theory

      It wasn't true in biology, but it is certainly true for computer design.

    • As long as my computer stays a PC, and not a "baby 36." Just typing those two numbers made my head hurt.
      • Just typing those two numbers made my head hurt.

        Why, between that and the AT-370 I had a perfectly working data centre in a box ;-)
        Of course, you had to know

        • JCL
        • 370 Assembler (without channel commands)
        • RPG-II (no RPG-III yet - that was for the S/38)
        • SSP

        But, it still was fun.

    • It's funny how today's PCs continue to take architectural queues from earlier mainframe and minicomputer designs.

      And fifos, and skip lists too!

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      And remember when disk arrays because "smart"? Well ... just looks at the electronics on the average SATA IDE drive and you'll see what I mean.

      Yeah, but to be fair IDE (the original) has been around- and even standard- for a long time now. It's not like this is something just coming back.

      Actually, I'm kind of surprised that a standard that was originally associated with the lower end of the hard drive market- and until recently still the mass-market favourite, its philosophy continued by SATA- is one based around each drive having its own "smart" electronics. You'd have thought that from a cost point of view that it would have been less favoured

    • It's funny how today's PCs continue to take architectural queues

      Yes, but modern PCs take them with no sense of priorities, so the queues just end up in a big heap instead of a neat, orderly stack.

      (I think you cued my inner grammar Nazi, and he didn't have to wait in a queue)

  • Check all your Ethernet connections, at all terminations, especially if you are a bank or R&D place. Has someone snuck a battery-operated Linux gumstick somewhere, transparently mimicking the MAC address at both ends of its traffic, secretly recording and transmitting all your traffic to a nefarious third source? You don't usually notice somebody ADDING something to your network -- of course, in the two seconds of downtime it took to insert it, you probably just thought it was a blip. Maybe you didn'

    • by amorsen (7485)

      Why run on battery when decent switches (used by banks...) have PoE available?

      • Why run on battery when decent switches (used by banks...) have PoE available?

        Because the switches and switch-router-NAT appliances marketed for use in homes or small businesses often aren't "decent switches", and because PoWLAN isn't yet available.

  • Much to the disdain of husbands around the world, women have known how to talk in their sleep for years! Perhaps they should hire a woman to do this?

    // Ducks! ;-)

  • both these nics are supposed to have this functionality.

  • NIC's with on board processors and off load for these types of applications have been on the market for several years.

    http://www.bigfootnetworks.com/products/ [bigfootnetworks.com]

    I think the only difference here is the operation while sleeping which could easily be done with a killer nic with firmware/driver changes

  • This sounds strangely familiar to a Dell Remote Access Controller [wikipedia.org], where it's basically a computer inside of your computer that interfaces with its various input and output buses and has its own NIC that's always powered on as long as the PSU(s) in the system have power. As long as the system is plugged in and the DRAC has an active network connection, the system can be accessed remotely no matter what state the physical system is in. I've performed many remote OS installs from 5 states away with these ni
  • by bughunter (10093) <bughunter&earthlink,net> on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:40PM (#29125689) Journal

    My first thought was "IMs? What about malware, etc?" In other words, a firewall on an embedded system in the NIC would be far more useful than something that lets your CPU sleep while you keep downloading porn.

    And then my second thought was "Great, another vulnerability for attack. Why hack someone's PC, which could have any configuration, when you can hack the monoculture of embedded processors in consumer NICs?"

    Either way, marketing this kind of NIC without addressing all of its security potentials/weaknesses would be hasty... and possibly even irresponsible.

    • marketing this kind of NIC without addressing all of its security potentials/weaknesses would be hastyPotential? All of them?

      Care to list a single operating system where all of its potential security issues and weaknesses were addressed before it was released into the marketplace?

      It'd be tempting to list OpenBSD, but even that has had (and probably still has) unknown security issues, both potential and realised ones.

      Actually, operating systems are highly complex. Let's go for something more tangible and a l

    • Either way, marketing this kind of NIC without addressing all of its security potentials/weaknesses would be hasty... and possibly even irresponsible.

      Seems to be working fine for Bigfoot. :P

      I don't think there's a huge number of vulnerabilities for an OS stripped down that much. The much reduced attack surface of the kernel and running applications will harden it to almost all exploits. Not all, but enough that it'll be rare to get hacked that way.

      After all, technically you can hack current NICs, but it's not every day that it happens. ;)

  • Does this wake the system up every time that 2GB has filled up then?
    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "Does this wake the system up every time that 2GB has filled up then?"

      yes, that's kinda the point, and you can probably increase the storage.
  • Is it just me? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuseLover (996311) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @04:42PM (#29125739)
    Is this scary technology? Now your system can become a true zombie on a botnet while asleep. Couldn't a virus/worm just wake your system up and infect it?
  • Sounds a lot like Lights Out Management [apple.com] eh. Seen this in Sun [sun.com] and HP [hp.com] too.

  • Though I can't cite an old /. post or other article, I was reading about a LAN adapter with embedded processor and RAM for download storage at least a year ago. I don't think it was early news of this same.

  • Management engine in the chipset has it's own IP stack and runs even when PC is off.

  • >The adapter, dubbed Somniloquy (meaning to talk in one's sleep) ... keeps the network connection going ...
    >also developed a simplified IM client and bittorrent client that carry out more complicated tasks
    >autonomously, only waking the computer if, for example, an ... IM is received or a download is completed."
    .
    "Talking in Your Sleep" -- The Romatics
    [...]
    I hear the secrets that you keep;
    When you're talking in your sleep;
    I hear the secrets that your keep;
    When you're talking in your sleep;
    .
    When I hol

  • perhaps today is the day Satan goes to work in a snow plow?, seriously though, is anyone else a little surprised at this?
  • Instead of putting a pig operating system to sleep on the main board, while a daughter card runs Linux, it's a lot simpler to just run Linux on the main board.

  • These people have successfully recreated the Linksys NSLU2. Yaayyy!

    Any moron can buy a Gumstix and install Linux and TorrentFlux. All it takes is a shell script to send a WOL packet to the snoozing storage PC, dump the files on it and put it back to sleep. Or you could just treat the whole thing as a torrent appliance, hook up a USB-adapted hard drive and cut the redundant desktop PC completely out of the picture.

    There's nothing newsworthy about "inventing" a seedbox that runs on miniaturized PC hardware

  • Servers already have "lights out" management processors that perform similar functionality.

Money is the root of all wealth.

Working...