Home networking, particularly wireless networking, is extremely intimidating if you dont know what you are doing. Thankfully, Logitech can answer all of your questions and solve all of your problems with two little black boxes called the Play Link that wirelessly connect your Xbox or any other device to your broadband internet. You just plug them in and they work. Period.
The Logitech Play Link comes with two little transceiver units, two AC power adapters, and two Ethernet cables. Literally all you have to do to set them up is plug everything in and you are good to go. Each pair of transceivers are matched and coded to only talk to each other so there is absolutely no additional setup or tweaking necessary. You just plug one into your broadband internet and the other into whatever device you want to use (Xbox, PS2, printer, computer
you get the idea) and it is instantly online. Within five minutes of opening the box you will be up and running and you probably wont even need to read the instructions.
As far as performance goes, the Play Link is perfect. They transmit data at 1.5Mbps which is more than fast enough for Xbox Live and the connection is always on and always smooth. Logitech claims that the connection will hold true up to 100 feet away and will work through walls and ceilings and anything else that might get in the way. The Play Link passed all of my tests with flying colors so Im inclined to believe the 100 foot range statistic. My personal setup is that I have an office upstairs with my computer and Ethernet modem and my Xbox downstairs in the living room and the Play Link works flawlessly. For anyone that cant have all of their broadband devices tucked into the same room, the Play Link is a perfect solution.
12-26-06 Edit: Use with the Xbox 360. We have recently found out that the Logitech Play Link doesn't really work all that well for downloading larger files. It works perfectly for playing online, even on the Xbox 360, but when trying to download items off of the Xbox Live Marketplace it is very, very slow. If all you plan to do is play games, it is still a highly recommended product, but if you want to download things, you need to figure out a different way to connect your Xbox 360 to Xbox Live.
Nitpicky Issues ...
The only drawback to the Play Link is that it doesnt have a pass through so youll need a router unless you want to switch cables back and forth from your computer to the Play Link every time you want to play on Xbox Live. This isnt a very big issue, really, but it is something you need to be aware of when you are setting things up. It is still considerably cheaper and much, much easier than setting up a full wireless network in your house which is the most important thing. The only other issue is that youll have to find an open plug in for each unit, and if you are anything like me that can pose a problem (You know, multiple game systems, DVD player, TV, system selector, racing wheel, headphones, stereo, etc. all hooked up in your living room
). The end result is worth it, though, so buy an extra power strip or do whatever you need to do because this is a product that will change the way you play games.
All in all, the Logitech Play Link is virtually perfect and is very highly recommended. You wont find an easier to set up and use wireless solution than this and if you are like most people and dont have your games in the same room as your broadband internet source, this is a must own product. It is easy to set up and performs flawlessly and is just what the doctor ordered for apartment dwellers, people with home offices, or anyone else that doesnt want to run wires everywhere or mess with a real WIFI network. The best part is that it isnt just for games. You can hook it up to anything that uses an Ethernet connection which is a good way to sell parents on the device if they arent too keen on spending $100 on more Xbox stuff for little Billy. And actually, even though the MSRP is $100 you can easily find the Play Link for less than that. Whatever the price you pay, the Logitech Play Link is worth every penny and is highly recommended. It will, of course, work with the Xbox 360 and other next-gen consoles as well so it is a very solid investment considering how big of a role online gaming is going to play over the next few years. Buy it. You wont be disappointed.