X B O X            L I V E
                        Frequently Asked Questions


                        By: *Legion*
                        E-mail: legion20@attbi.com
                        Gamertag: AvantLegion

                              Version 0.1

                  To ask questions, or make corrections,
                  e-mail me: legion20@attbi.com

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: legion20@attbi.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...