The original incarnation of XBOX Live 1.0 is possibly getting a new lease of life with a project known as Insignia. Insignia is a Work in Progress (WiP) reverse engineered network structure that will allow owners of the O.G. XBOX to play online with their games and consoles without any modifications needed. Modern Vintage Gamer (MVG) goes a bit more into the details about this project and even reveals he will be apart of the Beta test. The project announcement via Reddit is below in the links.
There have been other projects in the past to restore online functionality to consoles like the Dreamcast or Wii. As well as projects to get specific support for games like Phantasy Star Online or the original Metal Gear Online (via MGS 3 Subsistence) for example. Additionally there are options like XLink Kai which is a program that can simulate a Local Area Network (LAN) thus connecting users from afar by fooling the games and consoles to think they are on a local network. Sometimes referred to as “Tunneling”. This particular option allows XBOX System Link games to play over the internet. However not all XBOX Live 1.0 games had the ability for System Link further complicating the issue. Even worse is the fact that some of those System Link games had options or features curtailed and not present in its true online counter part.
Insignia hopes to be up and running by August 2020 and they are going to be rolling out a Beta test soon, so hopefully there is more exciting news to come. However these projects are often fraught with legal issues, and it will be curious to see how Microsoft looks at this. So please temper expectations with a project like this.