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Connecting Your PlayStation, Wii, or Xbox 360 to a Windows 7 Home Network

1 of 6 in Series: The Essentials of Home Network Gaming

Connecting your PlayStation, Wii, or Xbox 360 console to your Windows 7 home network and a broadband Internet connection can help you take your gaming prowess to the next level. Gaming consoles can also be used for Web surfing, e-mail, movie watching, and more.

A network connection also allows you to download and install firmware (system software) upgrades for your console, keeping it up to date and adding the latest features to the console.

Don’t even bother setting up your gaming console for online gaming if you don’t have a broadband Internet connection. In fact, many games (and some of the gaming consoles) require a broadband Internet connection to play online.

Connecting your gaming console to a wireless home network is relatively simple. Keep in mind the following points when considering this option:

  • The Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 have built-in Wi-Fi networking capabilities.

  • All but the newest version of the Microsoft Xbox 360 requires an Xbox 360 Wireless N Networking Adapter. If you have the latest and greatest Xbox 360 console, it has built-in 802.11n wireless networking.

  • The Sony PlayStation 2 and original Microsoft Xbox both have built-in Ethernet ports for a wired network connection, but you’ll need to buy specialized wireless adapters to connect either of these systems to a wireless network.

  • If you have an older-generation gaming console, you may need to purchase a Wi-Fi Ethernet bridge to connect it to your wireless home network. A bridge simply bridges the connection between a device’s Ethernet port and a wireless access point.

    If you have encryption (such as WPA) set up on your wireless network, you’ll need to plug your bridge into a wired connection first to enter the security settings in order for it to access your wireless home network. Just follow the installation wizard or quick setup instructions that are included with your Wi-Fi Ethernet bridge.

    Two examples of Wi-Fi Ethernet bridges are the D-Link DGL-3420 Wireless 108AG Gaming Adapter and the SMC SMCWEBT-G EZ Connect g Wireless Ethernet Bridge.

Not all Wi-Fi Ethernet bridges support WPA encryption. If you’re using WPA on your wireless home network, make sure you choose a Wi-Fi Ethernet bridge that supports WPA.

If you happen to have a wired Ethernet connection (CAT 5e or CAT 6 cable running into a wall outlet where you’re setting up your console), you can just plug the console into the network with an Ethernet patch cable. Just choose the “wired” instead of “wireless” option when setting up a wireless connection. If your console is a Nintendo Wii, you’ll have to buy Nintendo’s Wii LAN Adapter and plug that into a USB port on your Wii to make an Ethernet connection.

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