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XBox Live FAQ by AvantLegion
Version: 0.1 | Updated: 12/05/2002
X B O X L I V E Frequently Asked Questions By: *Legion* E-mail: email@example.com Gamertag: AvantLegion Version 0.1 To ask questions, or make corrections, e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org Contents: 1. What is XBOX LIVE? 2. What do I need to use XBOX LIVE? 3. How is XBOX LIVE different from XBConnect/GameSpy Tunnel? 4. How fast of a connection is needed to use XBOX LIVE? 5. Will AOL Broadband work with XBOX LIVE? 6. I heard that there's a way that you can connect to XBOX LIVE with a 56k. Is this true? 7. Will ISDN work for XBOX LIVE? 8. Can I use XBOX LIVE with my college dorm room Ethernet connection? 9. How do I hook my cable/DSL modem up to my XBOX? 10. I have a USB modem. How do I connect it to my XBOX? 11. What ports need to be opened for my proxy/firewall? 12. When setting up XBOX LIVE, I get an error (IP Not Confirmed, or DNS Not Resolved, or XBOX LIVE Not Found) 13. How do I find my PC's MAC address? 14. Do I need a credit card to sign up for XBOX LIVE, and why? 15. Can I change my GamerTag? 16. I'm on cable/DSL and I get lag... 17. Why doesn't XBOX LIVE use 56k? It's so unfair for Microsoft to leave us dial-up users out! 1. What is XBOX LIVE? XBOX LIVE is Microsoft's online service for the XBOX console. 2. What do I need to use XBOX LIVE? You need: (1) An XBOX (2) A broadband Internet connection (cable/DSL/etc - NO dial-up) (3) An XBOX LIVE Starter Kit 3. How is XBOX LIVE different from XBConnect/GameSpy Tunnel? XBOX LIVE is a fully-featured online gaming service. XBConnect and GameSpy Tunnel are basically "hacks" that allow you to play games that use the "system link" feature over the Internet. These games are often laggy when multiple players are in a game, as the total bandwidth over broadband is less than that of a network. Halo, for instance, can rarely be played on XBConnect or GameSpy with more than 2 or 3 players. Big differences between the two: * There are MANY more games compatible with XBOX LIVE than with XBConnect/GameSpy. * XBOX LIVE features voice chat, friends list, OptiMatch game matchup, and other features. * XBOX LIVE games are made to run smoothly over XBOX LIVE. System link games can be VERY laggy on XBConnect/GameSpy. There are others, and I can make a bulleted list of every minute point that goes on forever, but these ought to be enough. XBOX LIVE is a service with a ton of games and good gameplay speeds. XBConnect and GameSpy are hacks with a few games and plenty of lag for your troubles. 4. How fast of a connection is needed to use XBOX LIVE? A: According to www.xboxfaq.info (quoted from an Microsoft support chat): "The minimum required speeds for Xbox Live is 256Kbit/sec downstream and 128Kbit/sec upstream." 5. Will AOL Broadband work with XBOX LIVE? A: Currently, there are issues with AOL Broadband and XBOX LIVE. Don't blame Microsoft, though, because AOL's proprietary VPN (Virtual Private Networking) software is to blame. AOL's restrictive network policy prevents you from connecting to outside networks. This issue has not yet been resolved, and may not be for some time. Best thing you can do, if at all possible, is switch to a "real" cable Internet provider. Short of that, it may be possible to connect by adding a 2nd Ethernet card to your PC, and using some form of Internet connection sharing to get the XBOX to connect through your PC (this would require your PC to be on anytime you wished to use XBOX LIVE). 6. I heard that there's a way that you can connect to XBOX LIVE with a 56k. Is this true? A: Yes, it is technically possible to connect to XBOX LIVE using a 56k modem. It involves using a computer and connection sharing over the network. This is a BAD IDEA, because 56k simply is NOT enough bandwidth to play. Most games will be completely unplayable. Some games check your network connection speed when you try and join, and so you may find that no player will play with you because of your speed. But the bottom line is that you will NOT be able to play at any sort of reasonable speed. 7. Will ISDN work for XBOX LIVE? A: ISDN is not officially supported by XBOX LIvE. I have read a couple of stories of people using ISDN during the beta test without problem, but Microsoft's site claims to not support it, and typical ISDN download speeds do not meet the 256kb requirement. If anyone has some first-hand experience of using ISDN with XBOX LIVE, e-mail me with the low-down: email@example.com 8. Can I use XBOX LIVE with my college dorm room Ethernet connection? A: Maybe, or maybe not. College networks aren't all the same. In fact, each is administered very differently, in many cases. College dorm networks often block TCP ports, to prohibit the use of certain software (particularly file-sharing programs like KaZaA and Morpheus). Some networks block everything except WWW/IRC/etc ports, while others just selectively block ports associated with those kinds of programs. You can try to poke around your college dorm network's website for details on their network restrictions. 9. How do I hook my cable/DSL modem up to my XBOX? A: There are a number of ways, from using routers to using your PC and Windows ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). Look at your XBOX LIVE documentation for details, or check here: http://www.xbox.com/LIVE/connect/choose.htm 10. I have a USB modem. How do I connect it to my XBOX? If your modem also has an Ethernet port, then connect using that. If it doesn't, then things get more complicated. There is ONE known router that supports a USB connection from a cable/DSL modem, and that's the DrayTek Vigor2200USB. Good luck finding one in a store - your best bet is to search and order online. Other than that, you can add an Ethernet card to your PC, and use your PC to route the connection to your XBOX through Windows ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). Consult Microsoft's site for details: http://www.xbox.com/LIVE/connect/windowsics.htm (note: using this method will require your PC to be turned on anytime you want to use the connection with the XBOX). 11. What ports need to be opened for my proxy/firewall? A: The following ports need to be opened if you're using a proxy or firewall: * UDP 88 * UDP 3074 * TCP 3074 If you're using just a NAT (Network Address Translation) device, it's not necessary to do this. A *better* option is to use DMZ. Check your router documentation for details on how to do this. 12. When setting up XBOX LIVE, I get an error (IP Not Confirmed, or DNS Not Resolved, or XBOX LIVE Not Found) A: Well, first step is to look at Microsoft's help page for this very thing: http://www.xbox.com/support/XboxLiveError.htm Some extra hints: * If you have problems, try inputting the gateway (router) and DNS information manually, instead of relying on automatic configuration. * If problems persist, you may need to set your MAC address on your XBOX to match that of your PC (some broadband providers "lock" your service to your PC's MAC address). To find your computer's MAC address in XP, go to Start Menu, hit Run, type "cmd", and when the command prompt window comes up, type "ipconfig /all". Your MAC address will be listed as "Physical Address" (it will contain six pairs of alphanumeric characters, separated by hyphens). To do this in Win98, go to Start Menu, and Run, and type "ipconfig". To set your MAC address on the XBOX, check the Advanced section of the Network Settings. 13. How do I find my PC's MAC address? A. See the second bullet in the "Some extra hints" answer above. 14. Do I need a credit card to sign up for XBOX LIVE, and why? A: Yes, a credit card is required. Debit cards with a credit card logo will work as well. Your credit card will be used if you choose to purchase any paid downloads. It will also be used to renew your XBOX LIVE subscription after your year is up (no word yet on what the subscription will run after this year). 15. Can I change my GamerTag? A: No, you can't. If you're asking this question now, then you obviously weren't paying attention during setup, and you obviously didn't read the documentation that came with your XBOX LIVE Starter Kit. Sooo, sucks to be you! Next time, pay attention. 16. I'm on cable/DSL and I get lag... A: Even in an all-broadband network, lag happens. Here's a few things to consider: (1). "If it happens a lot, YOU are the cause!": Outside of a couple of games that have significant "lag" issues, if you're experiencing frequent lagging, then your connection is probably the source of it. (Rarely do people want to admit that *they* are the one lagging... it's always the "other guy"). (2). Does your connection meet the 256kb down / 128kb up requirement? You might want to test your connection at www.pcpitstop.com or www.dslreports.com/stest to see if there's a problem with your service. (3). Are you sharing your Internet connection? If so, are the other device(s) on the connection currently in use? Be sure that nothing else is eating away at your connection, especially if you're having problems. Downloading files on your PC while playing games is a sure way to saturate your connection. It's OK if something else is using the connection, as long as it's not hogging it. But if you're having problems, take everything else away from the connection and see if it clears up. (4). Sometimes, your geographical distance from your opponent, and/or Internet congestion, will cause lag even if you and your opponent(s) have a good service provider. That's the nature of the Internet - it wasn't designed to be high-speed, it was designed to be redundant. Don't blame Microsoft, don't blame your service provider... blame Al Gore. He created the dumb thing, after all. (5). Maybe, just maybe, it *is* the other guy. Or the server, if it's a client/server game. If you've checked everything else, and your connection is optimal, then perhaps the problem is on the other side, and there's not much you can do about it. But always assume it's you first, and test your connection thoroughly. 17. Why doesn't XBOX LIVE use 56k? It's so unfair for Microsoft to leave us dial-up users out! A: There are MANY valid reasons why Microsoft made this decision. Allow me to enlighten you: First of all, 56k is *extremely* limited bandwidth. Features such as voice chat would not be reasonably possible over 56k. There is a recurring fallacy among those making this complaint, which goes along the lines of "I've played an online game "X" on my 56k before, and games "Y" and "Z" are in the same genre, so they should work too!". This is not valid. Just because you played Counterstrike on a dial-up doesn't mean that you can play every shooter game. Take note of how SOCOM for PS2 was made broadband-only, despite the PS2's dial-up support. Also take into evidence the amount of data that Halo pushes through GameSpy Tunnel connections (way too much for a dial-up). A 56k could not play MOST of the current XBOX LIVE titles even if it was given a chance. For some background: there are two (2) ways to connect systems together for the purposes of online gaming. The first is an asynchronous client/server model. The second is a synchronous peer-to-peer model. What is asynchronous? Well, it means that each player's connections are not in direct "sync" with each other. They are in sync with the *server*. Each player gets the new info from the server at the rate that their connection allows. This model is used in most PC shooter games, like the Quake/Unreal/Half-Life franchises. This is why a 56k user doesn't "lag" a broadband user in these games. If you've ever played these games, you've probably noticed players whose movements "lag", or sometimes "warp". This is because that player's connection is not updating very smoothly with the server. A key element in these games is the concept of "player prediction". These are algorithms where the server *predicts* where a player will be at any given moment, and then compares the prediction with reality when the server finally receives new data from the player's connection. This technique helps "smooth out" the movement of laggy players in shooter games. Finally, there's the idea of "acceptable lag". Players of PC shooter games are used to seeing laggy players have weird movements and such. All in all, it is considered acceptable, because it has a very minimal impact on the game itself. Player prediction helps alleviate this problem. In peer-to-peer games, the players are kept in "sync" with each other. That means if one player lags behind, everyone else's connection pauses to wait for him. The connection is as fast as the slowest link. Introduce a 56k into the mix and the entire game is dragged down. Games that use this model tend to include sports titles, where the kind of "player warping" that happens from a slow client/server connection is unacceptable (keep reading for details). Player prediction is also not valid in this type of game. Consider this scenario: in a football game, your opponent completes a pass against you and runs upfield. His connection is slow, so the server tries to "predict" his player's path. You pursue the player based on the path he appears to be running. You reach and make a tackle. Suddenly, the player is now 2 yards to the side from you, because the predictions were wrong and the server has now "updated" and corrected itself. You miss the tackle and the receiver runs for a touchdown. In a shooter game, the worst thing that happens with an error like this is that you die, click a button, respawn, and get back in the action. In a football game, however, this one play can lose the ENTIRE game for you. So, we've established that allowing 56k players into peer-to-peer games would not be an option. So the only option is a synchronous connection. For those of you that played NFL2K1 on Dreamcast, you'll note that there wasn't any player warping, but the game would "pause" if there was any slowdown in the connection. This is unacceptable for broadband users. I know from first-hand experience in playing NFL2K3 on the PS2 that a broadband vs. dial-up match is a very frustrating affair. That sort of thing may be acceptable in the PS2's bare-bones online element, but for a unified solution like Xbox Live, it is not. So, there are two options: (1) Don't allow 56k users (2) Set up a separate service for 56k users The problem with #2 is that (a) extra servers would be needed, (b) MOST games would not be playable on 56k, so the whole "unified" service that Microsoft is shooting for would be compromised, and (c) Far fewer dial-up users than you think would actually PAY for the privilege of playing lagged-out games online. As far as (c) goes, I used to be a dial-up Dreamcast NFL2K1 player. I logged more hours than I can count. But would I have paid for it? Heck no. And a lot fewer players than you think would have. Those who complain about the lack of 56k play on Xbox Live are simply ignoring the facts. Fact 1: Games are pumping out a lot more data at any given time than they have in the past. Just because you played a 4 year old game online on 56k before does NOT mean that you could play games now. In fact, a quick peek at Halo's network traffic reveals that a 56k would have absolutely NO chance of pumping out and receiving that much data. Fact 2: A 56k service would not be cost-effective for Microsoft. It would cost a healthy chunk in infrastructure, and the returns on it would be a LOT lower than the broadband side. Fact 3: One of Xbox Live's key features - voice chat - simply would NOT happen on 56k. (EOF) Revision History: 0.1 - December 3rd, 2002 First release! Be gentle...