Connecting your Xbox 360 to your home wireless network

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So you've got your X-box 360 or plan on getting one this holiday season. I can tell you that hooking up to Xbox live is an absolute must for 360 owners. Even if you don't plan on paying for a membership to Xbox live, you'll still have access to a lot of great online features. Probably the biggest difference between the membership that you have to pay for and the membership that is free, is that you get to play against other gamers with the paid membership but not the free one. With both of them, though, you'll be able to download the updates you need to play original X-box games, download trailers and demos for new games, keep a friends list with other gamers, send text messages, and a lot more. Xbox live also has weekends where they let everyone participate in online tournaments and download full versions of Xbox Live Arcade games for free.  Before we get ahead of ourselves though, we've got to get the game console connected to the Internet. The purpose of this article is to show you how to connect your Xbox 360 to a home wireless network.

Here's what you'll need to get started:
  • X-box 360 with a storage device (ie. internal or external hard drive)
  • Xbox 360 wireless network adapter
  • Wireless network router AND
  • Broadband (ie. cable or DSL) Internet connection
The first thing you need to do is get your wireless router connected to your cable/dsl modem or other high speed internet connection method. If you are already using a home wireless network, you can skip this paragraph. Your best bet is to follow the instructions that came with your router word for word. Here's a very basic synopsis of how a wireless router is set up to establish connectivity to a high speed internet connection...

  • Turn off your cable modem and your wired PC
  • Unplug the Ethernet cable from your cable modem and plug it into one of the four LAN ports on the back of the wireless router. The other end of the cable should remain connected to your PC.
  • Connect a second Ethernet cable between your modem's Ethernet port and the wireless router's WAN port. (The WAN port is separate from the four grouped LAN ports.)
  • Turn on the modem and wait for the status lights to indicate that it's connected to your service provider. This may take up to two minutes.
  • Plug in the router. The status lights will blink as it goes through its own diagnostics; this may also take up to a minute.
  • Boot up your wired PC.
Now you will need to configure the router to work with your PC and Internet connection. Again, this should be done exactly as the documentation that came with your router describes. This process varies depending on what brand of router you have. If you do not have the manuals, I strongly reccommend checking out the manufacturers website. Most of the major brands have pretty good technical documentation on their sites for router configuration. Here's a very basic solution for configuring a wireless router...
  • Open a web browser (ie. Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.)
  • In the URL or Address bar type in the IP address indicated in the guide or from the manufacturer's website. It should look something like 123.456.7.8.
  • Follow the on screen instructions making sure you give your wireless network a name, change the default password, and select WEP or WPA. If and when the setup gives you any kind of information such as a ten digit key, or requires you to select a password, make sure you write it down because you will need it when you configure your Xbox 360.
If you just set up your wireless router and have all the information mentioned in the above section written down, you may be able to skip this paragraph. Otherwise you will need to go to the administration or configuration page for your wireless router. If you don't know how to get to this information, see your router's manual for details or Google 'wireless router configuration' or something of that nature to find out how. Once you get there, you'll need to find and write down your wireless network name (SSID), channel, and the security key (WEP key or WPA passphrase) for your wireless network.

Now let's move on to the Xbox. Make sure that your system does not have a disk in the tray, and turn the power off. Now connect the USB connector of the Xbox 360 wireless networking adapter to the USB port on the back of the console. Do not use the front USB ports.
In the System area of the Xbox dashboard, select Network Settings. Select Edit Settings.From the Basic Settings tab, select Wireless Mode, (You may be asked to set the country you are in if you have not already done so.)  You should now see the network you just created (or your home network name if you already had a wireless network in place) displayed on the screen. Select it. (Note, If you do not see your network displayed, choose Specify Unlisted Network. Select the security type for the network, and then enter the wireless security settings for the network.) Now if your network is secured with a WEP key or WPA passphrase, you will have to enter your wireless security settings here. If your network is secured with a WEP key or WPA passphrase, enter your wireless security settings. Once the Xbox live is doing its thing, you will be prompted to test your new settings. Select Test Xbox Live.

That's it. You should now be able to connect to Xbox Live. If you're still having problems you may want to go back and double check your network settings. If that doesn't work, try calling 1-800-4MY-XBOX.
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