Xbox 360 Wireless Networking

There’s some confusion around the appropriate steps to take in adding an Xbox 360 to a home network with optimal results. In an ideal universe, connecting an Xbox 360 with a wired connection is the best course of action. Wired connections generally guarantee close to 100Mbps per machine across a local area network. Wireless networking is significantly less reliable, with things like cordless phones and microwave ovens operating on the same frequency as the 802.11b and 802.11g standards.
802.11a is the standard Microsoft is recommending, but it’s not necessary. My own home network is segmented with an Xbox 360 on one 802.11g access point and all other wireless devices are on a second 802.11g access point. My wired Media Center successfully streams the 1080p HD content available from Microsoft’s WMV HD Showcase without any hiccups.
If you currently live in an 802.11b wireless network world, it’s definitely time to upgrade. 802.11b results in lousy streaming of audio using Windows Media Connect and most of the existing hardware won’t support the WPA security standard you should be using to protect your network. If you live in a house like mine, with one portable machine stuck with onboard 802.11b, you definitely want to segment your 802.11b traffic from the Xbox 360 802.11g traffic to prevent a slowdown in gaming or streaming performance.
Read on for tips on segmenting your wireless network

Troubleshooting Wireless Networks

Joe writes, I have a Linksys “B” game adapter. Try as I might I can’t get it to work on my “G” wireless network. The router is configured correctly, the WEP encryption is configured on both the router and the game adapter correctly. I am at a loss. Do you have any suggestions on how to make the network “see” the game adapter?
I tend to sit in the camp that believes if it is configured correctly, it’s already working. 😉 Networking is always a tricky proposition, especially when you are trying to get a handful of components using slightly different standards to all play nice. If it’s in your budget, the easy solution is to dump the 802.11b game adapter and purchase an 802.11g game adapter. Using 802.11b devices on a network with a bunch of 802.11g devices slows down the network for all the other devices on the network, which doesn’t really help network performance for everything else. Gaming is almost always better with higher network speeds, which is why hardcore gamers swear by wired connections over wireless. If upgrading isn’t an option, there are a number of configuration options on your router to verify: