Without an Xbox 360 wireless adapter, there’s no way to connect the console to the internet unless you run ethernet wires all throughout your house. No one wants cables strewn about the floor, especially in an age where wireless technology is so prominent.
That’s why one of the best things about the new Xbox 360 Slim consoles is that they include integrated wireless support. Unfortunately older Phat and Elite consoles do not include wireless technology built-in, which means users must either take advantage of an ethernet cord or connect the optional wireless adapter.
There are two completely different versions of the Xbox 360 wireless adapter, one for use with Wireless G type routers and another for use with Wireless N type routers.
Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter Features
Both Xbox 360 wireless adapter models are connected to the Xbox console via an available USB port, and can be set-up, operated and controlled via the Xbox dashboard. The Xbox 360 wireless adapter enables the console to take advantage of wireless internet support, which includes online gaming, media streaming, marketplace browsing and of course any other internet-ready features the Xbox 360 console offers. Of course to take full advantage of the Xbox 360 wireless adapter’s internet capability an active Xbox Live gold membership is required.
Ad-Hoc system link support is also available between Xbox 360 consoles that are connected by a wireless adapter, which means games that support local system link play can be taken advantage of even if the consoles are not connected through a physical cable.
The Xbox 360 wireless adapter (G) includes support for 802.11 a/b/g wireless networks. Microsoft claims the Wireless G network adapter provides support for up to twice the normal range of an a/b/g enabled router, which basically means the adapter can be used far from the wireless transmitter. Microsoft even claims the Xbox 360 wireless adapter is strong enough to operate in a “wireless congested environment”.
Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter (Wireless N)
The Xbox 360 wireless adapter (N) includes support for 802.11 a/b/g wireless networks, but what sets the Wireless N adapter apart from the other model is the fact that it supports N based connection networks as well. The Xbox 360 wireless adapter N is compatible with dual band 5GHz and 2.4Ghz wireless networks, which means it has a greater compatibility range.
The Xbox 360 wireless adapter N includes two antennas for increased connectivity, and is only available in black which is meant to match the new Xbox 360 Elite and Slim console models.
Wireless N technology is fairly new and is considered by many to still be experimental, which basically means the supporting software is still under development. Wireless N routers generally have a much wider signal range and provide faster transfer speeds for computer to computer file sharing, but have no confirmed speed changes relating to internet streaming and connectivity.
Of course, Wireless G is the current industry standard but realistically Wireless N will eventually be used more consistently, most wireless routers now support Wireless N signals.
Wireless N devices are compatible with Wireless G routers, which means users who purchase the Wireless N Xbox 360 wireless adapter will still be able to connect to home networks that utilize Wireless G signals – although the Wireless N adapter will only be able to use Wireless G signals and not the Wireless N standard.
Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter Availability
The original Xbox 360 wireless adapter G is not as readily available thanks to the introduction of the Wireless N adapter. Considering Microsoft now only sells and manufactures the Xbox 360 slim model there really is no need for the Wireless G adapter, especially since old Xbox Phat models are compatible with the newer Wireless N adapter. Thus it’s worth noting that when shopping for an Xbox 360 wireless adapter it doesn’t matter which model a user purchases unless of course they desire the increase in benefits from the Wireless N adapter (which the Wireless G adapter does not have).
More Information About The Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter
It is possible to use third party wireless adapters and wireless bridges with the Xbox 360 console but such accessories are not supported or endorsed by Microsoft.
The new Xbox 360 slim models include an integrated wireless adapter, so there’s no use for an external adapter; there is however a slight exception, the integrated slim adapter is only compatible with 2.4GHz networks which means if users want to connect to a 5GHz network they will still be required to invest in the external Xbox 360 wireless adapter. The Xbox 720 is also expected to include an integrated wireless adapter.
The cheapest place we found to purchase an Xbox 360 wireless adapter is Amazon. You can get the Xbox 360 wireless adapter (G) model for less than $70 and the Xbox 360 wireless adapter (G) model for less than $55 (at the time of writing).