Product Type: Microsoft in Wireless LAN
Newest Review: ... FIFA against me!!! And so I took the plunge and managed to find one of these online for £34.99. On looking further, it would seem you can... more
Wireless. User friendly. Reliable. Expensive.
Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter
Member Name: CrazyJamie
Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter
Date: 27/02/09, updated on 27/02/09 (261 review reads)
Advantages: Works well. Easy to set up. Looks good with the console.
Disadvantages: It's expensive, and there are cheaper options out there.
Technology is advancing at a quickening rate nowadays, and games consoles are a prime example of this advancement. What were once simple items that just played games have now become multimedia powerhouses with huge hard drives and many extra features. Given that one of these features is the ability to play online against other gamers, it was somewhat inevitable that wireless networking would be introduced to the next generation consoles. And indeed it has. If you're feeling a little left out because your Xbox 360 isn't wireless out of the box, and you don't have the desire to run an ethernet cable through your home in order to wire your Xbox 360 to a router, then this simple but functional product will shove your console into the age of wireless. Given the simplicity of the product, I thought it would be easier to give potential buyers a bit of an FAQ rather than run down the features (there really is only one feature after all).
HOW EASY IS IT TO INSTALL?
Very easy. The wireless adapter itself literally clicks on to the back of the console. There is a space for it already there. The cable is a straightforward USB connection (as seen on the picture for the product) that also just slots in to the back of the 360 when the router is in place. It's incredibly straightforward and will take a matter of seconds. As for installation, the adapter doesn't need installing as such. Your 360 will automatically detect it and start using it, detecting wireless networks instantly. All you need to do is to go to Edit Network settings on the Dashboard, scroll to the third segment of the screen (the bottom segment), and choose your wireless network from the list (if there's more than one on there). Then insert your WEP/WPA key (if you only have WEP I'd recommend changing it to WPA, it's more secure, but that's beside the point). It'll then ask you to test your connection, which you should do, and everything should come back completed. A green light will then pop up on the back of the adapter and you're good to go. The whole process should only take five to ten minutes.
WILL IT ALWAYS WORK? HOW RELIABLE IS IT?
Like with any product, there are faulty adapters out there. However, chances are the issue is not with the adapter, as it is overall a very reliable piece of kit. Double check that your WEP/WPA key has been entered correctly, and ensure that you have at least a half decent signal. Though problems with this product are rare, there are many possible issues that could arise in any given situation. No room to address them all here (unless you want to be reading this review all day, so I'd suggest Googling them. Nearly all have solutions.
IS IT GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY?
This is the one area where the product falls down, and is why I've knocked a star off. You can pick one of these up for roughly £50, with Amazon currently doing it for a few pounds less. Frankly, there are cheaper alternatives to this if you want to play online wirelessly with your 360. You can actually use the original Xbox wireless adaptor with your 360, and whilst it may look a little ugly, you should be able to find one second hand for a much more reasonable price. You can also bridge the connection through another computer or laptop as well, though I'm not going to go into detail about doing that here because I don't want this review to become an exhaustive manual, but it's nice to be aware of the alternatives.
WILL IT WORK WITH ALL ROUTERS, INCLUDING THE BT HOMEHUB?
Though everyone is concerned about compatibility, people do tend to be more concerned with Bt HomeHubs than anything else these days. For clarification, this product works fine with BT Home Hubs. I've used it with one in the past and had no issues at all. In fact, I've used it with a variety of routers (Netgear and Belkin included) and never experienced problems. Currently there are no known common compatibility issues with more modern routers, so there's no reason to fret over compabitibility.
DO I REALLY NEED WIRELESS?
If you can connect your 360 with a wire without inconveniencing yourself, then wired is always better than wireless. It is more reliable and you will generally also get quicker download speeds and less lag, which is always a benefit. Only go for a wireless connection if a wired connection is not possible or practical.
DO I NEED TO BUY A WIRELESS ROUTER WITH THIS?
Yes, you do. This is just a wireless adapter, and does not provide mobile broadband like the dongles and subscriptions you can get for laptops. You still need an internet connection in your house, with a wireless router connected to the phone line to use it.
IF MY 360 OVERHEATS, WILL THE ADAPTER MELT?
No, it won't. Obviously there are faulty adapters out there, but most of the time issues with the 360 overheating are just issues with the 360, and are not caused by the adapter. The adapter is place on the console at the top on the back (when vertical), so the heat that escapes the console from the bottom does not affect it.
Hopefully the above review has addressed the most common concerns and answered the most common questions. Overall, this is a fantastic product that works exactly as it should, and depending on your circumstances (i.e. whether you need your 360 to be wireless) this will serve you well. It is aesthetically pleasing, and is extremely easy to set up. It gets four stars rather than five because realistically it is a touch pricey, and there are cheaper alternatives. Those opting to go for the product will not be disappointed though, as it offers functionality combined with ease of use.
Summary: A great product, just overpriced.
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