Every new generation of technology has a habit of changing what ports and compatibility are available.
New smartphones get new charging ports.
Headphones jacks have all but disappeared.
Wireless connections have taken over where previously cables were trusted.
Home gaming consoles are no exception to the turning tides of technology.
Does The Xbox Series X and S Have An Ethernet LAN Port?
Both the Xbox Series X and the Series S come standard with an Ethernet LAN port as well as wireless internet capabilities. This means that you can manually connect your Xbox to your router, giving you faster Internet speeds and the best gaming experience possible.
Microsoft knows that a stable and fast internet connection is critical to a great gaming experience, especially in 2022.
I’m not saying you can’t play and have a good experience with a wireless connection, but there’s a bit more hardware you’ll need to have the best wireless experience possible.
Ethernet cables are a much cheaper solution with great and consistent performance.
Both the Series S and Series X are designed to accept wireless and wired internet connectivity to cater to the wide variety of home network setups.
As such, the wireless module is more than capable.
With a solid dual or tri-band AC router, you can set your Xbox Series S or X up anywhere in your home without concern for signal strength.
Old school gamers have long chosen to remain wired.
Wired connections allow for the lowest latency possible which makes all the difference in games like CS: GO, Battlefield, CoD, PUBG, or Apex Legends.
Every performance boost you can muster up is an in-game advantage.
What Ports Do Xbox Series X and Series S Have?
Microsoft’s current console generation, the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X are both brand new designs that experiment heavily with the form factor.
The Series X has been noted to look like a refrigerator.
The Series S has taken on a much smaller form that can often be overlooked in the entertainment center.
Even with the major changes to the consoles’ designs, Microsoft managed to fit in a limited set of ports to handle gamers’ connectivity needs.
While you might expect the more powerful Series X to have a wider selection of I/O, both Series S and X have the same ports available.
Microsoft’s Series S and X both have the following ports:
- Three USB 3.1 1st Generation ports
- HDMI 2.1 out
- 1 Gigabit Ethernet Port
- SSD Expansion slot
The Series X does have one feature that Series S owners are likely to miss is a disc drive.
That’s right, if you want to keep growing and using your physical disc library, you will need to buy a Series X.
Even with the higher price, I’d say it’s worth it.
The Series X is a powerhouse of a console with 12 teraflops of peak performance.
The list of ports is a bit shorter than in previous console generations.
The Xbox One consoles had both HDMI in and out, but the addition of an SSD expansion slot makes up for it.
You can always add USB ports as well.
USB 3.1 is plenty powerful enough to support a USB hub.
If you think you’ll need the extra slots for external storage, it’s more than possible.
Is a Wired Internet Connection Better Than Wireless?
Yes. Wireless signals are getting strong and fast.
Latency is catching up to wired connections and new algorithms have improved signal band strength.
However, there are still many factors to work out before wireless signals become as secure and quick as a gigabit ethernet cable.
The most obvious difference is the transfer speed.
Gigabit ethernet can transfer 1 Gbps.
It’s possible to get your wireless connection to reach this number with an incredibly expensive network setup, but even then it will not be consistent.
The next difference is in latency.
Fiber optics may lose latency over long distances, but they still beat out WiFi.
The question you’ll likely try to answer is “should I play games with a wired connection or wireless?”. The answer is up to your gaming habits.
If you fancy yourself an upcoming eSports champion, a wired connection is the only way to go.
That and strong internet service for the fastest connection possible.
If you’re playing your Xbox for pure enjoyment and relaxation purposes, you may not find the difference between connections to be that important.
Single-player experiences only use the internet to download updates.
Once the game is installed, you’re all good to go.
Multiplayer PvE, player versus environment, games like Destiny still need a solid connection to keep up with the fast-paced gameplay.
If you’re not really sure what games you want to play, it’s never a bad idea to go with a wired connection.
It’s not an expensive solution and it offers the best performance available.
What’s the long rectangle slot on the Series S and Series X?
The newest port to be added to home gaming consoles brought by Microsoft is the solid-state storage expansion slot.
This rectangular port is made to fit specially designed SSD drives for extra storage.
SSD is revolutionary for computers and gaming.
Previously, computers and consoles relied on HDD or hard disk drives.
These drives used physical movement to spin a disc that was then read by a laser.
Solid-state drives have no moving parts and work similarly to flash memory.
The benefit is that SSDs are physically more durable and can be up to a hundred times faster than HDDs.
Microsoft has a lot of experience with the difference SSDs bring to the table.
Surface devices and Microsoft-supported laptops sport these super-speed storage drives.
The difference in performance makes computer loading and boot-up times nearly instant.
The same benefits computers enjoy with SSD read/write speeds are also applied to the Series S and X.
The internal drive for these consoles is already an SSD.
Microsoft decided that the best option they could do for extra storage would be to offer a port that supports storage devices with the same performance.
Thus, Series S and X have an SSD expansion slot.
Microsoft offers storage expansion cards from Seagate that come in 512 GB, 1 Tb, or 2 TB capacities.
The downside is that they are not cheap.
The 512 GB runs for $139.99. The 1 TB costs $219.99.
The 2 TB costs a whopping $399.99.
Don’t worry though, you can always use the USB 3.1 ports to attach traditional external storage devices.
They won’t be nearly as fast, but they work.
They are also significantly less expensive.
An external USB HDD with 8 TB of storage is priced somewhere between $159.99 and $200.
That’s more storage than you’re likely to ever use with your Xbox.
If you’re on the fence about whether you should buy an SSD expansion card or just use a traditional external HDD, here’s a quick breakdown that might help:
- SSDs are way more expensive for less storage capacity.
- SSDs are 100 times faster than HDDs.
- HDDs are inexpensive and you can get higher capacities up to 16 TBs.
You may find that the internal storage suits your needs just fine, but if you decide to go for the extra storage you have plenty of options.