Xbox Series X|S basics: what to know about the WiFi

For all of the advantages of Ethernet, sometimes WiFi is a must in the world of console gaming.

I’ve been solely using WiFi ever since picking up my Series X and despite the odd hiccup it’s been more than serviceable.

The built in WiFi card offers everything I could need. Better yet, I haven’t found my connection to Xbox live to be throttled.

What can you expect from the Xbox Series X|S WiFi performance?

As it turns out, almost everything you could need streaming, online gaming, and downloading the latest titles.

It doesn’t have WiFi 6

The biggest omission you’ll find in the Xbox Series X|S is WiFi 6 support. Although still a fledgling wireless technology, it’s a bit of a head scratcher as to why Microsoft left the standard out.

Needless to say the Xbox Series X|S doesn’t support WiFi 6 in any capacity.

It’s anybody’s guess as to whether or not a future revision of the console will include the next gen standard, but it’s a big miss for those wishing for the feature now.

Sony, on the other hand, decided to include WiFi 6 support in both the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition.

Overall, the exclusion is perplexing when Microsoft’s competitor and many big tech products like the iPhone include it.

Xbox Series X WiFi performs incredibly well

The Xbox Series X’s WiFi has performed fantastically during my time with it. I’m getting much faster speeds than on the PS4, and there are few signs of throttling. All around, it’s throughput has been excellent.

The WiFi card also seems to maintain a strong connection to my router. I play online exclusively using WiFi, and I’ve yet to run I to a scenario where latency or lag is an issue. I’m one floor separated from my router and from this range my Xbox maintains full strength connection.

For reference, I’m running on a 300 Mbps connection through Comcast.

Whether it’s downloading Game Pass titles, playing Destiny 2’s Crucible, or streaming on apps like Hulu or Netflix, I’ve yet to run into any hiccups.

The only time when I notice a slight deterioration in speeds is during times of peak congestion. Other than that the Xbox Series X is pretty much flawless in terms of connectivity. If you’re upgrading from a PS4 then you’ll definitely appreciate its stability and connection to Microsoft’s backend. And it’s no surprise considering cloud services are a big part of the company’s revenue.

If I had to guess, Microsoft’s networking experience lends itself to the quality of connection you get on Xbox Live. There’s no doubt that the Xbox Series S also offers a fantastic experience as it’s working with the same backbone and offers up the same exact WiFi specs.

Xbox Series X|S WiFi vs Ethernet

Is an Ethernet connection better than WiFi?


But for many, a WiFi connection on the Xbox series X|S, especially when using 5ghz, is plenty good. And most home setups don’t offer the luxury of hardwiring into a router.

Ethernet traditionally comes out on top when it comes to reaching peak download speeds and minimizing latency. Those playing competitive games like Apex Legends or Warzone where a low ping is crucial will benefit the most.

If you’re someone with a spotty wireless setup then you’ll also see a huge benefit.

I’m in a situation where an Ethernet connection would provide a minimal upgrade. My brother,on the other hand, has seen a huge increase in playability since switching to Ethernet. Sometimes packet loss and latency are so much of a hindrance that looking into alternatives is worth the hassle. If you can’t run an Ethernet cable, you might want to look into either a WiFi extender or powerline adapter.

The short of it?

Ethernet is always better than WiFi, but those with spotty wireless setups prone to lag and low download speeds will see the biggest benefit.

Can Xbox Series X|S connect to 5 GHz?

Yes, the Xbox Series X|S supports 5GHz. Even though the WiFi 6 standard isn’t supported, you’ll still be able to take advantage of the increased speeds of the 5GHz band.

If you’re someone with a next-gen Xbox, there’s a good chance you have quite a few wireless devices in your home.

It’s a good idea to utilize the 5GHz band on your router if it supports it as to minimize interference. In some cases, this band will also offer faster speeds. Most wireless devices will default to 2.4GHz which can cause congestion and poor performance.

This is what I’ve been using on my Xbox Series X and everything has been smooth sailing. I try to limit the number of devices using 5GHz on my router so that it maintains fast speeds and doesn’t suffer from poor connection strength.

WiFi specs

The networking specs are identical between the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. You should expect identical performance from each console’s WiFi card.

The Ethernet port equipped is 802.3 and supports gigabit connections.

When it comes to wireless connections, both consoles support 802.11ac dual band WiFi. While 802.11ac technically supports gigabit connections, it’s much less likely you’ll see these speeds in real world usage.

In summary

There’s no doubt that Microsoft’s next-gen consoles perform consistently when it comes to WiFi. After several months with the Xbox Series X I’ve had absolutely no issues (barring problems with my home network).

You’re not getting WiFi 6 and that does sting a little. But Xbox Live’s top notch infrastructure matched with the WiFi card in each console makes for an experience that just works.

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