Wireless Gaming

Wireless Gaming

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In preparation for the biggest release in entertainment history - Halo 2 - I finally decided to buy a wireless bridge. The Linksys Wireless-G Game Adapter (WGA54G) seemed a little pricey at first glance, but after using it tonight I think it's well worth it. Not only should Wireless-G (802.11g) be around for a while, but the device was easily configurable.

In out-of-the-box setups, you should be able to hook the device up to your Xbox (or those other guys) with the provided Ethernet cable and be ready to obliterate people online. Not being the kind of person to accept default configurations, I followed the recommendations and attached and configured the device from my desktop. It was simple and in minutes (after exploring every possible setting in the UI) I had it connected to my Xbox.

But the excitement certainly didn't stop there. I wanted to see what the Xbox dashboard displayed in the network settings. Low and behold, not only did Xbox know it was on a wireless network but you can configure practically every settings on the game adapter right from within the Xbox dashboard. You can even set your WEP key strength and passphrase (which, of course, I use to help secure my network). At that point the price didn't seem so bad.

The small device (packaged in an over-sized box) is easily portable and you can flip a switch on the back to go use it on an infrastructure or create an ad-hoc wireless network with other 802.11b or 802.11g devices (they're interoperable; for the differences, read "Why Choose? A vs B vs G").

I suspect that Linksys isn't the only manufacturer to offer this level of integration with Xbox or other gaming consoles, but it's a brand with which I'm familiar and prefer. If you know of some other bridges to offer such integration please let me know below!

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  • Glad to see you went with the game adapter since we talked last. That's really cool that they display all the settings for the configuration right there. I have the Linksys wireless 802.11g broadband router and I've been really impressed with their quality.
  • WEP? No WPA? Bummer. I was considering using wireless when I get a broadband connection but I don't want to de-secure my whole WiFi network just for my Xbox.

    Bummer. I guess I'll be running those Ethernet cables after all.
  • The Linksys WRT54G and WAP54G support WPA, but not the WGA54G mentioned above. I mean, is it really that important to secure your game data that much? I'm more concerned about data on my desktop, but fortunately most of what comes across the wire is already encrypted between the server and my machine, i.e. it is not decrypted on the router, of course.
  • Unauthorized access to a WAP isn't always intentional and should carefully be considered.
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