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Take Your Xbox Online
Written By: Kevin Viveiros

One of Xbox's biggest features is its built in network card, which will support online play for many games. Microsoft plans to bring up its online network up during the summer of 2002. Unreal Championship and Tony Hawk 3 will probably be two of the first games to be launched with online play. But, what if you canít wait that long? Well the people at http://www.xboxgw.com and http://www.gamespy.com have your solution.

These programs offered take advantage of the Xbox's networking option. The network card built into the Xbox allows you to set up a LAN (local area network). Basically, that means you can connect up to 4 Xbox's together for a true gaming experience. So how does this relate to online play? It's quite complicated actually. But what these programs do basically is create an Ethernet bridge between 2 or more Xbox's. This tricks your Xbox into thinking it is on the same network as the other Xbox, when in fact they could be thousands of miles away.

So what's the catch? The equipment needed for this may be too pricey for most users. First of all, a broadband connection is a MUST for online gaming. Xbox LAN games have to transmit a large amount of data when operating, and a simple 56k modem can not keep up. Secondly, you need at least one network card in your computer. If your modem can connect through a USB port, then that's all you need (Note: Currently only Gamespy supports USB modems). However, if your modem is not USB, you will need a second network card or a hub. The hub allows you to share Internet access with your Xbox.

Another problem is that it only works with games that support link play (Note: you can check if a game supports it by checking the back of the box of that game). Currently only 3 games support link play: Halo, Tony Hawk 2x, and Nascar Heat 2002. Lag (amount of time it takes for packets of data to travel to the other Xbox/pc) can also be a problem. However, if you have a fast connection and the people you are playing with are also fast, the lag time is virtually unnoticeable.

This solution is NOT for everyone. But for the people who can't wait until 2002 for online play and have some tech background, then this is the perfect solution. However, if you're not a techie but still want to play online, don't be afraid by all the technical terms used. Gamespy has good instructions on how to set up your Xbox for online play. Either way, itís still a big bonus to Xbox gamers.

Posted: 1-09-02

 


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