Over the last 5 years online gaming has moved from being a specialty niche available only to hardcore gamers with deep enough pockets to afford a war-horse gamer PC to establishing a solid foothold in the mainstream market of console games.
Before you can enjoy this new online community and team up with or compete against others across the globe you’ll need to get your console connected to the internet and while some consoles like the Playstation 3 come with WiFi wireless abilities built in, Microsoft has still not seen fit to follow suit.
This means that if you are the proud owner of an Xbox 360 console, you have two options. You can…
a) Setup a Standard Network Connection by plugging one end of a basic CAT5 ethernet cable into your game console and the other into your home network router in order to gain internet access through your high speed connection. Of course if fishing long lengths of cable through walls and under floors is not your idea of a fun Saturday afternoon, then you’ll probably want to go with your second choice which is to…
b) Setup a Wireless Network Connection – many people already have a wireless router in their home which the use to connect their various home computers to the world wide web. If that’s the case for you, then you’ve already won half the battle of getting your system up and running on Xbox Live. Now all you need to do is get ahold of an wireless gaming adapter.
Most people will simply choose to pickup the Official Xbox Wireless Adapter from Microsoft, but before you do you’ll want to know that by shopping around (usually on the internet) you can get a wireless gaming adapter for a lot less…usually anywhere from 30-50% less to be exact.
Now to some this may not be much, but on the other hand if you’re a parent who just bought your kids a new Xbox 360 for a birthday or Christmas present and were a bit surprised that the one game your hard-working, struggling to get straight-A student wanted to play requires an internet connection, this extra cost may come with a bit of sticker shock!
That being said, there are Xbox 360 Wireless Adapters available from quality manufacturers like Pelican and Linksys that will get your 360 plugged into Xbox Live with the same speed as the more expensive brand-name version. Either way, the choice is yours.
Once you’ve got your wireless adapter in hand simply power off your Xbox 360 console and plug the adapter into the proper Port on the back of the system. The official adapter uses a USB connection and doesn’t require an external power adapter, but some of the other versions will need to be plugged into a power outlet as well. Once this is completed the last step is to power up the 360 console.
The Xbox is smart enough to search for a wireless signal and connect to the internet itself. From here all you need an Xbox Live subscription. Most of the console packages come with a free trial membership to Xbox Live, so that’s usually taken care of to get you started.
You should be on your way to online gaming nirvana and usually the only other thing to watch out for is Wireless Security Settings. Many families wisely secure their home wireless router with some type of encryption protocol. If you’ve done so then you’ll know what I’m talking about and SHOULD be able to recall where you’ve kept your encryption key. That’ll be good too because you’ll need to input that code into your Xbox console’s settings in order for your Xbox 360 wireless adapter to work properly.
One final tip is to try and position the console as close to the wireless router as possible. Too much distance between the wireless gaming adapter and the wireless gateway can result in game lag and even lost connection problems. Proper positioning can solve these types of issues before they even begin.