How to get an Xbox 360 to work with crappy hotel wireless?
December 17, 2007 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Any tips on getting an Xbox 360 to work with wireless hotel internet that requires signing in via a webpage? I'm looking for some sort of "wireless-to-wired bridge" that would let me sign on via my laptop and then leech internet with my 360.

I purchased an Xbox 360 tonight and realized that it doesn't have a built-in wireless adapter and my hotel room doesn't offer ethernet ports.

What's more, even if I had a wireless adapter for the Xbox, I don't think I would be able to use the hotel's wireless due to the sign-on page that requires authentication.

The solution I have in mind (though I'll entertain any) is a "bridge" that would let me sign in as usual on my laptop and then share the laptop's wireless internet with the Xbox's ethernet port. Any tips / advice on getting this to work?
posted by MrHappyGoLucky to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If your laptop has Windows XP on it then it already has this ability.

Right click on the Wireless connection in Network Connections in Control Panel and click on Properties. Then go to the Advanced tab and allow other computers to connect through the laptop.

Whether or not the right ports are open on the hotel network is another question.
posted by ODiV at 10:29 PM on December 17, 2007

Also, you'll probably need a crossover ethernet cable (or a hub/switch) to connect your laptop to the xbox.
posted by ODiV at 10:30 PM on December 17, 2007

Well, using your laptop as a bridge is one way of doing it (you connect to the hotel wireless network with the laptop and then connect the XBox to the laptop with an Ethernet cable), however I think there's another way. If you know the MAC address of the wireless adapter for the XBox (almost always printed on the bottom), you can set your computer up to "spoof" that MAC. Turn the XBox adapter off, connect up with your laptop and get through the portal page. Then turn the computer off and turn the adapter on.

Since they have the same MAC address, you don't want to ever have them connected at the same time, but the hotel's network will "see" them as being the same machine (generally -- there are other ways to authenticate but MAC-based ones are pretty common, although stupid for this reason) and let it through.

I did this once to get a computer online that was having problems with the hotel's idiotic portal page (IE only) and it worked like a charm. Whether it's more or less elegant than the bridge solution is up to you. Depends on the situation, I guess.

I have no idea how to do MAC spoofing on Windows, but since it's trivial on OS X and Linux I assume it must be possible.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:47 PM on December 17, 2007

I have no idea how to do MAC spoofing on Windows...

Here's how I would do it on my computer, it could be subtly different in the later steps depending on your network card. Go to the Control Panel - Network Connections - right click on your wireless network adapter - select Properties - under the General tab there should be a Configure... button, hit that - select the Advanced tab - select Locally Administered MAC address (this could be called something different in your wireless configuration, but it should be similar) - put the MAC address in the Value: box on the right - hit OK. After doing that, you'll lose your wireless connection (if you had one).
posted by philomathoholic at 11:53 PM on December 17, 2007

I carry around an apple airport express so I can surf from the bed or wherever I am in the hotel. Never been in a hotel where it doesn't work.
posted by iamabot at 12:26 AM on December 18, 2007

Uh, folks, MrHappyGoLucky does not have a wireless adaptor for his XBox.

You have to use some device as a wireless-to-wired bridge and the laptop is as good as any. I'd normally suggest that you get a crossover cable, but that page mentions that newer network cards can automatically do the right thing, so you may be able to hack it with a regular cable.

If you do have to use a crossover cable instead of a regular ethernet cable, try hitting a reputable electronics supplier in your area. Try getting a crossover adaptor rather than a full cable. Radio Shack has about a 30% chance of having one, because Radio Shack sucks!
posted by breath at 1:02 AM on December 18, 2007

if both ends of the connection are gigabit ethernet, then a regular network cable will work (no crossover cable needed with gig), but as far as i know, all xbox 360s come with 100mbit ethernet, so yeah, a crossover cable would be needed.
posted by jimjam at 1:34 AM on December 18, 2007

What operating system are you using?
posted by churl at 1:45 AM on December 18, 2007

I know at least under Windows Vista, no crossover cable is needed for ICS (internet connection sharing). That's how I hook up my 360 when not at home/borrowing a friend's wireless..

Looks like this.

Wireless router->(802.11g)Laptop->(ethernet/normal cat5)360.

Works like a charm. Seems to push up my ping marginally (<10ms) over a direct wired/wireless connection from 360 to router.
posted by SeanMac at 2:58 AM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Doh, can't believe I forgot to include my OS info. I'm currently using Windows XP SP2, but I have a new laptop arriving this week with Vista.
posted by MrHappyGoLucky at 5:59 AM on December 18, 2007

Also, you'll probably need a crossover ethernet cable (or a hub/switch) to connect your laptop to the xbox.

I didnt when I did this. Just an ordinary cable. Presumably windows or the hardware driver was smart enough to figure out what was going on.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:27 AM on December 18, 2007

Also be warned that a typical hotel's wireless system is a pretty big mess. Lots of connections, lots of interference, lots of dropped packets, and lots of latency. I'd be surprised if you could do any online gaming with it.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:29 AM on December 18, 2007

All the rest of the discussion is beyond me, but for what it's worth, two 360s linked directly to each other will automatically switch the signal as appropriate, so they don't need a crossover cable. Not sure if that would apply for a laptop-360 connection or not.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:03 AM on December 18, 2007

You can do this easily.

On XP as mentioned above: Right click on the Wireless connection in Network Connections in Control Panel and click on Properties. Then go to the Advanced tab and allow other computers to connect through the laptop.

On Vista: Right click on the wireless symbol in the systray (or go to control panel) -> Open Network and Sharing Center -> Manage connections -> highlight both your wired and wireless connection -> right click -> bridge connections (this may be under another 'properties' tab or something)

You shouldnt need a crossover cable, just plug your 360 into your laptop NIC and you're set.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:33 AM on December 18, 2007

If you ever feel like you want a wireless connection for your 360 I can tell you what I did. It may also allow you to deal with your hotel authentication issue, depending on how the hotel's wireless handles authentication.

I got myself a Buffalo wireless router and loaded DD-WRT onto it, then configured it into client mode. You won't be able to find Buffalos at the moment because of a lawsuit issue but DD-WRT runs on a lot of stuff.

I actually do this in several rooms of my house (with several Buffalo routers) since I can't have cables all over the place and it's cheaper and easier than putting wireless devices into/onto everything. Doing this allows you to plug any ethernet device into the DD-WRT device and have it automagically work.

I'm presuming that if the wireless doesn't authenticate with a cookie then you'd be able to agree to the terms in the captive portal with a laptop or other device and it'll thereby unlock access for the other wired devices also plugged into the DD-WRT device. If the hotel's authentication is by MAC address then you might need to tell the laptop to masquerade as the Xbox's MAC, authenticate, then disconnect and boot the xbox.
posted by phearlez at 12:42 PM on December 18, 2007

As far as I know you only have to forward ports to the 360 for access to media servers through WMC extender or WMP11, so he should be OK for gaming once he links through the lappy.
posted by prostyle at 12:51 PM on December 18, 2007

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