Review: Microsoft – Wireless N Network Adapter for Xbox 360


The Microsoft – Wireless N Network Adapter for Xbox 360 (PHD-00001) pictured below:


provides wireless connectivity between your XBox 360 console and your home wireless network.  It’s wireless N compatible and is also backward compatible with 802.11a, b, & g.  If you don’t have a wireless-N adapter, you won’t get the high speed benefits of this device.

This device is designed specifically for an XBox 360 console.  It’s not likely going to work with anything else, though I’ve not yet tried it on a PC.  Microsoft certainly won’t provide any technical support if you’re trying to use it on a PC or anything other than an XBox 360 console.


I haven’t tested the actual throughput of this device yet, but I did run a speed test using the XBox’ 360’s Media Center speed test.  In prior tests with an 802.11g wireless adapter (also from Microsoft), the speed test shows speeds about halfway between what’s needed for SD (Standard Definition) TV video and HD (High Definition) TV video.  All my video tests with prior networking came up short when trying to play HD content.  It always started skipping both the audio and the video.  SD video was always good.  With the new 802.11n wireless adapter, the graph for the MediaCenter test spiked up well above the HD line and capped at the very top of the graph.  This was good news.

I then played some actual HD video by streaming it from my PC upstairs to my XBox 360 through the wireless N network.  The results were mixed.  Video that I had recoded after editing in Windows Movie Maker for Vista played well, with an occasional frame rate drop when the action was rapid.  But, when playing video files that were dumped directly from my HD camcorder to the hard drive, the video would either hang or the frame rate would drop to very low rates.  For example, for Knoxville’s Boomsday fireworks show, it looked like it was down to about 5 to 10 frames per second (when normal video is about 30 fps).  It’s still a major improvement, but still not capable of playing the full HD content from my camcorder.

Ease of set up:

If it hadn’t have come with set up instructions and a set up DVD, it would have been much simpler to set up.  The instructions said to insert the disc, power off the XBox 360, then power it back on, then follow the installation instructions, then hook up the wireless controller.  When I inserted the disc into my XBox 360, it simply said there was a mixed media disc in it.  After shutting down and starting back up, same thing.  There was no software installation and nothing happened.  So, I simply just plugged in the new wireless N adapter and it just worked.  Granted, I had already set up my XBox 360 console with the older XBox 360 wireless adapter, so my console already knew the name and password to my wireless network.  The only set up I needed was to detach the old adapter and attach the new one.


This product retails for $99, but Best Buy had it on sale for $89.  You’re not likely to find it anywhere else for a better price.  XBox 360 hardware generally is always sold at full retail.  If you can find it on sale, that’s the time to get it.  It’s a rare event.


I can’t imagine this would provide much (if any) benefit for gaming though.  I use my XBox 360 console for showing home videos by archiving all of my home videos on my primary PC and streaming them to my big TV downstairs using the 360’s Media Center Extender capability.  Most people aren’t aware of this feature and it’s a highly underused and great feature.  If you’ve got a Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC (or an older Windows XP Media Center PC), you can use that PC to host and archive all of your digital media (videos, music, photos).  Your XBox 360 (as well as the original XBox) is a Windows Media Center Extender, which means, it can connect to a Windows Media Center PC and stream the content strait from your PC to your TV.  This makes it MUCH easier to show your home videos.  You don’t have to mess with finding and hooking up your cables, finding the right tape, pulling out your camcorder, etc…  It’s essentially Video On Demand for your own stuff.

If you don’t have HD content to show, then this XBox 360 wireless N adapter probably won’t provide you any benefits over the older adapter.  But, if you’re buying a new adapter, this is definitely the one to get because it’s the same price as the older one, so you might as well get this one.  I’m not even sure the older one is sold by Microsoft anymore.


If you don’t already have wireless networking for your XBox 360 console and you need it, this is the adapter to get.  If you already have wireless connectivity with your XBox 360 console and it works just fine and you don’t shoot home videos in HD yet, you won’t see any real benefits with this higher speed adapter.

I recommend this product if you meet any of the following:

  • You don’t already have wireless connectivity and you need it.
  • You already have slower, wireless connectivity, but you have now or plan to have in the future, HD video content.

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