To refresh your memory, I posted here that I was unable to get Kindle Fires to get to the internet through our Wireless system using DHCP. The device would get a valid IP address and could be pinged from within the network but would not get out to the internet.
There is no way to drill down in the Kindle to see what the subnet mask, default gateway and DNS information it was getting for the DHCP server. I suspect that they are not getting all the info needed from the DHCP server but I have no way to prove that. As soon as I put in a static IP along with the rest of the info, it zipped right to the internet.
In researching this issue and reaching out on tecsig as well as other experts through other venues, it appears that this is a widespread problem with the Kindle Fire. Across the board, the only way to guarantee connectivity is to put static information in the Kindle Fire. Fortunately, the Kindle is easy to turn static on and off and it retains the static info entered so all a user has to do is turn static on and off as necessary.
The students and staff that have brought their Kindle Fires to school have all had a connectivity issues. Once I assign a static IPs and show them how to turn static on and off, it became a non-issue.
I tried to get in touch with someone at Amazon that I could talk with about the issue and how it relates to sales. That proved to be an impossible task. Amazon is one of the toughest companies to actually talk to a knowledgeable person that I have ever seen. They have their “firewall” reps in India or Pakistan and I could not get past them even when I asked to be transferred to someone in the US. There may be a way around that but I couldn’t find it in the short time I had.
The bottom line is the Kindle Fire is temperamental when trying to connect it to your network but that is overcome by assigning static IP addresses. The Kindle Fire still beats most other tablets for the price other than the IPad. We are still looking at the Kindle Fire as well as the Nook and some other devices for a test deployment in a classroom or two.
I would be curious to hear from anyone out there that has deployed any Kindle Fires, Nooks, or similar devices in their district and get any feedback you may have. I know a lot of you have deployed IPads but we simply do not have that kind of money and are looking for a good inexpensive solution that will do the job.
While other Texas districts are reporting that they haven’t experienced this issue, it’s clear that companies like Amazon may need to develop better interfaces that make it easier for school districts to connect with them better. What a great opportunity for Amazon to reach a wider audience in K-12 schools!
UPDATE 01/11/2012: Another update from the school district technologyfeatured above:
A short update.
Yesterday, I rounded up as many different devices as I could find and checked connectivity to my wireless network. The lot included older Kindles, IPads, I-Phones, several Android phones, a Nook, and several other off brand tablets. Every one of them connected to my DHCP server, got a valid IP address and went to the internet with no issues. A couple of the Android devices gave me a little trouble. Basically, I had to force the connection but then they were fine.
Several school districts responded through tecsig that they had no problems with the Fire. Several responded that they did. My consultant is pretty smart. He also checked with his friend at [another large district]. They have/had the same issue. My consultant checked all my network and firewall settings and could not explain why I was having this issue.
To further complicate the issue, if I entered all the network connection settings statically, the Kindle Fire connected just fine.
The bottom line to all this is that……..well, no one seems to know. I’m still planning on getting some Kindle Fires for the classroom. I’ll just configure them with static IPs and move on. It seems to be a mystery.
Probably my biggest complaint is Amazon. There doesn’t appear to be a way to speak with a US based, knowledgeable person. They need to learn the lesson that Dell did and bring all their education and business support back to the US. While I am going to use the Kindle Fire as an evaluation tablet for a couple classrooms, I will not make a large purchase until I know there is someone to talk to when I have an issue come up. It’s frustrating because I think the Fire is going to eventually beat out most if not all tablets except the IPad, mainly because of the price and what can be done with it. Amazon has an opportunity to take over the Non-IPad (is that a word? LOL) market but their customer service, or lack thereof, may prevent that.
Update 1/24/2012: It appears that the problem experienced by the school district quoted above was a local issue, NOT Amazon’s fault. Here’s the solution to the problem for other districts/orgs that may have encountered this problem:
I thought I would pass along some info that I finally figured out and some of you might be able to use down the road.
If you recall, I was the one asking for help on resolving a connectivity issue with Kindle Fires, or more specifically, the lack of a connection. I could connect with a static IP addressing scheme but the minute I switched over to DHCP, nada.
It turns out it was a DNS issue. I have several DNS IP addresses I use. It’s a long story as to why but they are all necessary. Apparently Kindles and I’m sure a lot of other devices only accept one or two DNS IPs when set to DHCP. I’m basing that on the fact that if I enter the info statically, there are only boxes for two DNS settings. The DNS setting I was using when I set it up statically was actually 3rd on the DNS list at the DHCP server. When I moved the DNS that worked statically up to 1st on the list, everything started working as it should.
I have been driving myself nuts for 2 weeks trying to figure out why the Kindle would not work when set to DHCP and it turns out to be something this simple. Now that I’ve found it, I’m kicking my rear because I should have found something that simple earlier.
So there it is. Something so simple yet hard to find. My Kindles are now working great.
In response to this, I sought clarification…”Was this you or Amazon?” and received this response:
Alas, I’m afraid so. Mea Culpa!
I still think Amazon needs to get on the ball with their customer service. I really think the Kindle Fire will quickly become # 2 in the market simply because of what it can do and the price. Those two factors could, very well send it past the IPad in sales. I believe they have a huge potential in the education market if they’ll get more responsive on their tech support/customer service side.
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure