Wireless Adapters for Game Consoles

Older Gaming Consoles Lack Wireless Connectivity

With Wi-Fi support built-in to newer versions of the Xbox and PlayStation consoles, you're left with needing to purchase a wireless network adapter in order to connect your older system to a wireless network.

However, you can't use just any network adapter; only certain kinds work with video game consoles. Usually, a short cable connects these adapters to the console, and the adapter is what enables the device to reach the wireless network.

With a wireless gaming adapter, you can put your console basically anywhere in your house and not have to worry about laying cable across the room or behind the walls. Wireless access not only gives you online access for games but also local network access for streaming media files and one-on-one wireless gameplay.

Keep in mind that some of these products are discontinued (and they're noted as such below). This means you might not get any support from the official manufacturer, but it does not mean that they don't work or that you can't buy them.

First released in 2009, this version of Microsoft's wireless adapter for Xbox supports both 802.11a (for the few people who would need it) and the 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi family.

It's designed to plug into the USB port on the back of the console. The adapter draws its power through the USB connection and therefore does not need to be plugged in to a separate power source.

As you can see from the picture, this Wi-Fi gaming adapter has two antennas for maximum range.

With support for WPA2 security, it's definitely recommended over some of these other adapters listed below that only support WEP.

Another wireless gaming adapter that lets your Xbox 360 reach a wireless network is this one from COOLEAD. It supports 802.11a/b/g/n networks and allows for WPA2 encryption.

The two antennas lay down for easy storage and looks almost identical to the Microsoft adapter above. 

Just plug the USB end of this Wi-Fi adapter to the console to enable wireless capabilities.

Released in 2005, this older Microsoft adapter installs and functions similarly to the newer model (see above) but lacks 802.11n support.

However, the unit does support WPA Wi-Fi security, and it's cream-colored case matches that of older 360 consoles.

The Linksys WGA54AG (pictured) connects to the Ethernet port of an Xbox, PlayStation or GameCube. As the name suggests, the Linksys WGA54AG supports both 802.11a and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi networks.

One great thing about this adapter is that it will automatically change the network and channel it's using if there's a network that has better signal strength. This isn't usually a concern in home networks where only one network is set up, but it might be useful for some.

The company also produced a similar WGA54G model that does not include 802.11a support. Unlike other products in this category, however, the WGA54AG and WGA54G support only WEP encryption, making them unsuitable for most wireless networks.

These products are discontinued but still available for purchase in various places.

Belkin's 802.11g gaming adapter networks an Xbox, PlayStation or GameCube via Ethernet cable. You can additionally connect it to the console via USB to substitute for a separate power cord.

If necessary, upgrade the adapter's firmware to get WPA support. The F5D7330 ships with Belkin's lifetime warranty.

Though not labeled as a game adapter, network bridges like the WET54G connect any Ethernet device like a game console to a wireless home network.

This unit supports 802.11g with WEP/WPA encryption. The product also supports a Power over Ethernet (PoE) adapter which eliminates the need for electrical cables.

Otherwise, the WET54G is functionally similar to the WGA54AG from above.

Microsoft's Wireless G (802.11g-only) adapter for the original Xbox perfectly matches the console's look, and with an internal and external antenna, it should be able to connect anywhere in the house.

This adapter connects to the Xbox's Ethernet port and works as a general-purpose network bridge, which means it can actually be used with other consumer electronic products too, including newer Xbox consoles.

Being an older product, however, it only supported WEP encryption and is therefore not recommended for general use.

Microsoft has discontinued this product.

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