Guide to using Xbox One online: Networking, fixing lag, download speeds, and more

Xbox One
Xbox One (Image credit: Windows Central)

Today's video game consoles are quickly shifting over to online-centric experiences, with digital distribution, multiplayer and content expansion packs being the norm for big budget titles. With this new-found focus, getting the best connectivity hugely enhances your Xbox One experience. Here are some in-depth tips to improve your console's networking setup.

Getting an Xbox One online

Xbox One S

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Before getting underway with improving your console's connectivity, you'll first need to make sure your console is correctly connected. The Xbox One supports both wired and wireless connections, with a relatively streamlined setup process.

Wired connections almost always offer the best speeds and stability, with a direct line to your console. While wireless can still provide adequate download and upload speeds, a wired connection is unmatched, especially over distance. By going wireless, you'll be getting the benefits of convenience, without a physical cable between your router and console.

Connecting to Xbox Live with Wi-Fi

To connect your Xbox One to the internet with a wireless connection, you'll need an active Wi-Fi connection within range of the device. By following the steps below, getting your console first connected to the internet is relatively streamlined.

  1. Unplug your ethernet cable, if one is connected.
  2. Open the Settings app on your Xbox One console.
  3. Navigate to the Network tab.
  4. Select Network settings.
  5. Select Set up wireless network.
  6. Choose your wireless network from the list of available networks.
  7. Enter your network password. If correctly entered, an on-screen notification is displayed, reading "Everything is good."
  8. Click Continue to finish the setup process.

Connecting to Xbox Live with a wired connection

For those using a traditional wired connection, the setup process on Xbox One is significantly easier. To get started, simply plug an ethernet cable into the back of your console. After the cable is recognized, the console will automatically attempt to connect to Xbox Live.

Fix multiplayer issues over Xbox Live


Source: Epic Games (Image credit: Source: Epic Games)

A near-instantaneous connection is often required for online multiplayer experiences, with even the slightest delay potentially making for game-breaking issues. While the complexities of modern networks can result in a wide range of problems, we've compiled some fixes for common issues.

1. Check your connection

Before attempting to improve multiplayer connectivity, we first recommend checking your connection via your Xbox One. This will give you an idea of various network statistics, which can be used to diagnose any potential problems with your current setup. Network statistics can be obtained via the console's Settings app using the steps listed below.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Xbox One
  2. Navigate to the Network tab
  3. Open Network settings
  4. Select Detailed network statistics on the right side of the screen

After your connection is checked, values for speed, packet loss, and latency should all be displayed on the screen. These can all influence multiplayer performance, determining how efficiently data is transferred between your console and a server. Speed should be as a high as possible, with lower packet loss and latency ideal. From previous experience, we recommend over 2MBps for a passable multiplayer experience, a packet loss close to zero percent, and latency under 200 ms.

2. Multiplayer design is sometimes to blame

Halo 5: Guardians

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Depending on the type of game you're playing, ideal conditions sometimes aren't replicable due to the nature of a game's online infrastructure. Although most of today's titles launch with stable multiplayer functionality, approaches to networking have infamously harmed certain games from the outset. Two common approaches to online networking are often seen nowadays: peer-to-peer (P2P) networking or dedicated servers.

Dedicated servers are becoming increasingly popular, with a central server hosted solely to accommodate multiplayer matches. Often hosted in a central location with low latency unrivaled by other solutions, this setup can reduce any form of noticeable lag within the capabilities of the host. Provided dedicated servers are hosted across the globe, lag is less common with this type of technology.

P2P networking relies solely on player networks to host multiplayer matches, using one of the player's consoles as a central server. Although this is a considerably cheaper option to develop, using a home connection to host multiplayer matches can result in undesirable latency and interruptions not seen with dedicated servers.

While dozens of hosting factors can cause multiplayer issues, users can expect better performance with dedicated servers. If you're experiencing issues with some multiplayer games, the cause may simply be linked to the game's design. Make sure to search online to see if other users are experiencing issues and whether certain titles can be improved on a per-case basis.

3. Aiming for Open NAT

Xbox One Networks

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Network Address Translation (NAT) allows multiple devices to map internal IP addresses to external addresses, for use when connected to the internet. This technology plays a huge role in connectivity with multiplayer games, deciding how incoming traffic is handled.

When connected to Xbox Live, you may have seen terms thrown around which indicate the leniency of NAT types. This somewhat represents your compatibility with other players, with stricter NAT types often experiencing issues with multiplayer connectivity. A good way of showing how NAT influences connectivity is through a handy grid courtesy of Xbox Support (opens in new tab). This shows compatibility between NAT types and why aiming for Open NAT makes for the best overall experience.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 OpenModerateStrict
ModerateRow 1 - Cell 3
StrictRow 2 - Cell 2 Row 2 - Cell 3

On a surface level, users with Open NAT will usually see the best experience on Xbox Live. While getting your NAT open is ultimately the end goal for the best connectivity, this has proven to be difficult for many users. There are a few workarounds which can improve your NAT. Here are some of the most effective options you might want to consider.

Note: Do not use a combination of Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), port forwarding and DMZ when configuring your Xbox One's connectivity. Make sure these are all disabled before moving between steps.

  • Universal Plug and Play: UPnP is a set of protocols which automatically handles port mappings in an attempt to improve communication in an effective manner. Although UPnP is automatically enabled on most modern routers, enabling this for the first time can drastically improve general connectivity. Again, the steps for checking can vary hugely between routers, so we recommend searching around online for your exact model.

How to get Open NAT on Xbox One using UPnP

  • Port Forwarding: Port Forwarding shares its similarities with UPnP. However, it requires manual rules to forward specific ports. Opening and forwarding specific ports on a per-service or per-game basis ensures the best connectivity with certain titles. For more information on port forwarding with your router, search online for specific information for your router.

How to get Open NAT on Xbox One with port forwarding

  • DMZ: A demilitarized zone (DMZ) can be set up to remove internet restrictions on a device, essentially telling your router to send unsolicited traffic to your console. While this is almost certain to improve your NAT, it should be used as a last resort when troubleshooting. This is fine to use on an Xbox One console due to the restricted nature of the OS, but it should never be attempted with a standard PC.

How to get Open NAT on Xbox One using DMZ

Reduce Xbox One data use

With file sizes on the rise and a heavier reliance on internet access, modern consoles are prone to eating up data. If you're on a connection associated with a data limit, saving up those bytes is crucial to prevent a hefty bill. These are our top tips for reducing your Xbox One's data usage.

Xbox One Bandwidth Usage

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

1. Check data usage in the Settings app

Before attempting to reduce your Xbox One's data usage, it's good to get a rough idea of the bandwidth your console uses at this point in time. That ensures your Xbox One's data use is worth addressing while also providing insight into your estimated savings after applying the following tips. Luckily, an in-depth breakdown of bandwidth use is tucked away within the Xbox One's Settings application.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Xbox One
  2. Navigate to the Network tab
  3. Open Network settings
  4. Select Bandwidth usage on the right-hand side of the screen

A log of your console's data use should now be displayed on the screen, with hourly figures for the past 24 hours alongside usage breakdowns on a per-month basis. This should give you an idea of how much data your console currently consumes and how it relates to any data caps you may have in place.

Xbox One Power Options

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

2. Disable automatic updates

As convenient as they may be, automatic updates are one of the easiest ways to unknowingly exceed your data limit with an Xbox One. With some recent titles surpassing 100GB, restricting the way your Xbox One updates can save a lot of data in the long run. Although this means you'll have to manually trigger updates as you want them, it can prevent undesired updates from sneakily downloading in the background. By enabling the Xbox One's energy-saving mode using the following steps, this prevents updates from downloading automatically.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Xbox One
  2. Navigate to the Power mode & startup tab
  3. Change the console's power mode to Energy-saving

While this will prevent unwanted downloads, your Xbox One will no longer take advantage of sleep mode. If you want this feature, we simply recommend uninstalling unused games and apps to prevent updates from being downloaded.

ReCore Box Art

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

3. Install via discs whenever possible

Even with Microsoft pushing towards a digital future, physical discs are still here to stay. If you're an avid gamer who frequently buys new games, buying a retail copy can be an easy way to cut down on data use. With disc-based titles installing directly off the disc, you'll only be using bandwidth for updates over Xbox Live. You'll probably find gaming a lot cheaper, too, with physical copies more heavily discounted than their digital counterparts.

4. Avoid data-hungry games and apps

For the data-conscious, try to stay away from games and applications that use up a significant amount of data. Video streaming applications and intensive multiplayer games are ones to watch out for, with some using GBs of data over only a short period. Extremely bandwidth-heavy tasks such as live streaming on Beam and Twitch should be avoided.

Fix slow download speeds over Xbox Live

Almost every Xbox One owner has suffered from slower than expected download speeds over the years, with a range of factors which affect download performance. While issues can sometimes be linked to back to Microsoft, there are a few ways you can improve speeds yourself. Here are our recommendations to improve your download speeds over Xbox Live.

Xbox One Network Stats

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

1. Check your connection

Before attempting to fix slow download speeds, we first recommend checking your connection via your Xbox One. This will give you an idea of both the speed and stability of your network, which has a huge bearing on its ability to quickly download content via the internet. Network statistics can be obtained via the console's Settings app using the steps listed below.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Xbox One
  2. Navigate to the Network tab
  3. Open Network settings
  4. Select Detailed network statistics on the right side of the screen

After your connection is checked, values for speed, packet loss, and latency should all be displayed on-screen. Your download speed is crucial here because it has a bearing on the time it takes to download games and apps over Xbox Live. This value will be displayed in how many KBs or MBs are transferred per second.

Xbox One S Ports

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

2. Use the right hardware for the job

The hardware used to connect your Xbox One to the internet also has a huge significance on your network performance, with varying speeds depending on the type of setup.

Wired connections almost always offer the best speeds and stability, with a direct line to your console. While wireless can still provide adequate download and upload speeds, a wired connection is unmatched, especially over distance.

Depending on your router, two wireless bands are widely used nowadays: 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections. It's becoming increasingly common for modern routers to offer dual-band connectivity, which provides access to both frequencies.

While 5GHz ideally offers a higher throughput than a 2.4GHz connection, you'll lose range in the process. However, the range of 2.4GHz connections isn't always a good thing, with possible interference from other 2.4GHz networks and separate local wireless devices. While wired is the way to go if possible, 5GHz networks are a great step up from the standard 2.4GHz offering.

Xbox One Quit App

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

3. Close all games and apps

Due to the nature of the Xbox One's OS, resources are prioritized for games and apps that are currently active. While this ensures a smooth overall experience, downloads can see reduced speeds when left running in the background. Software that also requires significant bandwidth, such as streaming applications, may also impact this speed.

To ensure content is downloaded at the fastest possible rate, close all games and apps currently running on the console. Alternatively, if you're using the Xbox One's instant-on power mode, games can be downloaded while the console is in a sleep state.

4. Avoid peak times

If you're often on your Xbox when you're first back from work or school, you may be experiencing lower-than-expected download speeds during peak times. Affecting both your internet service provider and Xbox Live, downloads may simply be slower due to high demand for the service. While there isn't a huge amount you can do to resolve such issues, you can try downloading content at a quieter time of day.

Xbox One DNS

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

5. Change DNS settings

Domain Name System (DNS) settings are a huge aspect of the web, translating web domains to their internet protocol (IP) addresses. DNS servers are used to perform this translation and are the gateway to establishing connections to an address.

In most cases, users will most likely use the default DNS settings offered by your internet service provider (ISP). While using these settings is perfectly viable, you may see increased speeds when switching to a third-party anycast solution. Here's how to take advantage of popular third-party DNS services such as GoogleDNS and OpenDNS, on your Xbox One console.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Xbox One
  2. Navigate to the Network tab
  3. Open Network settings
  4. Select Advanced settings
  5. Select DNS Settings
  6. Select Manual to manually enter a new address
  7. A screen will now appear to enter an address.
    • If you're using Open DNS, enter
    • If using Google DNS, enter
    • If using another third-party service, enter the primary address here.
  8. After confirming the primary address, you'll next be prompted to enter a secondary address
    • If you're using Open DNS, enter
    • If using Google DNS, enter
    • If using another third-party service, the secondary address should go here.

If you wish to revert back to your default DNS settings at any point in time, simply switch your DNS settings back to Automatic.

Note: If you're using an IPv6-enabled connection, the above IPv4 addresses can be used for IPv6 DNS lookups.

Router Ports

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

6. Enable Quality of Service (QoS)

While this tip is only recommended for our more advanced readers, enabling Quality of Service (QoS) can also bring a notable bump in the speed of your Xbox One downloads. Enabled through your router, QoS manages bandwidth depending on the current traffic on the network. This allows you to prioritize certain traffic types, to ensure bandwidth is allocated to your Xbox One when required.

However, with QoS tied to your router settings, the exact method and complexities behind the feature vary from model to model. We recommend searching online for your exact router, for further information on the feature.

Xbox (opens in new tab)


Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

  • wow great article! Also I have noticed the download , upload speed on your screenshot and I was shocked :) My download is 9 mbps and upload 0.45 :)
  • That is unreal speed, especially upload.
  • Unfortunately this is true.....
  • That's actually not my full download speed heh - most of the time I'm getting around 900 down/950 up - I recently got involved in a test gigabit rollout, so having amazing speeds nowadays! Was a nice bump from 2 down/0.2 up a few months ago! (:
  • Unfortunately, in the US it is legal for our ISPs to limit and over charge for speed. So no way could I afford 120-150 a month just for gigabit.
  • Is there any way to get to Open NAT when using two Xbox One in the same household? One router can only offer Open NAT to one Xbox, as long as there is no chance to change ports on the second Xbox, am I right? I'd like to have a second Xbox One for the bedroom, but this keeps me from buying one. Had a lot of lags while playing Far Cry Primal (singleplayer!) until I fixed my NAT to be "open".
  • yes but a lot of routers cant handle more than one, the Nighthawk R7000  is one that can I have 2 xbox ones and 2 xbox 360s and they can all be on at the same time and get open NAT. the list is very small of routers that will work it has to do with how they do UPNP i believe, but you can google it and fine the others. hope this helps
  • Thank you, I'll have a look into this.
  • Also with the latest Xbox update they fixed that issue and use and random range if ports to communicate with so if u have upnp turned on and the Xboxs set to auto it'll pick ports that are different on each Xbox one so u have open for both.
  • An important note for people who like to control individual ports on their network switches. In twisted-pair ethernet, automatic negotiation and fixed speed and duplex are incompatible.
    You cannot set one side to fixed 100Mbps full-duplex and leave the other side in automatic in hope to force that connection speed on the link. The negotiation required by the automatic side will fail when talking to a fixed port. Both side need to be set identically.
    Unless you're dealing with very specific networking hardware that cannot use negotiation, you should always leave switch ports in automatic mode. ​The Xbox one will switch back to lower speeds to save power, so it requires negotiation. The swich port it is connected to should always be set to automatic speed and duplex.
    Setting a fixed speed on the switch will typically make the console lose the connexion when going into connected-suspend, making background downloads when suspended fail.
  • Problem lies between Xbox and router and ISP. Wired connection will always win hands down. End.
  • "Peak Times" does not exist on an ISP such as AT&T Uverse. Your connection is not shared in the same sense as Comcast, where they send everyone's signal down one pipe and then split it off. With Uverse and I would assume other fiber based networks, your line is your line from the source, to your home.
  • Not all fiber networks are one-to-one links. Many fiber ISPs are using PON (Passive Optical Network) to easily share a single fiber across several customers.
    PON makes it easy to send everyone's signal down one fiber and then "split" it with passive optical splitters, effectively broadcasting a single signal to up to 256 customers. ​When comparing fiber offerings, always make sure to find out if they provide a dedicated link, or are sharing the annonced bandwidth by sharing a single transceiver and "splitting" (splitting the beam, so really broadcasting the packets) the signal somewhere on its way. As you can expect, many ISP aren't exactly clear about it in their advertisment material.
  • That was educational, thank you for sharing that. You also have to consider the backbone's bandwidth at peak times, too. Data is always bundled together somewhere, it's just a question of where.
  • Peak times still matter. The data is bundled together *somewhere*. It's just a question of where (your house, the backbone, or somewhere in-between). A unique and unshared internet connection is a myth. At some point it's merged into the ISP's backbone, and if the backbone is congested in peak hours then you can suffer congestion-related issues.
  • Peak times can apply to Xbox servers eve if they don't to your end.
  • Disabling IPv6 did wonders for me on my Xbox One S hard-wired into the router. I was experiencing a freezing issue on Rocket League, downloads would stall completely and take forever, slow download speeds. Ever since I disabled IPv6, I don't have any of those issues anymore. Rocket League hasn't froze once.
  • Ah, the black magic of networking.  :-)  Funny, I had the opposite experience.  In my case (in a multi-xbox one household) enabling IPv6 on the router fixed the NAT issues I was having.  I haven't played Rocket League since making the change, but I haven't had any other issues:  download speeds are fine, no issues with other games or online multiplayer, and all consoles are showing open NAT status.
  • That is funny indeed lol! Reason I tried that was because I finished building a new PC and Google Captcha wasn't working at all. While on the phone with my ISP (EPB in Chattanooga), they advised me to try turning off IPv6 on the network adapter on my machine through Properties. Went to the same Google Captcha site, and it worked like a charm. Not sure if it's an IPv6 thing with my ISP and Windows 10, but I'm glad they steered me in the right direction. I disabled IPv6 on the wireless router altogether so that my Xbox One wouldn't get an IPv6 address, and immediately noticed a big difference with how quick things loaded, downloaded, and most importantly, my Rocket League not freezing (super frustrating when playing a ranked match and then it freeze and have to force quit the game)  ^__^
  • Your ISP needs to join the 21st century.  IPv6 will be 20 years old next year, and there's no excuse why your ISP shouldn't properly support it.  In fact, IPv6 is Xbox One's native networking format (it handles IPv4 by sending it through a Teredo tunnel), and your best experience on Xbox One should be with IPv6.  If you're having troubles, then it's the ISP's problem and they need to fix their network.
  • UPnP​ is widely considered to be a BIG security issue and most security experts recommend leaving UPnP off.
  • Yea my router yells at me everytime I do a security check but if u have multiple Xbox ones then u need it on.
  • UPnP is fine.  It's only a security risk when you have it listening on the WAN inteface of your router.  If you configure it to only listen on the LAN side (which should be the default for any sane router), the security risk is minimal.  Set it to deny by default, add the specific IP or range of IPs you want to allow access, restrict the ports (1024-65535 is fine -- you don't need to open the lower privileged ports despite what all the wrong port forwarding articles say), and you'll be fine. If a malicious actor is already inside your network, they don't need to forward ports to do malicious stuff.  And if they're not already in your network, they can't exploit UPnP if it's not listening on WAN.
  • Just discovered groups on the xbox1 A really great feature, but need a way to display games NOT in groups, it’s hard to know if I have them all grouped or not, plus as a game can be in multiple groups a symbol next to the game e.g. 1, 2 or 3 etc showing how many groups that game is in. Need a few more options around groups, which is a great idea...increase limit of 40 titles per group to a 100....also no idea how many groups are allowed, information is pretty scarce, not often MS or Xbox release a feature that I actually like and use, usually it’s a gimmick or something that messes up something that was good before.....or adds a feature no one but MS wants...... Sorry I put my comment here but I tried commenting on the group article but it told me I didn’t have enough reputation LOL and it was an older post OMG why make it so hard to comment....
  • Currently having massive issues with Div2, multi player is impossible due to huge lag issues.
    Will try some of the things listed, hopefully these issues can be resolved as I've reached the point of throwing Div2 in the bin I'm so frustrated!!!
  • Will it fix my lag in Warzone right now 😆