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I still have the original DS and can only get online by either using WEP or no security at all. This is an annoyance since my security is set to WPA2 on my router. What type of WiFi security do each of the DS models support? I guess that also leads to another question, do certain games only work on certain types of WiFi security or is it solely based on the DS itself?

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in short, its probably easier if you made a separate insecure network for WEP for your DS if you plan to use the online components – z ' Aug 28 '12 at 17:30
up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to Nintendo's Wifi help page:

Important note about the Nintendo DSi and WPA security: While the Nintendo DSi is compatible with WPA security, Nintendo DS games with online play still require the use of WEP or no security to connect with the Nintendo WFC.

After some clarification from Micheal Madsen, it seems the answer is slightly more complicated than initially assumed. I'm basing my answer here on the connectivity section of the wiki page, and the above statement from Nintendo.

  • 3DS and DSi: WEP will work, guaranteed. WPA and WPA2 will work if the game supports it.
  • DS: WEP only.

So for ease of use, WEP is the lowest common denominator. All DS models (and games!) support WEP. Use that if you don't care about the encryption protocol, and your main focus is just getting online. Things get dicey if you own a DSi or 3DS. In that case, if you want to use WPA or WPA2, the game needs to support it, as well.

I went looking for a complete list of games that would support WPA, but all I found was "Newer games that were specifically developed for the DSi will support WPA". So there's no clear way to know if your game will work or not, other than to try it.

If you don't want to downgrade your encryption protocol, an alternate option is using the wireless dongle offered by Nintendo. Be warned that it can mess with your network, though; I ran into some fun internal network issues when it was active. The only way to resolve it was to unplug it, and reboot the router.

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DSi and later supports WPA and WPA2, but the games have to support it as well, so it only works with sufficiently new games (and even then, I'm not sure that it's a given they were compiled with a proper version of the WiFi library code). – Michael Madsen Aug 28 '12 at 16:25
@MichaelMadsen Do you have a source for that? The wiki states that the DSi only supports WEP or unencrypted. – Frank Aug 28 '12 at 16:42
It's actually listed in that Wikipedia article, though in a slightly roundabout way: "(only compatible with WEP or unencrypted networks while playing regular Nintendo DS games) ". To give an example, Pokémon Black/White supports it. If the game is DSi enhanced (e.g. uses the camera) and has WFC support, then it should support WPA on a DSi; I must admit I haven't tested any games released after that without (other) DSi enhancments. – Michael Madsen Aug 28 '12 at 16:55
Huh. That sounds like a terribly inefficient way to code for wireless. It works only when the game AND the system support it; lowest common denominator is that WEP is guaranteed to work, but everything above that is iffy. Bleh. – Frank Aug 28 '12 at 16:59
@fbueckert It's the only way it can work; the DS doesn't have any OS to abstract it away (so the code has to be on the cartridge), and the WiFi hardware didn't support WPA on a DS (Lite). And sorry to rain on your answer, but the 3DS has the same issue, since it doesn't attempt to fake WiFi for those games, but gives them direct access to the WiFi module - it's even listed in the manual (see page 90). – Michael Madsen Aug 28 '12 at 17:34

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