CAE Agent is active once its installation is complete and it will attempt to contact the CAE server specified during installation, immediately. If the CAE server is not available, CAE Agent retries until it succeeds. This behavior is configurable via install.ini.
Look for ZTIMEQ related statements in install.ini. Agent install process creates multiple objects, one of the objects is ZTIMEQ.EDM - the object that stores TIMER defintions. You may modify the default timer definition in install.ini and then install the Agent. For Agents that are already installed the default timer must be running anyway but the connect will fail each time since the CAE Server is not available.