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ARD client causes insomnia
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ARD client causes insomnia

This all started a few weeks ago when I noticed that one of my machines would no longer go to sleep (monitor or machine) after it had been idle for awhile. The screen saver wouldn't even activate on it's own. After some testing, I realized that it only happens when ARD access is enabled in the sharing prefs. I did some more testing, including clean installs of 10.4 and upgrading the ARD client to 3.1. Nothing seemed to fix the problem. Then I discovered another way to allow the computer to sleep without disabling ARD. I just have to disconnect the network cable. This obviously isn't a practical solution.

I started monitoring network traffic and noticed numerous connections to port 5900. I typically can't go more than 10 minutes without a new connection attempt. This traffic seems to be the cause of the insomnia. If I block TCP access to port 5900 using a hardware firewall, the machine will go to screen saver and then sleep on schedule. Again, this is not a practical solution because I need to control this particular machine via ARD from outside my LAN. Port 5900 needs to remain open to the outside world.

I'm not sure if the traffic on port 5900 is people trying to connect with VNC or something else. I don't have VNC access enabled. There doesn't appear to be anything sent from the source like I see if I try to connect with a VNC client. I can replicate the behavior by making a telnet connection to port 5900 from another computer and then just disconnecting. All I see is my machine's response, "RFB 003.889".

Since I discovered the cause of the problem, I have been able to replicate the insomnia on other Macs running 10.3 and 10.4 with ARD client (version 2 or 3) enabled. It seems to be easily reproducible. I imagine most people don't notice it because they don't allow connections on port 5900 from outside their LAN. I've searched the mailing list archives and the discussions and I can't find any reports of this problem. I can't think of a good way to block this nuisance traffic without blocking ARD, except for maybe blocking the source IP addresses. So far I've collected over 20 so I don't think this is an ideal solution. To me, it seems like a bug in ARD or OS X. I can't think of any reason why this should keep the screen saver from activating or the computer from sleeping. Does anyone have a suggestion?
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