Is your Xbox 360 in a room far, far away from your broadband router, and you just don't have the cash to spend on the Xbox wireless adapter? You can get online easily by hijacking your laptop's wireless connection with the following tools:

  • Laptop with wireless connection to some access point (assuming a nice, stable connection to a network you own with internet access)
  • Internet Connection Sharing ENABLED! (this is disabled by some domain group policies, the setting is in the GPO Editor / Computer Config / Administrative Templates / Network Settings)
  • Crossover cable OR:
    • Ethernet patch cable x 2 (this is the normal kind of cable you use to connect a computer to the "Internets")
    • A hub, switch, or other multiport mechanism with at least two non-uplink ports (preferably not a router, because it may try to assign IPs and generally includes a lot of overhead)

And the steps to get it all connected (note, I am using Vista Business here, but the same or similar steps apply for other operating systems):

  1. Make sure your laptop has an active wireless internet connection, and you can get to an incredible website like www.live.com
  2. Fire up your hub or switch, and attach your two patch cables like this:
    1. One patch cable from your laptop's Ethernet port to Port 1 on your hub or switch
    2. One patch cable from your Xbox 360's Ethernet port to Port 2 on your hub or switch
      (Note, the port numbers are inconsequential, just don't use the uplink ports at all)
  3. Open up Control Panel / Network Connections. You should see an Unidentified Network or some such (the connection to your hub) and a Wireless Network Connection, both of which are connected.
  4. Bridge the two connections by selecting them both, right-clicking on one or the other, and clicking Bridge Connections.
  5. Windows will create a network bridge that will allow your 360 to use your laptop's wireless connection.
  6. Test your connection from the System tab / Network settings in your 360.

Note! If you need to download an update for Xbox Live, do it through the Xbox Live tab rather than the System Test tab, I had better luck there.

Big thanks to my friend Henry Hernandez who suggested this originally, he's the kind of smartypants who makes his own crossover cables.