Behold the fruits of the Somniloquy project, whose intent is the create augmented network interfaces that allow computers to keep talkin' after they've gone to sleep.
The team built a small USB-connected hardware and software plug-in system that allows a PC to remain in sleep mode while continuing to maintain network presence and run well-defined application functions. It supports instant messaging applications, VoIP, large background web downloads, peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as BitTorrent, and remote access. The computer scientists say their system is easily extensible to support other applications.
All it needs now is a cocktail umbrella.