Friday, July 10, 2009

Never use this device.

So, I, like many others, own an Xbox 360 and, not dissimilar to others Xbox 360 owners, have a Gold Membership with Xbox live (Referred to as XBL from here on in). There are many ins and outs to XBL, but I won't discuss that now as it is neither here nor there. I don't, however, have my TV anywhere close to my home internet router, and this becomes a problem in many ways, and I shall discuss how I've attempted to solve those problems.

As many should know, Microsoft sells their own wireless device for the Xbox 360 (Referred to as 360 from here on in). This device is very expensive and, although it is very useful and functional, I don't really have $100 to throw away for a little tiny plastic wireless adapter for my 360. This becomes a problem because I want to play online and take advantage of my Gold Account, which I received as a gift, but I don't have the capital needed.

Ah-Ha, I take to the internet for something similar and much less expensive. Sadly I found nothing at first and so, for months, I searched for an easy way. Alas I found a wireless adapter made for the 360 by one of my favorite manufactures: Pelican. I was happy and amazed at it, since the price was an easy $40-$50 off of the Microsoft adapter. I was saved, or so I thought.

For a while this device worked very well and I was happy. A few notes for what I didn't like at that moment and time. The UI isn't user friendly. Not that it isn't easy to use, but the instructions on how to get to it and then modifying it was complicated. Not for a geek or someone highly computer literate such as myself, but for the average Joe, it wasn't an everyday task or an easy one at that. The process involves changing several settings for your LAN connection, after replacing the connection with Pelican's Adapter (because it used an Ethernet cord to connect to the 360), and then connecting to it with a browser window. This isn't new for anyone who has ever set up a router, but not everyone knows what they're doing and, before you know it, changing one number means a world of confusion. That was my only real vexation with it, and I wasn't even directly affected by it.

Now, I used the Pelican Wireless Adapter for a few months, or an month I don't remember, and it was good. Ever now and again a connection would go weak or drop, but that's not too distant from what I expected from any wireless connection, especially one that was so far away from the access point. However, not too long after that, the adapter stopped working on me. I did nothing to it, it hadn't moved from the time I first configured the settings and I hadn't touched it at all, but it ceased to work.

My first thought were "It's fine, nothing a power cycle couldn't fix" and so I powered it down, waited about a minute and then powered it up. After around four or five minuter, more than the suggested boot time, I tried to connect to XBL. Nothing. I couldn't even connect to my network and nothing was happening. I waited a little more in case there was a bizarre case of it booting incorrectly and then rebooting on its own. Unlikely, but I waited for a very large amount of time (I was washing dishes) and tried again. Nothing once more.

My second though was "Perhaps the configuration was lost in the power cycle" and so I moved the adapter to my computer and opened the settings. Nothing had changed. Every setting was the same from when it had been first set. The device had obviously booted as well since I had opened the settings and could change the configuration. I was boggled and annoyed.

My third though was "Okay, so maybe it fixed itself just now" and, without testing it from my computer first, I moved it back to my 360. I booted it and waited a few minutes before trying. Upon my soul this device then took a shit. I still could not connect. I didn't know what was wrong and all of my immediately useful remedies didn't work and so I consulted the internet again. I came up empty for any answers and there have never been any updates to the firmware, at least none that I found.

My final thought was "Fuck this shit" and so I restored to factory defaults and reconfigured the device for my home network once again. I even tried it from my computer this time. I got nothing, but for shits and giggles (By this time I had had zero giggles left in me) I hooked it up to my 360.

So, in the end, after having and using this adapter for quite some time and spending a good amount of time trying to fix it (I left out the two or three other power cycles, the three or so times I went back and forth from 360 to computer trying to get the settings right, and restoring it two more times), I can say that you should not buy it. I don't know what I got wrong or what I did (or didn't do) to break it, but in the end it was a waste of money. I suggest that if you own a laptop to bridge connections from its wireless to its LAN for your 360 and you can find out how to do that elsewhere on the internet.

P.S.: I still am not going to waste my money on Microsoft's adapter.

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