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Why your Kindle won't connect to Wi-Fi

Posted on 26 Sep 2011 at 09:43

Paul Ockenden discovers why some Kindle ebook readers won't connect to a wireless network

Here's a tip-off for Kindle owners, the seeds of which were sown by a friend who works at Tesco.

Although the supermarket sells a lot of Kindles (and if you’d followed me on Twitter, you’d have seen how to save about £24 when buying one there a few weeks ago), they also get a lot returned. It seems that people have trouble connecting Kindles to their Wi-Fi. Now with 3G Kindles, this is less of a problem (although it does mean you don’t get free downloads of your Instapaper articles) – but it’s a real killer for a Wi-Fi-only device.

The Kindle was designed in the USA and so uses only the US Wi-Fi channels one to 11

Strangely, search the Kindle help pages on Amazon and you won’t find an answer, but it’s simple (and very stupid). The Kindle was designed in the USA and so uses only the US Wi-Fi channels one to 11. If your wireless router is set to use channels 12 or 13 (or 14, if you’re being really naughty) your Kindle won’t see the network, despite it being a Kindle with UK settings.

The answer is to change the channel on your Wi-Fi router to be in the one to 11 range. This isn’t ideal – and frankly, I’d class it as a bug. Somehow I doubt Amazon cares.

(Update: Since this article was first published in PC Pro, I've received several emails from readers saying that at long last they've been able to to connect their Kindle to their wireless network, but I received a few from those who say they're happily using a Kindle on channels 12 or 13. Obviously, there's something odd going on here: I wonder whether there are some slight different hardware revisions out there, or whether perhaps Amazon is testing firmware updates on a few users before releasing to the whole user base. Let's hope it's the latter.)

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User comments

Wifi Kindle connections

It might also be to do with the password length. I've had problems connecting to my phone's hotspot when the password was >8 characters. I changed to an 8 character password and it worked OK.

Probably not a problem for most peoples' home routers as the default passwords will be 8 characters.

By Nafod on 26 Sep 2011

@Nafod

Bleh! If that is the case, that rules it out on my network. The passphrase for WPA2 is over 25 characters, and I wouldn't change the passphrase for a recalictrant device, I'd look elsewhere and get a device that takes security seriously.

By big_D on 26 Sep 2011

Not just Kindle

Channel selection seems to have cropped up as an issue with some tablets as well.

By d_marchant on 26 Sep 2011

Not just Kindle

Channel selection seems to have cropped up as an issue with some tablets as well.

By d_marchant on 26 Sep 2011

Kindle Security

Could The Kindle Threaten Your Data Security? http://ow.ly/6F4cf

By cloud_zone on 26 Sep 2011

password length a red herring?

My router has a 14 character P/W. No problems at all. Sits quite happily on Ch 13 as well. Kindle v3.1

By mikejdcastle on 27 Sep 2011

Does the Kindle have Wi-Fi Alliance certified Wi-Fi?

I can find no reference to the Kindle in the Wi-Fi Alliance's database of certified products and it is conspicuously absent from their 2011 Gadget Guide (this listing the Sony Reader). Likewise I can find no details about the certification status of the Kindle from Amazon's website. The absence of this information leads me to question whether Amazon are legitimately using the term 'Wi-Fi' in their product name and particulars - since this term has been trademarked by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The reason why this is important is that products that carry the Wi-Fi Alliance's logo and branding have been independently tested and found to implement at least a minimum defined profile of 802.11 that will allow it to interwork with other similarly certified products.

The absence of this certification raises questions about both the functionality implemented and the sourcing of their wireless adapters.

The other side of this coin is the access point/router to which connection is being attempted. It too really needs to be Wi-Fi Alliance certified.

By RBell6 on 28 Sep 2011

Quick question for those using CH13

Those of you who are able to connect your Kindle to WiFi channel 13, can you say what encryption you are using (WEP / WPA / WPA2) ? I think I'm starting to see a pattern....

Thanks,

Paul.

By PaulOckenden on 29 Sep 2011

Alternatively

You could save a lot more than £24 and save wasted time tinkering with your router.
Just buy a real book.

By RedForest on 8 Oct 2011

Channel 13 Theory

My wife this evening asked me to 'fix' her kindle, which she could no longer get on the home wireless network. Stopped working 'in the last few weeks' apparently.

No config changes to the wireless - we've been on channel 13 with WPA for at least 1 year. Kindle can't see the network. Switching to e.g. channel 1, and all is well.

My suspicion is that her kindle got the 3.2.1 firmware pushed to it, and that's the culprit, since it used to work with no problems.

By sierraindigo on 10 Oct 2011

Intermittent connection

Last week my wife asked what I'd done to the WiFi as her Kindle didn't connect anymore. I haven't changed anything and all other devices still work (iPad, print server, phones, laptop etc).

It's on channel 13 using WEP (I know I know but I do restrict by MAC address and have never got round to changing everything to WPA2) because all the neighbours seem to flood the other channels.

I asked whether she'd had a firmware update but she didn't know.

It has connected once since, but dropped out again the other night.

There's a new router coming soon anyway so I'm expecting all the problems will then go away.

By normster on 17 Oct 2011

No problems with mine

My Kindle ver 3.2.1 has no problems connecting to any channel even 12 &13. Using WPA2 encryption as well. So no idea what is happening to others units.

By curiousclive on 20 Oct 2011

Problem seems to be sloved but likley to reoccur

Mine worked fine, only got it this week. Then it stopped working, would not connect despite being able to see the wifi network. I changed the channel from 11 which mine was already set to 12, and tested it. The Kindle still could not see it. THen I changed it back to channel 11 and the kindel was fine. TO be honest, with all the hype aronud the kindle I expected better... a little disappointed with my purchase now.

By jsherwood on 22 Feb 2012

Issues.. Oh Kindle, you so silly

I work for tech support for an ISP (WOW!) and I've had a few different customers call in with this issue. I've also experienced this issue myself!
The only solution so far seems to be to power cycle (unplug and then plug back in) the router/modem combo. I've found this mostly happening on Arris modem/router combos. I've found it twice on the TG862G and once on the DG860 ... anyone else using an Arris getting this issue?

By MicaTurtle on 14 Aug 2014

Oh Kindle, you so silly!

I work for tech support for an ISP (WOW!) and I've had a few different customers call in with this issue. I've also experienced this issue myself!
The only solution so far seems to be to power cycle (unplug and then plug back in) the router/modem combo. I've found this mostly happening on Arris modem/router combos. I've found it twice on the TG862G and once on the DG860 ... anyone else using an Arris getting this issue?

By MicaTurtle on 14 Aug 2014

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Paul Ockenden

Paul Ockenden

Paul is a contributing editor to PC Pro specialising in smartphones, mobile broadband and all things wireless. He's technical director of a combined IT and marketing company, which works on websites and intranets for several blue-chip clients.

Read more More by Paul Ockenden

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