Accessing Xbox Live on Campus/at Your University

POSTED BY Kirgy April 21st, 2012 : 0 COMMENTS

Many who are heading to a university in the coming September will arrive to find that they either can’t hook their xbox up to the network there as they are banned, or they are only allowed to hook one device up at a time. For a avid gamer or anyone that, like me, has a laptop and a desktop, will find this beyond frustrating.

Luckily, there are some work arounds that your administer might not be bright enough to figure out. But first, some theory, then the solution. If you want to glaze over to the solution, skip ahead now.

The way administrators on networks restrict devices is through what is known as MAC addresses. Its a “unique” identifier for any digital device which communicates wireless. A bit like a finger print to humans. The admin team may ask you for your device’s MAC address prior to having it gain access to your network. This information is then stored in a database which the firewall system will have access to. If your device isn’t listed on the network, then you’re not having access.

But since electronics are programmed, and therefore their digital fingerprint, the MAC address, is programmed too, it means that it’s fingerprint isn’t necessarily permanent after all. This is good new to you, as it means you can hook up any device to the network that can change it’s MAC address. This includes practically any PC (including windows, apple and Linux), playstation 3 and xbox 360.

There are two solutions. One is, as we discussed, involved with MAC address spoofing. The other involves encrypting your traffic and routing it via a server so your admin team can’t see your MAC address. The latter is more complicate, and will probably require purchase of a lease of a proxy server, the former is easy but will mean you can only have one device connected to the network at one time. Lets start with MAC spoofing.

MAC spoofing is so easy its ridiculous that campuses around the world use MAC restricted networks as a form of network security. I’ve even known of campuses to use MAC restricted networking on wifi networks and freely give out the wifi key.

To spoof your MAC address on your xbox, and gain access to the network where you are restricted to one MAC address, or you can’t be bothered to register another device you will need to obtain details of an existing device on the network. It should be noted here that a major secure fault in such a network set-up is devices broadcast their MAC address and can be intercepted by anyone.

The details you will need to find from an existing connected computer are: IP address, subnet mask, MAC address (also known as physical address in windows), default gateway, DNS servers. You may not need to enter the default gateway or DNS servers in some network or device setup’s, but you may want to note these down anyway. You can find these details in a windows computer by:

  1. making sure the computer that has access to the network is currently connected to the network
  2. going to the Start Menu
  3. in the search bar/run box type “cmd”
  4. in the command dialogue enter “ipconfig /all”
  5. find the currently connected adapter (usualy the one with a listed lease date)
  6. note down the IP address, subnet mask, MAC address (also known as the physical address), default gateway and all listed DNS servers
  7. disconnect your connected computer from the network
  8. On your xbox go to settings->system->network settings->select either wired or correct wireless->configure network
  9. Under the “basic settings” tab -> select the section with the “ip settings” option → select manual → enter details of the three fields as noted → select done.
  10. Under the “basic settings” tab → select the section with the “DNS settings” → select manual → enter the DNS servers as noted down.
  11. Go to the “additional settings” tab → select “advanced settings” → select “alternative MAC address” → enter the noted mac address omitting any “:” or “-” that your computer may have listed, i.e. enter in the format “00FFIIGH64WE” → select done.
  12. You’re done!

It’s worth again noting that this method will only allow one device to connect the network at one time. Again its worth noting that networks often “lease” an IP address, so you may have to do this every time you connect. If you find this to be true, there may be a simpler solution. Some network set-ups will allow you to connect by only entering the alternative MAC address, some however won’t. It’s worth trying this out.

I hope that has helped you in some way. Remember, if this is against your university or other institutional policy, don’t do it. It may result in a fine, legal action, or disciplinary.

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