WiFi Issues with Kindle Fire HD

[note: post updated on 12/29 with a possible fix, see below.  Let me know if it works for you.] Kindle Fire HD

I got my wife a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas and have been working on setting it up for an hour or two today (off and on).  I am a fan of Amazon.com and have owned Kindle’s in the past (I currently use an iPad 2 as my preferred tablet device), and was surprised to run into WiFi issues during the setup.

I connected to my home WiFi just fine, but going through the device registration (to my wife’s Amazon account), it would fail.  I would go back, say register later and start troubleshooting the wifi.  Any time I would reconnect to wifi, it would work for a few minutes (browse the web, do a search in the app store, etc), but almost immediately it would drop the wifi connection.  The Kindle would show that it was still connected to WiFi, with a strong signal (and a valid Internet connection – as there was no little white “X” in the wifi signal strength icon that means no connection to the Internet).

The temporary workaround was to either shut-off WiFi on the Kindle, and then turn it back on and let it reconnect and use the connection for a minute or two.  Or, essentially the same thing, turn on Airplane Mode and then turn it off again.blue_wifi

My wife was getting frustrated that all other devices in our house seem to work fine, but she would not use the Kindle if she had to do this every few minutes.  I can’t say I blame her.

Searching the Internet I found a suggestion to change the wireless router channel (I was originally on channel 7, switched to 11, 1, 2 etc, none of which worked).  I fiddled with a few other router settings, but could not get anything to keep the Kindle connected.

So I called Amazon tech support.  After just a few minutes of explaining my problem and the Kindle’s behavior to the level 1 support analyst, she put me through to a level 2 technical support person.   He seemed familiar with the problem, and described that it was related to my wireless security options.

I am running a NetGear WNR3500L router with WPA2-PSK.  My passphrase is what I was putting in the Kindle Fire HD during WiFi setup.  The Kindle was taking my passphrase just fine, and authenticating, but apparently drops the authentication (or key) somewhere along the way after using it a while.  You need to put in the actual WPA key instead of the passphrase.  Ok, great.  The nice thing is the Kindle doesn’t really tell you this, nor does the Amazon Kindle online help (at least not very clearly).

Getting my 64 char length hex WPA key (from my passphrase) was another ordeal, and will save that for another post if needed.  Assuming you can obtain your hexadecimal key, and have the patience to type it into the Kindle Fire, you should authenticate fine and stay up and running.  At least ours has for about an hour or two.  Fingers crossed this was the actual solution, and it won’t start dropping the connection again.

Update 12/29 #1:

Sadly, the full hex key did not work as a permanent solution.  It seemed to keep the Kindle Fire connected longer, but in the end it still dropped the WiFi connection – same as before.  As I commented below, I am still looking for a permanent solution.  As a temporary solution, I set up my WiFi routers Guest network, and set the security for that to be WEP.  The Kindle Fire HD seems Ok with my WEP security, it has not dropped at all since set up (it has been a few days).  As it is a guest network, I hid the SSID and going to set up MAC filtering to help prevent intruders (not too worried, as we live in a pretty remote area).  This also helped prevent me from changing my main access points security, which would have meant reconnecting countless devices throughout the house.  So all devices are happy for now.  I do wish that Amazon would push out an update for this bug, or at least acknowledge it on their online help.

Is anybody out there running Kindle Fire HD versions with WPA-PSK just fine?  I would imaging many are, and it is something to do with my router or network setup; however it would be good to get confirmation on what configurations the device seems to work fine for WPA-PSK.  If you feel like dropping a comment below, it would be appreciated.

Update 12/29 #2:

I “borrowed” my wife’s Kindle to play around with the wifi router setting some more.  I noticed another option on my WiFi security settings which was worth a try.  Here are the security options that my router supports:

  • None   (not recommended!)
  • WPA-PSK [TKIP]
  • WPA2-PSK [AES]   <== previously selected, and how all other devices in the house were previously authenticated against
  • WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES]  <== I just switched to this, using the same passphrase as before

I am not sure why I did not think of running the 4th option (which supports clients running WPA2-PSK and WPA-PSK simultaneously).  If this worked, it would allow my currently connected devices to continue using WPA2-PSK [AES] and not disconnect them (I am no WiFi expert, so I am not sure if they would reconnect fine with the same stored key or passphrase had I done a full switch over to WPA-PSK [TKIP].   So I tried the switch over to  “WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES]” mode and used the same passphrase as before.  My laptop and phone reconnected just fine (after the router restarted the wifi AP).  The Kindle connected just fine (with passphrase, I didn’t try the full 64-char hex key this time).  It has stayed connected over 30 minutes now (which is longer than the 1 – 2 minutes I would get before being dropped).  Third time is a charm, let’s see if this works as a long-term secure option.  Let me know if it works for you.

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27 Comments.

  1. Funny, I’m in exactly the same boat as you are – got my wife a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 as a xmas present, and few days later I’m struggling to see if I can get this resolved. We have multiple devices connected on our Wifi network, and all of those devices are behaving properly. All the solutions suggested to me so far at Amazon Kindle forums has only been temporary – ie: the problem returns after some minutes of browsing.

    I also use WPA setup

    Did the WPA key help at all?

  2. Nope, didn’t work for me, sadly. It did log me in with that long key (good to know), but after some time, I lost connectivity once again. Hopefully you figure out how to get your issue resolved.

  3. You are not alone. Even entering the WPA key itself did not work. I thought it did, but it started dropping again. As a temporary workaround, I opened up a guest wifi AP (as my router supports a guest network) and running with WEP security (yuck) and a hidden SSID for now. The Kindle is happy with WEP, but I am not. I am still looking for a more permanent solution (which will likely be an update to the Kindle Android OS I would imagine). But for now it is running happy. I will toy around with it a little more this weekend and see if I learn anything new. I am also going to update my post above to say the solution did not work. Let me know if you find anything else that works.

  4. WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES] is the option I’m already using, to no avail. Darn, for a second I thought your solution might have helped my situation out only to realize I already had that option set! But at least you’re getting better results!

    Just to add more details to this, our connection wasn’t really dropping after 1-2 mins.. it’s usually longer than that – like 10-15 minutes, and in some cases, longer, like 45 minutes. So time will tell if your problem is truly resolved. Let me know how it goes with your new security setup, fingers crossed!

  5. Just wanted to post that I am having the exact same problem. The only device to have issue is my wifes Kindle Fire HD 7″ and we have quite a number of wifi devices.

    I have since tried changing to channel 1 (one less wifi network), but I doubt this will help. Her device will last maybe an hour, then she restarts it. I fully believe this is an issue with the device drivers. Like you, I surmise running an older wifi security setup (like WEP or none at all) will allow it to work “forever”. Hopefully Amazon comes out with some patches soon.

  6. This is what I posted in a forum thread on Amazon today…

    Ok. I have the little white cross problem from time to time. This happens when I am using a ‘3’ 3G dongle plugged in to a WiFi type of adapter. My Blackberry mobile finds the network no problem and checking my WiFi data usage app I can see that it is definitely using WiFi and not its own 3G to access emails and the web etc. The Kindle Fire HD is connected to this same router but sometimes the little white X appears from the start and sometimes after a while. The only cure is the restart the router and that usually cures it.

    At home the Kindle connects fine to my main Netgear router BUT has the same white X problem when trying to connect to either of the two WiFi ‘extenders’ I also use about the house (again the Blackberry has no problem)

  7. Similar. Bought wife a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and we have UVerse. It will connect and run terrific when the network is unsecured, but with any type of security (WEP, WPA, WPA2) it will have serious connectivity issues in streaming video or app downloads. I have tried every damn thing to get it going, I am going to switch it out for another Kindle and hopefully it’s a 1-off situation. I am not thrilled, but I still got love for Amazon.

  8. Fixed!! My issue was that the KFHD8.9 doesn’t always play nice with WPA. Switched to WEP encryption and the problem has been completely solved. Hope that helps someone out there.

  9. Virgin Superhub/ KindleFire HD7. Latest Firmware both units.

    On hub
    1) WPA: auto On my version WEP is greyed out
    2) change primary SSID to anything of your choice
    3) change passphrase to anything of your choice
    Bingo! connection made

  10. having the same issue with my new KFHD7, driving me nuts turning the wifi on and off. I had to repost this because I lost connection while the post loaded…here. I also have wpa- psk security so will try to change the setting as others suggested. I thought it was my crappy old router but our iPad 2 never has connectivity issues.Thanks for this post.

  11. BTW, I increased the key renewal from the default 300 seconds to 7200 seconds. Anecdotally, my wife says it’s better. I refuse to downgrade to WEP to allow one device to work properly.

  12. Tried Ians suggestion, it connected and then next time I went to use the Kindle it wouldnt connect again. This is damn aggravating.

  13. I forgot to mention earlier that I did think it was a kindle issue so I too swapped mine out, turned out it’s a router/fire hd issue. I finally got it to work by switching to WEP.

  14. Same problem as the rest. One interesting thing is that I had no issues for the first month, so I have to assume Amazon broke Wifi with an update. Running 8.1.4 now. In my case cycling power on the router seems to resolve the problem temporarily.

  15. WiFi Issues with Kindle Fire HD | Coded Complex | autoblogcenter - pingback on February 27, 2013 at 10:59 pm
  16. Same issue with the fire hd and a 2nd generation fire dropping wifi connection. It didn’t start until I changed my modem/router. ISP tech support walked me through setting up the router when I changed it and that is when the problem began. Other two 1st gen fires are still okay.

  17. I have my router set to WPA-PSK. The solution that worked for me came with setting the QoS (Quality of Service) settings on my router to give the kindle highest traffic priority with regard to all wireless QoS Traffic options.

  18. I called ISP several times. They had me switch the security settings every which way it could go, changed the channel, changed the ssid. I also called amazon, but they said it was not a known issue. In the end, I hooked up my old router but still use the new gateway as a modem. Old router is Netgear WGR614v10. New gateway is Netgear model 7550. Maybe it has something to do with the firmware?

  19. Nate-
    Is the kindle fire still working since you made the changes in December? I just bought two kindle fire 7’s a month ago for my kids. We are having the same problem where they are losing connection constantly – though one is much worse than the other – while still connected to wifi. Please let me know if this was a permanent fix for you!

    • Jenny,

      The kindle fire is still working after I made those changes. We haven’t had any issues with connectivity at home since.

  20. Wow I’ve been banging my head against the wall when both mine and my husband’s Kindle Fire HD would drop out. This setting has helped so far, didn’t quite win reverting to WEP which I wasn’t really keen on doing anyway! Thanks so much!

  21. My Kindle HD worked fine for almost a year now, When I tried to stream a movie for my daughter it kept stopping the movie ever two to three minutes. I tried everything , ((I thought anyway)) I finally went downstairs and just restarted my cable modem and my E4200 linksys router. So far so good, it has been working for about a 1/2 hour now. Good luck to everyone.

    mihawk

  22. My problem is a bit different. As long as the Kindle is being USED, it stays connected. However, if it goes to sleep, either by manually turning off or via the built in inactivity timeout and is left in that state for about 15 minutes or more, it drops the connection and I then have to toggle the WiFi off and then back on to reconnect.

  23. Pinebear- I’m having the same issue which began at the end if Sept. No solution yet!

  24. Thank you all. I have had my Fire HD for 1 1/2 years. Worked fine in WPA all that time. All of a sudden it drops out and still shows connected. Turn 5 ghz. off and on and it works for two or three apps. Changed to WEP and it seems to work fine. Stopped me from throwing it in the trash. Amazon no help at all. My next one will be android or apple.

  25. Every time I use my kindle the screen go’s dimmer ,for no reason at all,can you help please.

  26. Mine has trouble on wakeup. Turning on then off airplane mode fixes things, but that is a real pain. It things it is connected, but needs the reset to really connect.

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