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What is Xbox Wireless? The wireless technology explained

If you’ve recently upgraded your Xbox and are looking at picking up a wireless controller or headset, you may have come across the term Xbox Wireless. 

Read on to discover everything you need to know about the wireless gaming technology, including what it is, where you can find it and how it differs from Bluetooth… 

What is Xbox Wireless? 

Xbox Wireless is a Microsoft proprietary technology that allows gamers to connect accessories to their Xbox consoles wirelessly – without the need for a USB transmitter or dongle. 

It can be found on official Xbox products, like the Xbox Wireless Controller and Wireless Headset, along with certain third-party licensed accessories. 

Xbox Wireless vs Bluetooth

At this stage, you might be wondering why Microsoft doesn’t simply rely on Bluetooth to connect Xbox accessories. After all, both protocols support wireless pairing and Bluetooth can be found on a massive range of wireless devices across the market – including Xbox’s own.

Ultimately, it comes down to bandwidth and interference. 

Xbox Senior Hardware Program Manager Gabi Mitchel previously told WindowsCentral that the wireless signal in the Series X and Series S predecessor, the Xbox One, is capable of supporting up to 8 controllers and headsets while maintaining sub-8ms latency. That’s in contrast to Bluetooth’s 2 controllers. 

Mitchel also explained that, because Bluetooth is constantly scanning for new connections, the technology is more susceptible to interference from other devices. This effects the responsiveness of your headset or controller. 

Can Xbox Wireless accessories connect to Windows, Android or iOS devices? 

Yes, most Xbox Wireless accessories are also capable of connecting to Windows, Android and iOS devices using Bluetooth. 

However you’ll need an Xbox Wireless Adaptor for Windows to access certain Xbox Wireless features on your PC. These include audio through controller and firmware updates on the Xbox Wireless Controller, and the game/chat audio balance feature on the Xbox Wireless Headset. 

You can also find Microsoft Surface devices, such as the Surface Studio 2, that have the Xbox Wireless radio built-in.

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