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
Bring Wireless Connectivity to the Xbox 360
Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter
Member Name: Craggybuk
Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter
Advantages: No need for wires. Reliable
Disadvantages: Over inflated cost.
It is hard to believe that in this day and age where wifi internet connections are the norm, that the Xbox 360 console, does not ship with a built in wireless network adapter. The Playstation 3 has this built in and even the Wii manages it too, so why have Microsoft decided to omit it from the Xbox? In my opinion, the answer is simple, it is hard work to bridge a connection from your laptop and the majority of Xbox users will not have their console in close proximity to their router. Therefore, the only other alternative is to spend £60 and buy the Microsoft Wireless network adapter. Microsoft have been cute here, there are plenty of wireless USB wifi internet dongles on the market, all retailing for considerably less than the £60 Microsoft are asking, however, none of these will work with the Xbox, meaning the only choice you have is to purchase Microsoft's official adapter. I was a bit reluctant to buy this item as I felt I was being forced down a one way street by Microsoft but my daughter was getting fed up of me borrowing her laptop to bridge the connection each time I wanted to play online so I had no choice but to take the plunge.
Installation of the adapter could not be simpler. With the Xbox turned off, plug the adapter into a spare USB socket and its job done, it really is that easy. The adapter clips nicely onto the back of the Xbox to prevent it from getting damaged. This literally was a 20 second job and is not too taxing for anyone with limited technical know-how. The final stage of the installation requires you to turn on the console, on doing this, the Xbox will know you now have the wireless adapter installed and take you through a series of screens in order to connect with your network. If you have a secure network, you will need to know the security key or passphrase at this stage. Once you have provided this information then the Xbox will attempt to connect to its Live servers to confirm a connection has been made. Although I was able to connect after going through this setup, my Xbox was still complaining about being able to get through fully. After some googling and reading of forums, I found out that I had to forward some ports from my router to the Xbox in order to make a full connection. Although the solution to this problem goes outside of the scope of this review, anyone can contact me if they are having a similar problem.
The Xbox wireless adapter supports the 2 main wireless encryption protocols, namely WEP and WPA. My wireless network was originally on WEP encryption but the Xbox adapter was struggling to get a decent signal so I changed to WPA and got an almost perfect signal although it is worth mentioning that the encryption protocol shouldn't normally make a difference to signal strength. You could of course, connect wirelessly with no encryption if your wireless network was set up this way, but I would advise against this as anyone in the vicinity could use your network.
I have been really impressed with the stability and signal quality of my wireless adapter in the four months I have been using it. The connection has never dropped and lagging has been kept to a minimum. As well as playing online games, video streaming is also seemless and can normally be viewed without the need to constantly wait for the content to be buffered.
£60 is a lot of money to spend on functionality that the other leading consoles provide for free, to be honest I still feel it is unfair of Microsoft to expect users to shell out for this, plus another £40 to purchase an Xbox live membership. Although the adapter is a godsend as it means that you don't need wires trailing all over the floor, I would shop around and see if you can get it cheaper or included in a games bundle.
Summary: Costs too much but it really is a must buy item.
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