Xbox Wireless Adapter
Early models of Xbox One and it's accessories do not use Bluetooth. Instead it uses proprietary version of WiFi Direct that has a higher bandwidth for faster speed and lower latency, this is called Xbox Wireless. As a result, Xbox wireless controllers also work on PC and Cronus Zen with the Xbox Wireless Adapter.
Here's everything you need to know about Xbox Wireless, its benefits to you as a gamer, and how to resolve any audio or disconnecting issues you may be experiencing.
What is Xbox Wireless?
Xbox Wireless is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft for connecting accessories to Xbox One consoles. Like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct, Xbox Wireless enables controllers and select headsets to establish a direct wireless connection with the console, while avoiding the complexities that come with physical cabling.
The protocol first made its debut back with the Xbox One. It served as the unbranded technology for connecting controllers to the console. Microsoft later expanded its capabilities to Windows devices via a wireless adapter, allowing Xbox accessories to be used on PC, and of course the Cronus Zen.
- VendorID: 045E
- ProductID: 02E6
- Chipset: Mediatek MT7612U(S), Ralink RT2870.
- Frequency: 2.4 / 5 GHz
Why Use Xbox Wireless?
Existing wireless technologies like Bluetooth are available for most gaming accessories, but Microsoft opted to develop its own protocol for further flexibility, with faster speed and lower latency than Bluetooth, which can shave off vital milliseconds in competitive matches.
Xbox Wireless is also able to transmit wireless stereo audio, which is used for dedicated Xbox Wireless headsets. This means the Xbox One controller's integrated 3.5mm jack can also be used as an audio output too, which is NOT available over a Bluetooth connection.
Using Xbox Wireless with Cronus Zen
While infrared (IR) and Wi-Fi Direct are used for connecting some devices, this is the sole way of connecting early model controllers wirelessly (1537, 1697, Elite 1698). The 2.4 GHz Bluetooth protocol wasn't introduced until the later Xbox One S console and 1708 model controller.
The proprietary nature of Xbox Wireless means an adapter is required, which will set you back $24.99 from our store. The new v2 design is now available, this cuts the adapter's size down to a third of the original, and is fully compatible with the latest version of Cronus Zen.
Here's an example of how easy it is to setup the Xbox Wireless adapter with Cronus Zen:
- ZEN to PC PROG(mini-USB) and CONSOLE/PC(micro-USB)
- OPEN ZEN STUDIO > Device Panel > Emulator Output Protocol set to AUTO
- MAKE SURE that PS4 Speciality and PS Remote Play are NOT enabled
- XBOX WIRELESS ADAPTER to A3
- XBOX Controller to A2 and wait 5 seconds or until both Zen status LEDs are GREEN
- UNPLUG the controller from Zen and the adapter LED will start flashing white
- PRESS the XBOX button to power on the controller if necessary. Both the controller and adapter LEDs will flash for a few seconds then change to solid WHITE to indicate pairing was successful.
- IMPORTANT: Always tap Zen's physical reset button as the last step, or after any controller or setting is ever changed
You will notice that there is no Bluetooth support for any of the Xbox Series X/S controllers - but they all still work with the more preferred Xbox Wireless protocol 👍
Xbox Wireless Headsets
Microsoft has also been expanding beyond controllers, partnering with various third-party accessory manufacturers such as Astro, HyperX, LucidSound, PDP, Plantronics, SteelSeries, Razer, and Turtle Beach to develop Xbox Wireless devices.
Unfortunately, early models of these headsets all operate in the 5 GHz range, because at the time it wasn't anticipated just how popular the 5 GHz wireless range would be in home networks. Having a modern 2.4GHz / 5 GHz wireless router is great for speed and range, but terrible for interference.
Not only can using early model Xbox Wireless headsets in a busy wireless network environment affect the quality of the audio, but it can also cause your controller to disconnect from the Cronus Zen.
As great as Xbox Wireless is, there are also cases of frustration due to the 5 GHz band used by today's modern wireless routers, interfering with audio quality and causing intermittent controller disconnections.
After some research, we discovered the dongle itself is sending out data using 802.11a and 802.11n 5 GHz (not 802.11ac) with OFDM and 6 Mbit/s data rate. So it does not use the more common 802.11ac (5G WiFi), but it does operate in the 5GHz band, therefore poses an increased chance of interference from your home wireless network.
We found the heaviest traffic from the wireless adapter on 5GHz channels 36, 40, 44 and 48 (most heavily on 44), so it's a good idea, if you have the capability, to adjust the channel priority on your wireless router, so that they have little to no traffic around them. This will drastically improve the quality of radio frequency range around your wireless gaming area.
If your router can handle both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and your Xbox is connected wirelessly to the router, it is recommended that you change the Xbox connection to 2.4 GHz instead of 5GHz if you are experiencing disconnection issues.
Here's a full capture of every channel the controller and wireless adapter is scanning. This should help aid in any fine tuning of your WiFi network.
- The Xbox Controller is...
- actively scanning for available access points (Xbox wireless adapters)
- by sending out probe requests and waiting for probe responses
- channels 1, 6 and 11 (2.4 GHz)
- passively scanning for available access points (Xbox wireless adapters)
- by searching for beacon frames and reacting with association requests, was controller paired to this AP before
- channels 1, 6, 11 (2.4 GHz) beside 36, 40, 44, 48, 153, 157, 161 and 165 (5 GHz)
- The Xbox Wireless Adapter is...
- sending out beacon frames to tell the Xbox Controller on which channel it is
- The Xbox Wireless Adapter is selecting a channel out of 1, 6, 11, 36, 40, 44, 48, 153, 157, 161 and 165. The most notable beacons were observed on channels 36, 40, 44 and 48. Channel 44 5 GHz being the heaviest traffic.
Troubleshoot the Xbox Wireless Adapter
Before using the Xbox Wireless Adapter with the Zen, or if you are experiencing any issues, it's recommended that you first install the adapter directly to your PC. The drivers for the adapter are embedded within the Windows 10 or 11 operating system, so this will make sure the drivers are installed correctly and the controller works wirelessly as intended.
- Connect the Xbox Wireless adapter to your PC
- Press it's sync button until the white LED starts flashing
- Power on the controller by pressing the XBOX button
- Press and hold the controller sync button until the XBOX LED starts flashing
- After a few seconds both LEDs should change to solid WHITE indicating they are correctly paired.
To make sure the controller is working correctly, visit gamepad-tester.com for instant feedback.
If it isn't working, try the following solutions:
- Make sure your Windows PC is connected to the Internet.
- Make sure your Windows PC is up to date by going to Windows Update on your device and checking for available updates.
- Make sure your Xbox controller is fully charged.
- Reboot your PC and try again.
- Ensure your USB ports are not disabled in Device Manager.
- Try another USB 2.0 or preferably 3.0 port.
- Try reinstalling the drivers in case they have partially installed. To do so, you need to uninstall the drivers. Follow these steps to complete this process:
- Go to your Device Manager.
- Locate Xbox Wireless Adapter in the Network adapters section.
- Click Xbox Wireless Adapter to bring up the Properties window.
- Click on the Driver tab.
- On the Driver tab, click the Uninstall button.
- On the confirmation window, check Delete the driver software for this device.
- Unplug the Xbox Wireless Adapter and reboot your PC. Once the PC is back on, plug in the adapter.
- If the Xbox Wireless Adapter still does not install, follow all of the above steps thoroughly one more time. If this doesn't work, your adapter needs to be replaced.
The Controller Won't Pair to the Adapter
If the pairing instructions are not working, try the following solutions:
- Ensure you're within range (6 meters or less) of the adapter and it's in line of sight to the controller.
- Try rebinding your Xbox controller to the console by pressing the sync button on the console, and then the sync button on the controller. The LEDs will flash and become solid when the binding is successful. If your controller does bind, you have isolated the issue to the Xbox Wireless Adapter.
- Unplug all cables from the Zen. Connect both the PROG (mini-USB) and CONSOLE/PC (micro-USB) cables to your PC, plug in the Xbox Wireless Adapter to A3, then connect an Xbox controller to A2 (must have firmware version 4.8.1908.0 or lower), wait 5 seconds then unplug the controller from A2. The Xbox Wireless Adapter LED, and controller Xbox LED should change to solid WHITE within a few seconds indicating that pairing is complete.
The Controller Disconnects From the Adapter
If your controller disconnects frequently from the Xbox Wireless Adapter, this is typically due to environmental issues, such as no line of sight (between the controller and adapter) or a heavy amount of interference, such as a 5 GHz wireless router and from metallic objects.
Try these suggestions to improve the connection between your controller and wireless adapter:
- Make sure you're within the optimal range of the adapter (6 meters or less).
- Use a USB extender to bring the adapter closer to your controller.
- Ensure you have good line of sight between your adapter and your controller. Use a USB extender to help if needed. For these two devices to talk successfully, they need the most unobstructed opportunity to do so.
- Move the adapter away from any metal object and do not set it directly on a metal surface.
- Move the adapter away from any wireless routers or access points
- Turn off any wireless headsets to see if that helps resolve the problem
- Disconnect any wired headsets that might be connected to the controller as these have been known to cause disconnections
The Adapter Was Working But Isn't Responding Now
If your adapter was installed and working, but it did not respond after waking your PC or Cronus Zen, this may be because your USB controller doesn't have Wake on Wireless turned on by default. This can typically be managed by the USB controller driver.
There are two solutions to this:
- While your Windows PC is running, unplug the wireless adapter, and then plug it back in. Turn on the controller to resync.
- If that didn't work, you can adjust the properties to enable Wake on Wireless. In the Xbox Wireless Adapter Properties window, make sure to select Allow the device to wake the computer. To do so, follow these steps:
- Go to your Device Manager.
- Select Wireless Adapter for Windows in the Network adapters section.
- Click Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows to bring up the Properties window.
- Click the Power Management tab.
- Select Allow this device to wake the computer, and then select OK.
Is 2.4 GHz Better?
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK 🧑
This happened to me yesterday. I finally found out it was due to using Xbox one on my router at 5 GHz channel set to 20/40/80 mode (not using any 2.4 GHz channel). When I went back to using 2.4 GHz channel at 40 MHz (and reset other 5 GHz channel to 80 MHz only), the issue went away.
The 2.4GHz band, while having slower speeds, is a much better frequency for wireless signals to travel. It is well known that wireless data travels much better in the 2.4GHz frequency, and the reason it was the original band used for WiFi.
The problem was that the 2.4GHz band became overused with many wireless signals causing traffic issues. When a wireless data packet collides with another one it must be resent slowing down the entire network.
An older 2.4GHz WiFi-5 wireless-N connection speed is rated at 300Mbps, which is much faster than the recommend Xbox Live 3Mbps needed to play a game online.
The bottom line is the 2.4GHz WiFi band is likely much more stable compared to the 5GHz band; sometimes faster is not better.
If your Xbox has WiFi issues that keep dropping a connection, there are several ways to solve the problem.
Each fix will be unique to the scenario with no one fix. Sometimes, restarting the router is all that is needed. In most cases you will want to try a different band or channel.
If possible, using a wired Ethernet cable is ideal, but can be a problem for some users. If an Ethernet cable can not be run using a Power Line Adapter or Ethernet to WiFi converter will also work. The less wireless signals from your Xbox, the better.
If you are interested there is a massive thread over at the Xbox forums where many users have issues with Xbox wireless.