With the rise in online console gaming, people have strung CAT5 from one end of the house to another in order to connect their consoles to their broadband connections (or more exotic combinations using a PC with a wireless and wired Ethernet cards, a hub, and internet sharing). While this is a workable solution, it is certainly not an ideal situation (most people don’t find long wires across their house aesthetically pleasing). This creates the problem of how to connect a console to an existing network without running wires through the house (either exposed wire or running new wires through the wall).
Over the last year and a half or so, wireless networking has really taken off. Using the 802.11b standard, people have been able to rid themselves of cables altogether. Simply plug in the wireless access point (or router), go through a quick setup, and you’re good to go. With a wireless card and a laptop, you can be connected anywhere in the house (or outside the house if you have a laptop or wireless PDA). This creates an ideal way to connect without wires but you need a way to marry the chocolate (console) to the peanut butter (wireless network).
The folks at Linksys realized that with an increased number of wireless networks, people might want to be able to hook up their consoles to them. Thus, the Linksys Wireless Game Adapter (WGA11B)
came to be. The WGA11B
allows you to connect your console to your existing WiFi network or connect to other consoles using the WGA11B
(a wireless direct connect if you will). This allows for some versatility in how you connect which is a nice little bonus.
The Wireless Game Adapter
comes with a short Ethernet cable (check size/rating), power adapter, and some add on feet for the WGA11B
. Setting up the WGA11B
is fairly painless. You simply connect your console to the WGA11B
with the Ethernet cable, plug it into the wall and then configure the WGA11B
to the correct mode (either by selecting the Infrastructure mode or one of the 11 other channels for direct connect mode). Once everything is hooked up you just turn on your console and you’re online (this is presuming your wireless and wired network is setup to give your console an IP address and allow it to connect out). If you have additional security for your wireless network, then you will need to use the tools on the CD-ROM to configure the device.
Once I had the WGA11B
configured correctly, my Xbox quickly picked up an IP address and logged into the Xbox Live service. I loaded up NFL Fever 2004
and logged into a game without any problems. The only problem I had after that was an occasional bit of lag but I don’t think it was the fault of the WGA11B
but more on a connection between myself and the person I was playing in New York.
All in all the WGA11B
is a solid product for the money. It retails around $80 or so but you can probably find it cheaper online. Linksys also makes a 802.11g Wireless Game Adapter for those of you with the higher speed 802.11g wireless networks but I’m not sure you’ll see much difference in performance.
All in all the WGA11B
is a solid little device and it helps to reduce cable clutter. That’s a good thing. Even if you don’t have a wireless network now, you might want to consider setting one up with the price of wireless access points and routers dropping on a weekly basis.
If you have an existing WiFi connection and want to hook up your console to your broadband connection, the WGA11B is a great way to do it.
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