Get Your Wireless Network On

Get Your Wireless Network On

Set up a wireless network at home so that you can connect your PSP to the Internet for upgrades, faster infrastructure, LAN parties with more players, and even browsing the Internet.

If you want to connect your PSP to the Internet to download a few new race-tracks for Wipeout Pure, to browse the Web [Hack #41], or to play with other PSP owners over the Internet [Hack #37]—in short, if you want to use the wireless capabilities of your PSP to do anything other than simply play games in ad hoc wireless mode with your local friends—then you are going to need to set up a wireless network environment that works well with the PSP.

The Basics

If you don't already have a wireless network set up, you'll need to get your hands on some equipment.


Even if you are still working off of a dial-up connection, you can find wireless routers that plug into your phone line. For example, Apple's AirPort Extreme Base Station (with Modem and Antenna Port) has a 56k modem built in, and will still connect to a DSL or cable modem if you decide to upgrade in the future.

Wireless routers are relatively cheap these days, especially if you are going for the slightly slower 802.11b variant, which will play very nicely with the PSP (see the next section). As an Apple user, I'm a big fan of AirPort, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Express. The latter of these solutions is a nice, portable wireless access point that simply needs an Ethernet connection to your DSL/cable modem and an open electrical plug. However, all these Apple-branded solutions are rather expensive, as they all run in the over-$75 range.

If you have a desktop computer that is plugged directly via Ethernet cable into your broadband modem, and no other computers are in need of a wireless solution, your best bet may be to get an internal wireless card for your computer, and set your computer up as a wireless access point via which you can connect your PSP.

Otherwise, shop around online and in your local electronics stores for the best deals. Linksys, D-Link, and Belkin are just a few of the manufacturers of 802.11 wireless products, and you can usually find nice deals online and some good-quality store-rebated items, so you shouldn't have to spend over $35–45 for an effective 802.11b router. Once you purchase your router, follow the instructions included with the device for setting it up.


One of the slight disappointments (for me, anyway) when I first got my hands on my PSP was discovering that the wireless capabilities of the device were 802.11b and not 802.11g.

My network at home is all 802.11g; I have an AirPort Extreme Base Station acting as an access point, an AirPort Express acting as a wireless bBridge for my ReplayTV, and two Apple PowerBooks with AirPort Extreme inside. This meant that I could only set the AirPort Base Station to be 802.11g, thereby ensuring the fastest connection speeds possible.

Now, fortunately, 802.11g is backward compatible with the slower 802.11b wireless protocol used by the PSP. However, in order for my 802.11g network to be compatible with the PSP's 802.11b, I had to enable connectivity between 802.11b devices as well. Why is this bad news? Well, anytime an 802.11b device hooks into the network, it slows down the connectivity of all those 802.11g devices. All of this is relative, of course, as both 802.11b and 802.11g speeds plugged into a cable modem blow dial-up out of the water. Addendum June 07: With a later firmware update, the PSP turns on 802.11g and WPA 1 and WPA 2. I can not tell you exactly what firmware update did it, but it was after 2.81 and either 3.30 or before.(Joel)


Another issue with the PSP is security. If you have a PSP with Version 1.0–1.52 of the firmware, the only wireless security option available to you is WEP, which is the most easily cracked wireless encryption protocol out there. WPA is more secure, so both the PSP and, more importantly, your network, will be more vulnerable while using WEP.

WEP is better than nothing, however, so if you're using older firmware, configure your network for a WEP password, and navigate to your network settings on your PSP (Settings → Network Settings, hit the X button and choose Infrastructure Mode, and hit the X button again). Choose the connection that you want to edit and scroll forward until you reach the WLAN Settings pane.

Make sure that your wireless network's name appears under SSID. If it doesn't, scroll down to Scan, hit the X button, select your wireless network from the list that appears on the next page, and hit the X button again. This will take you back to the WLAN Settings page.

Now scroll down to where it reads None under Encryption and hit the X button. Use the up or down arrow on the keypad to toggle None to WEP and hit the X button. Now hit the right arrow on the keypad to bring up a screen asking you to enter your WEP key. Hit the X button, and the PSP's text entry screen will come up. When you are done entering your password, scroll up to the Enter button on the text entry screen and hit the X button again.

If you already have WPA set up in your current network, you're going to have to disable it for your Version 1.0–1.52 firmware PSP to be able to access your network. If you have a PSP with Version 2.0 of the firmware, however, you can set the WPA settings on your PSP to work with your WPA-enabled network. This will be nearly identical to the procedure for enabling WEP encryption, except you will toggle down to WPA-PSK under the WLAN Security Setting and enter your WPA password.

Now, your PSP should connect with your WEP-/WPA-encrypted network; however, I have found that I get a better connection with the PSP when I disable the encryption, so I usually do when I am going to be using the PSP wirelessly with my home network. Part of this is a luxury of location. I'm in an old, thick-walled apartment on the top floor of my apartment building that blocks 802.11 like you wouldn't believe, so very little, if any, of my wireless broadcast is extending outside of my apartment. If you are living in a paper-thin-walled building, you might not want to disengage your encryption with such frivolity.


When connecting your PSP to a wireless network, all you really need to do is make sure that you have an 802.11b-compatible wireless network running and that you've flipped the WLAN switch on the bottom-left corner of your PSP into the on position. All the other options discussed in this group of tips are merely to help improve upon the wireless connectivity of the PSP. I always disable security and switch my network to Channel 1 when I'm about to use my PSP for online fun, but it doesn't mean that this is something you must do. If you are having trouble connecting to your network, however, try giving these measures a shot.

Hacking the Hack

If you really want to trick out your wireless network connectivity, make sure you check out all the other wireless related hacks in this book, especially "Add an External Wireless Antenna" [Hack #17].

Get Your PSP Wireless Network On || Create Your PSP Web Portal

PSP Hacks
By C.K. Sample, III
ISBN: 0-596-10143-0
Copyright © 2006 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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