Connecting to Xbox Live in a Hotel Room

Do you travel a lot like I do? Do you like to travel with your Xbox 360? Tired of not being online while in a hotel? If you answered yes to any one of these questions then this guide is for you. I will explain how hotel networks typically work and how you can connect to Xbox Live on any hotel network.

Basic Networking Guide - Guide Created: 10/8/2010 - Last Modified: 1/25/2012


So you're traveling with an Xbox 360 and you want to connect it to a hotel network? We've got you covered. First, some general knowledge about the network you're going to connect to. Each hotel network is going to be different but they pretty much all follow the same concept. Networks are either wired or wireless and they use MAC addressing to allow access to the internet.

So if you're staying at a hotel that has a wired connection you're going to want to take with you an Ethernet cable (RJ-45 cable). I suggest a very long cable. The TV and the RJ-45 outlet are typically not next to each other so I take a 30 foot cable with me. If the hotel you have has a wireless connection you need to bring with you a Wireless Adapter. To get past the MAC address access you're going to need access to a laptop or a computer on this hotel network (the one you bring).

Knowing what you need, you now need to know what to expect, what I call expectation management. First, this is not going to be your home network, not even close. So you're not going to be fragging everyone with blazing fast hosting or downloading that 4GB video from the Market Place. Speeds are going to be much slower and expect a strict NAT. If you end up with a strict NAT there is nothing you can do about it and it is going to limit who you can connect to and what you can do. Read: may block Market Place Downloads/Videos, channels (spotlight, etc), services (NetFlix, LastFM, etc), and so on.

With that all being said let's move on...

Step One: Getting a Registered MAC Address

This may sound hard or confusing but it really is neither. You will need to use your laptop, desktop, or use another computer on the network (you can try the business center computers). Next is to get that computer connected to the network. Commonly hotels use your computer's MAC address to determine and keep track of various statistics, like if you accepted their terms/agreement, billing information, when you connected online, if you use too much bandwidth, and so on. If a computer logs on to their network with a MAC address that has not been registered you will see their standard welcome/agreement screen as shown below.

How to connect to a hotel network to get your MAC address registered so you can connect to Xbox Live on the Xbox 360.

Now if you notice in the above screenshot you will see the red section in the upper right hand corner that reads "Connect to the Internet". Once you click on that link it will take you through the standard agreement pages to get you connected to the internet and charge a fee to your room, if applicable. This will register your MAC address on the computer and allow you to have internet access.

Step Two: Getting Your MAC Address

Please note this is the most IMPORTANT STEP. If this step is done incorrectly then nothing will work. Please read carefully and do exactly what it is asking.

Before proceeding please ensure you have internet access by going to some random website (not Google or Bing).

Now that your computer has registered it's MAC address and has internet access you need to get the MAC address so your Xbox 360 can have that same access (you may be catching on now, if you have not already). There are multiple ways to get your MAC address depending on the type of Operating System you have. The easiest way and the way that is compatible with almost all versions of Windows is as follows:

1. Click on START.
2. Click on RUN and type CMD and click OK.

How to bring up the CMD (Command) prompt in Windows to get the MAC address on your PC so you can connect a Xbox 360 to a hotel network.

3. Type IPCONFIG /ALL and press ENTER.
4. Now you are going to look for the MAC address on the network you are connected to. There are several things to look for.
      a. Any time you see a Media State labeled as "media disconnected" it means that particular network adapter is not connected to a network. Go ahead and skip it.
      b. Next thing to look for is what type of network you are connected to, since I am on a wireless network I will look for the word "wireless network connection".
      c. Look for an active IP address (anything not connected will not have an IP address).
      d. Locate your physical address (that is your MAC address). In this example the MAC address is 04-14-A4-14-24-29 (DO NOT use this MAC address, if you do, you will NOT be connecting to XBL, use YOUR MAC address).

How to use the IPCONFIG command to bring up your computer's MAC address so you can enter that into the Xbox 360 to connect to a hotel network.

You are more than likely going to have at least two MAC addresses on your computer (one for a wireless card and one for your wired card). You must ensure that you are selecting the correct MAC address. If you fail to select the correct MAC address your Xbox 360 will fail to connect to XBL.

Step Three: Configuring the Xbox 360

Now it's time to disconnect your laptop/computer from the hotel's network and connect your Xbox 360 to the same network. It is going to read your Xbox 360's MAC address, which has not been registered, so it will not be able to connect to Xbox Live. Not to worry! We happen to have a validated and registered MAC address which will allow us access to the internet! Follow these steps to add your newly obtained and registered MAC address to your Xbox 360:

1. Go to your MY XBOX channel.
2. Move all the way to the right and select SYSTEM SETTINGS.
3. Move down and select NETWORK SETTINGS.
5. Move the tab over to the right to ADDITIONAL SETTINGS.
6. Move down and select ALTERNATE MAC ADDRESS.
7. Now select once again ALTERNATE MAC ADDRESS and enter in your MAC address. In this example we would just type in 0414A4142429 and press START.

Ensure you have your IP Settings and DNS Settings set to AUTOMATIC. Now just select TEST XBOX LIVE CONNECTION from the NETWORK SETTINGS. You should be able to connect to Xbox LIVE but as warned above more than likely you will have a strict NAT.

In Closing

I hope this helps someone out there! I have used this method in a numerous amount of hotels from different brands and have had no issues. The connection speeds have ranged from fast to stinking slow. I have played MP games, chatted it up with friends and at other times I had to stick to messaging friends and just being online so my achievements are not marked "offline".

I have noticed the time of day has a GREAT impact on speed. Try to avoid peak internet times, which start at around 8PM to 11PM and later.

Please enjoy and let me know if you have any questions or issues so I can improve on this guide!

Having trouble? Well here are some pointers:
1. If your Xbox is going to be using a wired connection then make sure you are connected on your laptop wired and use the wired MAC address.
2. If you are getting MTU errors then the hotel's internet is currently too slow to handle XBL.
3. Disconnect the Laptop before connecting the Xbox.

Still need help? If you are having issues connecting to XBL after following all the steps above please post a comment about the issues you are having. However, when posting please include this critical piece of information: Run the Xbox 360 Network Connection Test, what step does it fail on and what error do you get?

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