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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Does Xbox Live Work with Verizon 3G? LTE?

Update: I now have 4G (LTE) at home and I can use Xbox Live  on both Verizon 4G and AT&T HSPA+. Hey everyone, and I am sorry that I have not posted for a long time. Its been a long time coming, and those of you that have asked questions about using Hughesnet on Xbox Live know the shame that comes with logging in to Live and not being able to link up with your friends online. There are so many great games coming out and most of them are online games: Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, and the list of older games like Halo: Reach and the upcoming Halo: Anniversary have a bunch of us chomping at the bit to jump online and get the old game-face on. So what works and what doesn't? I am going to break it all down for you after the break.

So a quick recap of what's going on with my gaming. In college I played the hell out of some Xbox Live. We are talking GRAW, and some Halo 2. Also, my roommate got me hooked on World of Warcraft (WoW) and so to say that I spent a fair amount of time online is an understatement. In an earlier post I went over the heartache I felt when I realized that getting married meant giving up broadband, and pretty much the internet as a whole. Way out in the middle of the woods, I have all the fresh air that I can stand, all the sunshine and hunting and fishing...blah blah blah. As a gamer, I am not ashamed to say that I am allergic to the sun. I had to find a way to get online again.

Tried dial-up, tried a Verizon 3G Aircard for my laptop, nothing really worked. Then I finally broke down and ordered Hughesnet. That sexy chick was saying all the right things, and despite my looking online and seeing nothing but bad reviews of their service, I ordered it anyway.

Big mistake.

The latency makes gaming almost impossible. While I was able to get online to Xbox Live, and download updates, and demos, I was not able to actually do any multiplayer gaming. Over time the invites to play games stopped and I was all alone on Live.

So one day I got disgusted and got on twitter.

"I pay too much money to not have 3G service at home. Verizon, I love you, but this sucks."

I was shocked when Verizon called me. I was also shocked when after about an hour on the phone with them, when they called me, he promised to send someone to the tower closest to me and check it out. At this point, I didn't have much hope for anything ever happening. Figuring that I was just blown off, I went about my business. That is until one day my Thunderbolt said 3G.

3G? Are you fricken kidding me?

Where I live, 3G ends about a mile up the road. I sometimes was able to lock into 3G in my front yard, but it would drop to 1X pretty quickly. Somehow, after about a week of solid 3G, I started to believe that this was real. That was over 3 months ago, and I still have 3G service at home. So what does this mean for  Xbox Live?

This should answer any questions.

Battlefield 3 stats

Does Xbox Live work on Verizon 3G? Ohhhh heeeeellllll yeah it does!

Ok so here is my setup.

I have a 4G device, the HTC Thunderbolt.  I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and a Samsung Galaxy S 3. I pay an extra $30 a month for unlimited tether. What that means is I am using my phone as a portable hotspot. I then link my Xbox to the phone's wifi hotspot in the network settings.

The good and the Bad

Latency on my line dosen't ever seem to get above 300 ms. Keep in mind that most of your competition is running 50 ms of latency, so don't be shocked if you lose some close battles. Your signal has to travel from a tower to the phone and then to your Xbox, while most people have a direct connection to a modem.

The quality of your Xbox Live experience depends on how strong and how close you are to the cell phone tower. I actually have a network booster setup in my front yard, with antennas pointed towards my tower. It adds another step that the data has to travel, but it is worth it to have a steady connection via 3G. Sometimes, for no reason, I lose my connection to my internet. It always comes right back, but I do get kicked offline about twice a day. It's something to keep in mind.

This isn't ideal at all. I use my Hughesnet connection for downloads larger than a couple of MB in size. Remember that Verizon won't like 20 GBs of data downloaded off their network, but this is much better than nothing. As always, if you have questions, ask in the comments and I will answer them all.

Verizon 3G seems to average from 100 to 350 ms (milliseconds) of latency.

Verizon 4G LTE seems to average from 40 to 85 ms of latency.