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Bridging An XBOX 360 for System Link Play

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February 27, 2010 4:54:26 PM

This question is for those experts who really know networking pleas.

My setup:

Linksys WRT610N configured with dual band in use. 2.4 GHz hardwired for the PC's, TV and XBOX 360 upstairs 5.0 GHz for the TV, DirecTV, Blue Ray and XBOX 360 in the family room. Family room is configured with a WET 610N bridge to a 10 port hub which all devices hook to. The SSID for the 2.4 GHz side is Stevens Net 2 and the 5.0 GHz is Stevens Net2_media.

I can play XBOX Live on either XBOX 360 over their respective configurations. The problem comes in when I try to establish a System Linked game between the two. Either one can setup and start a game and either one can see that a game exists to join. When I select Join on either one I get the "Awaiting Connection ....1....2....3....4.... Error Unable To Connect to Host" To eliminate all other possibilities I built a 100" CAT5e cable ran it from the 5 port hub to the 8 port hub and both XBOXs work as advertised in System Link play. This to me establishes the Bridge as the culprit in SYStem Link play. However, it works fine connecting to XBOX Live and each game can see that there is a game awaiting players in System Link. This tells me that the XBOXs are seeing each other.

I have contacted XBOX and Linksys with no solution (It took over an hour and two techs at XBOX to even get them to understand that this is not a scripted problem they can just go through their troubleshooting flow charts.)

What could be the problem with going through the bridge? Any real help appreciated.

Thanks,

BBQSmoker
February 27, 2010 6:06:39 PM

I have an inkling of what it *might* be, but I want you to try something before I elaborate. I want you to patch the XBOX directly to the WET610N (no hubs, no switches, just the XBOX to the AP), then tell me what happens.

P.S. Reboot the AP as well.
February 27, 2010 7:14:13 PM

Thanks for the reply, but no difference exact same results.
Related resources
February 27, 2010 7:39:14 PM

Packet filtering would be suspect in this configuration without a switch, but it does not seem to be a problem. Each unit has it's own IP address from the WRT610N to Bridge WET610N.

As I previously stated everything, works perfect (TV Internet Video, Blu-Ray downloads and XBOX Live) There is also a Wii in this room which is using it's own WiFi perfectly to the WRT610N.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

BBQSmoker
February 27, 2010 8:07:41 PM

BBQSmoker said:
Packet filtering would be suspect in this configuration without a switch, but it does not seem to be a problem. Each unit has it's own IP address from the WRT610N to Bridge WET610N.

As I previously stated everything, works perfect (TV Internet Video, Blu-Ray downloads and XBOX Live) There is also a Wii in this room which is using it's own WiFi perfectly to the WRT610N.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

BBQSmoker


Packet filtering by the switch shouldn't be an issue because a switch doesn't filter packets, but a router would (e.g., NAT). I was actually suspicious about using multiple MAC addresses across a wifi connection. That’s actually not supported and a standalone/dedicated bridge must be specifically programmed to (for lack of a better term) “NAT” its single WLAN MAC address to the many MAC addresses behind it. Some bridges support it, some don't, some of them are just buggy. But since this doesn't appear to be the problem, I won’t go any deeper in that direction.

Actually this is a pretty simple configuration. Lots of devices, lots of switches, etc., but more about quantity than complexity. All you’re doing is forming a transparent wireless bridge, which shouldn't be a problem. So I started reviewing the manual looking for anything "extra" this bridge might be doing and noticed it has a WMM features (basically, QoS). This actually *would* be filtering packets if enabled. Any chance it’s enabled? If so, disable it.

And btw, are you using the latest firmware?
February 27, 2010 8:31:57 PM

Had another idea.

Any chance you have AP Isolation enabled on the WRT610N router? If that's enabled, and both XBOXs are using a wireless connection (I know the XBOX behind the AP is a wireless connection thanks to the bridge, but I'm not sure about the other XBOX, whether it’s wired or wireless), then that would prevent communications between any wireless clients, and hence the XBOXs! AP Isolation doesn’t affect wired connections, hence why it would work when the wireless bridge is replaced w/ Ethernet.

February 27, 2010 9:32:27 PM

I was rrefering to the bridge doing packet filtering.

LDPC is enabled with QOS Class 802.1D.

Don't lose site of the fact that everything associated with all devices connected to the bridge via 10 por hub are working fine including XBOX Media Extender to two other PCs.

Latest firmware on ALL devices on my LAN.

One XBOX using wired one wired to wireless bridge. AP Isolation disabled on both sides, 2.4 and 5.0 GHz.

One thing I was concerned abot was that the Bridge segment is using a different SSID as stated previously, but I changed it over to the 2.4 GHz SSID and made no difference, so I assume it is done internally to the WRT610N since all devices using SSID Stevens Net _media talk to all devices on SSID Stevens Net 2 without problems.

Appreciate your help very much. No one else has shown an interest or appropriate back ground.

Thanks,

BBQSmoker
February 27, 2010 11:29:54 PM

I'm grasping at straws a bit. I don't own an XBOX, so I'm a bit disadvantaged in that respect. But I’m aware the XBOX does some diagnostics when connecting to XBOX Live, such as checking the MTU (it must be some minimum, don’t recall the exact #). For all I know it checks PING response time too. Fail these tests and it refuses to continue (although most ppl who’ve reported the problem to me seem to get an error message explaining the problem).

I’m just wondering whether something like this is taking place. It’s connecting, but then refusing to continue due to some incompatibility that could be affected by a change in network architecture. Does the XBOX offer any place to check for error messages (e.g., log, event viewer) so we could get more details about WHY it failed?

Again, everything seems right networkwise.
February 27, 2010 11:58:48 PM

The XBOX does network checking, ping test for games on Xbox Live etc and reports network test status. All pass, but remember this is not involving XBOX live, but SYStem Link.

Each console has a game disk loaded and the interface is between the two or more consoles. I wish I had another disk from a different game like Halo to test. This purely involves COD4 WW2, which in itself may be the problem.

I agree it all seems right, right up until you try to join a game. As I said one console sees the game in the local host "Lobby" and you click to join game, but you get the unable to connect to host error.

BBQSmoker
February 28, 2010 12:02:58 AM

If possible, I would just try a different wireless bridge, if only to see if there's something quirky (technical term ;)  ) about that linksys. It just doesn't want to play ball for some reason.
February 28, 2010 12:03:27 PM

Well, with my experience in networking, you are better off using the same mfg throughout your whole system, as they are made to work together. Adding another brand at this point is something I had rather not do. Especiallly at $100 a pop (another technical term for ya!)
February 28, 2010 1:02:31 PM

BBQSmoker said:
Well, with my experience in networking, you are better off using the same mfg throughout your whole system, as they are made to work together. Adding another brand at this point is something I had rather not do. Especiallly at $100 a pop (another technical term for ya!)


Generally speaking, I agree. But wrt wireless bridging, it's not as important anymore which brand because many (perhaps most) modern wireless bridges don't rely on WDS anymore (WDS is not wifi certified, making it a compatibility nightmare). Instead they simply connect as a wireless client (just like any desktop/laptop USB/PCI wireless adapter), including your WET610N. IOW, they’re "universal" wireless bridges.

I almost never buy matching manufacturers anymore. Mine are either dd-wrt or tomato compatible routers running as either a wireless client or wireless repeater, depending on need. They work great, w/ rarely a compatibility issue. I try to grab them on sale, $30 or less (got my last one for $12.50!). I may also use a standalone/dedicated wireless bridge (e.g., ZyXEL WAP3205) from time to time, esp. if the price is right ($30 or less).

Anyway, I was suggesting it just to see if changing that up would make a difference. We know wire did, but I was just curious if another wireless bridge would exhibit the same problem. If it did, then presumably there’s something more fundamental about using a wireless bridge w/ System Link than anything specific to the WET610N. But of course if you don’t have another wireless bridge w/ which to test, the point is moot.
February 28, 2010 2:53:45 PM

eibgrad,

I did some more testing this morning. It seems that perhaps the bridging does not have enough bandwidth to support the game in Link play. This is what I did:

I setup media player directly from the Xbox to the bridge (no other devices attached to bridge) to a PC. The xbox found all media and played correctly as I said. However, I decided to setup media player again and test it.

The results were that I "probably do not have enough bandwidth to play TV or HDTV over the network." The bridge is saying it is passing 84mb though highly unlikely. This was over the 5.0 GHz side. I then reconfigured the bridge to use the 2.4Ghz side and much to my surprise, while not that good, the 2.4 rated higher with about 2 out of five bars in the TV range ( I should explain this scale, 5 bars at low end, 5 bars in middle considered good for TV and 5 bars at the upper end considered good for HDTV.) tried playing media off of my PC ucing Media center and all played well and sound was excellent in either configuration.

During this time and testing I was pinging the address of the bridge and XBOX getting about 5 ms average for the bridge when idle and a whopping (another Technical term) 32 when playing the movie. I was never able to ping the XBOX always got "Request Timed Out."

Next step bypass the bridge with my 100 ft. of Cat5e, plug straight into the 8 port hub uplink port and to another 5 port upstairs. Rerun test and viola (another technical term) full scale. I did notice that on the linksys network app that the bridge was showing the XBOX Ip address as it's own while in bridge configuration, it did not with a hub in the loop.

My conclusion is that perhaps the bandwidth is a problem for system Link, but does not effect XBOX Live. I would love to have access to the test equipment I used to have access to to go on from here.

However, this does bring up and interesting situation. We watch Blockbuster and Amazon internet HD movies without any problem except that I noticed it was playing in PCM Stereo vice dolby digital, so maybe all those HD movies we were paying for were reall not HD (still looked good.) Now I have to contemplate running a hardwire to this location. Ughh!

Thanks again for your interest and assistance!

BBQSmoker
February 28, 2010 8:48:43 PM

Thanks for the update. All this stuff is useful because it goes into the memory bank and might help the next person. So let me know the final conclusion (if that happens).

This was basically my concern when I referred to MTU, ping tests, etc. I just thought it possible the problem was the XBOX, not a networking problem per se. The XBOX just doesn’t accept things as they are. It seems to probe, make an assessment, and either continue normally (full featured), continue w/ limitations (e.g., PCM vs. Dolby??), or not at all. Of course, you’d think it would always return a useful error message. This may simply be MS's attempt to create the best end user experience possible given perceived limitations.
June 18, 2010 10:00:22 PM

I have the same problem. WRT54gx2 on one floor, xbox's plugged into that with ethernet. Cisco wireless bridge upstairs, with xbox's plugged into it with ethernet. Everything works great except system link. The router to bridge wireless has enough bandwidth for all systems to game together over xbox live. But, when you try to system link, it times out and says Unable to Connect to Host, or something like that. Does not matter which side of the network the host machine is on. All IP addresses are being dished out by the WRT54GX2 downstairs, so they all have the same subnet, same IP series, except for the very last number (192.168.0.1 through about .020, including all computers, laptops, etc.). Any assistance would be appreciated. I will check the Qos settings tonight. I just hope somebody figures it out. I don't want to have to run a wire upstairs.
June 18, 2010 10:05:58 PM

Oh, and I forgot to mention, you can see that the host machine has a game available to join. So the xbox's are seeing each other, and seeing the available game to join. It just fails when you try to connect, system link, over the wireless bridge connection. The wireless bridge connection is the problem. All systems downstairs can play system link together, and all upstairs can do the same. But when you try to combine upstair and downstairs, over the wireless bridge, it times out.
October 21, 2011 2:57:18 AM

Has this ever been resolved? I have the same problem in even a simpler configuration.

What I want to do:
I have been trying to connect two neighbors Xboxes together WITHOUT wires to play games using local Xbox SystemLink.

Problem:
They connect and when playing games, one starts server the other see it. When trying to join, there is a 30 seconds, and then a message pops up saying the game lobby has been closed. Tried different games. Plugging both cat5 direct in Primary router, it works.

My hardware:
1X Buffalo-wli-tx4-g54hp (Primary using DHCP)192.168.1.1 plugged into Xbox
1X Us Robotics-USR5461 (Secondary Client Bridged) 192.168.1.2 Plugged into Xbox
Both have DD-WRT V24-SP2
They are right now next to each other for configuring. No internet or other equip in equation.



I followed these instructions;
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Client_Bridged
Firewall turned off- only "Filter Multicast" checked.
This might be Xbox specific..
October 21, 2011 8:00:48 PM

Here is the answer - it cannot be done.

http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/troubleshoot/kb/...

Xbox only supports link play using Wifi if it is an ad-hoc wfi network. See Method 3 from the page above. In you scenario it **might** work if you link the 2 wifi AP's together on ad-hoc but that would disconnecte the rest of your network.

What is the purpose of this anyway. Most games on xbox that use link play are co-op over xbox live. If you would like to play together use the private game option on xbox live.
October 21, 2011 8:35:29 PM

Thanks for the reply..

Here in Cuba, we have shitty internet. Xbox Live not an option.

I have done extensive research and THIS is the first I have heard of this being a no go.

Wow.. that's a shame.. went through a lot of trouble gettings routers / antennas / hardware.

I have designated routers.. nothing else on network just xboxes. I will try and find something on doing this with routers and xbox as ad-hoc
October 21, 2011 8:39:54 PM

BTW: From reading the Ad-hoc method, it seems it's only refering to using the xbox wireless adapter. I don't have this extra item. I guess I could get one if it will work, not a big deal at this point.

Any ideas on setting it up via ad-hoc using two routers (dd-wrt) ?


Where did you see that it CAN 'NOT be done via bridge , wanted to read the info for anything useful. Thanks.
October 30, 2011 11:01:54 AM

The ad-hoc network works as a peer-2-peer network. Just like bluetooth. from one host direct to another It is supported on a wired network with a switch because a switch will forward all traffic to all ports by default - the traffic will reach the correct host.

In your setup it is not working because a wifi access point functions like a router. the peer2peer traffic does not contain any routing information needed by the router to send the traffic. In this case the router will drop all packets by default because it does not know where to send them.

The 2 xbox's can see each other because when they are searching for each other this is broadcast traffic. By default a broadcast is sent to all hosts on the network. Replies are also broadcast to all hosts so each hosts can learn where each other is. Once this is done, xbox uses peer2peer for system link and the packets are dropped. Xbox live is the opposite and uses routing (via Microsoft servers)
October 30, 2011 12:13:15 PM

Wow.. this is the most detailed and logical explanation I have ever gotten.. You know you stuff..

So, I know it doesn't work and now why.

Any ideas how to make it work with a different setup. I read that it is possible using DNS instead.

Thanks so much
November 13, 2012 10:51:56 AM

I have the same issue and may have found the cause of the problem.

A repeater bridge will transfer all network traffic but while doing so it will perform a NAT on the MAC addresses of the clients connected to he repeater. To the primary, it looks like all repeater traffic is coming from the same MAC.

This NAT on the MAC throws off Xbox Systemlink and the game doesn't work.

The solution?
Use WDS instead of Repeater Bridge. The disadvantage of WDS is that it's not standard therefore you need the same brand of router for both the primary and secondary. Or you could use DDWRT on both routers.

The advantage of the Repeater Bridge is that the primary need not be aware that a secondary is repeating it. With WDS both have to be aware.

HTH.




wilsonb said:
Has this ever been resolved? I have the same problem in even a simpler configuration.

What I want to do:
I have been trying to connect two neighbors Xboxes together WITHOUT wires to play games using local Xbox SystemLink.

Problem:
They connect and when playing games, one starts server the other see it. When trying to join, there is a 30 seconds, and then a message pops up saying the game lobby has been closed. Tried different games. Plugging both cat5 direct in Primary router, it works.

My hardware:
1X Buffalo-wli-tx4-g54hp (Primary using DHCP)192.168.1.1 plugged into Xbox
1X Us Robotics-USR5461 (Secondary Client Bridged) 192.168.1.2 Plugged into Xbox
Both have DD-WRT V24-SP2
They are right now next to each other for configuring. No internet or other equip in equation.



I followed these instructions;
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Client_Bridged
Firewall turned off- only "Filter Multicast" checked.
This might be Xbox specific..

!