A few weeks before the Nintendo Switch came out, Nintendo announced that it wouldn’t have a web browser by default. As a result of this, it’s not possible to access internet sites through the console at the moment, since the only online connectivity features that work are the eShop and a couple of games online multiplayer.
However, that’s not stopping some people! Oh no, thanks to a trick involving a proxy and the Nintendo Network settings, it’s now possible to access any websites you like through the system. Hence turning the system settings page into an impromptu web browser!
Here’s a video by YouTube user NefariousSquid showing it in action:
So how does this work you may wonder?
Well, wifi networks are not always open by default. For example, in a coffee shop, school or library, you may have to log into a special page via the web browser to get access to the the internet. You know, to stop outsiders using the internet connection.
And so the Nintendo Switch is designed to work with this. It does by this constantly sending a request to http://conntest.nintendowifi.net and checking for an ‘X-Organization: Nintendo’ string in the response. If it gets one, it knows it’s online and the test succeeds. If not it knows traffic is being redirected and displays the relevant login page. While still checking for the response and considering the test successful if it succeeds.
Hence by modiying responses on the network level, we can trick the system. We can trick it into thinking we’re on a ‘captive portal network’ and display pages of our liking. Then by clicking on links there, we can go anywhere online.
It’s pretty cool really, and it acts like a decent browser substitute while the real thing isn’t available yet. So yeah, if you want to test it for yourself, check out the instructions on Reddit via the source link. Who needs a web browser for the console anyway, eh?