Why your Kindle won't connect to Wi-Fi

Amazon Kindle

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.)