How to prepare and test your home network for Xbox Game Streaming

Not to be confused with Microsoft's cloud-powered Project xCloud, at E3 2019, Microsoft announced that all Xbox One consoles will soon be able to act as home game streaming servers, allowing you to get mobile access to gameplay over the internet. The quality of the experience will naturally depend on your home network setup, however. Low upload speed may result in sluggish performance, for example.

Thankfully, Microsoft is rolling out a tool, currently available to Xbox Insiders, providing a means to test your network with a simple wizard. Here's how to get access and check if your console and home network is ready for the future.

How to test your connection for Xbox home streaming

  1. First, you'll need to open the guide by pressing the Xbox button on your controller, and navigate to settings.

  1. Now navigate to Network, and then Network settings.

  1. Select Test console streaming.

  1. The system will begin examining your network.

  1. You'll get a report explaining issues with your network connection.

Troubleshooting Xbox home console streaming

Ethernet Router

Ethernet Cable Netgear (Image credit: Windows Central)

Once you've received your report, you may need to address issues with your connection to get an optimal experience. If everything is green, you're good to go. Any issues marked in red will need to be fixed. Yellow issues indicate potential problems that may affect the experience, but Xbox will still allow you to stream when the feature rolls out in October, 2019.

Wired vs. Wireless

As you can see from my own report above, the tool is concerned about my wireless connection to my router. Naturally, a wired connection would generally be better, but depending on your home setup, this may simply not be possible. There are ways you can improve the signal, however.

Buy an ethernet-over-power adapter. There are adapters on the market that allow you to use your home internal power grid to send internet signals, which can provide a boost over wireless connections. This solution from TP-Link costs $80, and provides pass-through power for appliances, up to 200 Mbps over a 300-meter range.

Buy a looooooong ethernet cable. If you're handy with DIY, you can simply buy a long ethernet cable and use cheap wall clamps to tidy it up against the wall, or cheap wall trunking solutions to keep things tidy. Or, let it hang free if you're messy like me.

Fix Xbox NAT, UPnP, and port forwarding

Another issue you may run into is UPnP and port forwarding. UPnP stands for "Universal Plug and Play," and is a set of networking protocols that allow devices to communicate more reliably without sacrificing security (at least in theory). Some routers simply don't support this, which may affect your NAT type. Having an open NAT is essential for a stable Xbox Live experience in general, and if you've ever had issues with connectivity on Xbox Live or in Xbox parties, it may be something to do with your NAT.

NAT stands for Network Address Translation, and essentially, it is a system that allows your Xbox to communicate more effectively on the internet. That's essential for hosting streams of your own games. Ultimately, the aim is to get an open NAT, and there is a variety of ways to achieve this. We have guides already on how to fix these issues, which you can refer to below.

Necessary Xbox game streaming accessories

Xbox One Controller

In order to play games on your mobile device, you'll need an Xbox One Bluetooth controller, which is now compatible with Android and iOS devices. They list from around $45, and are pretty rad.

If you're going to be using home console streaming a lot, you may want to consider additional AA batteries for your controller. I use Eneloops, since they recharge very rapidly, and don't degrade as fast as regular lithium cells.

You may also want to consider picking up a power bank. All that screen time on your phone may drain even the beefiest of batteries, and these have multiple ports to charge both your phone and your controller if you're going to use a regular Xbox One play and charge kit. I use this one from Anker, and it has been a faithful companion for many moons.

Additionally, you may want to pick up a mobile phone mount for your Xbox controller. We're currently recommending this one from Jovitech, although we're hoping Microsoft itself is working on higher-quality peripherals, since the ones on the market right now aren't exactly the best. Thankfully, they're pretty cheap, though.

Get the Xbox game streaming app, erm, later

To actually play games on your mobile devices, you'll need the upcoming Xbox Game Streaming app for your phone or tablet.

The app is available to wishlist on the Google Play Store, right over here. Microsoft has previously said they want this to be on iOS as well, but we presume that might require some kind of additional negotiations with Apple, due to the closed-nature of its platform.

Xbox Game Streaming (Preview) on Google Play Store

When will Xbox home console streaming arrive?

Since Microsoft has begun rolling out the connection test wizard, we expect Xbox home game streaming to go live as early as October, or November 2019, depending on delays and such things. It seems Xbox is ready to release us from the confines of our television sets, both with home console streaming, and the upcoming Project xCloud cloud-based game streaming service.

Related: Everything we know about Project xCloud

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!