Kindle 3

I got a Kindle 3! Yay!

All in all, so far, I love this device. I’ve been reading books on my iPhone and iPad so far, but at this point, I’d highly recommend it!

I got the $139 version which has wifi only, but for $189 you can snag a 3G version that will let you download eBooks from anywhere without setting up your own wireless network.

So to start with it, the packaging is very Apple-like. So is the charger. That’s nice. It doesn’t come in a shipping box, the box it comes in IS the shipping box, that’s a damn nice design to avoid wasted packing materials.

Out of the box is a nice experience; the Kindle itself is wrapped in plastic and the screen has instructions on how to get started printed on it. If you want to look like less of a fool than me, you won’t try and pry them off since unlike most devices that have a beautifully printed plastic cover over the screen, the startup instructions are the screen itself! Talk about a great first impression.

Oh, and yes, there is a charger plus a USB cable included in the box. Another nice touch in a day where $300 devices *cough*iPod Touch*cough* don’t include power adapters.

I already have a Kindle account and read eBooks on my iPad and iPhone, when I fired up the Kindle it was pre-configured to my Amazon account and once I got wifi connected, I was immediately able to download books that I’d already purchased.

The screen is absolutely beautiful, the Kindle is so much lighter than I’d expected, and it’s a very comfortable fit in the hand. There are page-turn buttons on the left and right, so it’s great regardless of which hand you’re using at that particular moment.

Unfortunately I did have one fairly major problem with the wifi setup. On the plus side it should work fine for most normal home networks, the problem only occurs when using a configuration that is more common in business networks.

If you really care about the details, read on:


It’s looking like a bug in Kindle’s network stack.  Specifically, the device breaks when a DHCP server returns this configuration:

IP: 172.16.0.1
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway: 172.16.0.1
DNS Server: 172.16.0.40

After the Kindle obtains an IP address, it attempts to send a DNS lookups to 172.16.0.40, but routes the packets to the default gateway instead of correctly delivering them to the local network.

Interestingly this works on “normal” home LANs where 172.16.0.1 is both a router and DNS server, but breaks on a more “corporate” style LAN where the router/firewall/default-gateway is not the DNS server.

I’ve reported the problem to Amazon’s support, we’ll see how much hassle it is to get through the first level support droid.

16 thoughts on “Kindle 3

  1. I’ve just came across this exact same problem myself. I’ve also contacted support (Amazon UK in my case) although I hope it gets through to someone with some technical knowledge, I’m sure I didn’t explain it very well! (I have pointed them to this blog entry though as you’ve explained it very clearly!)

    Hope they can fix it soon, no Wi-Fi for me in the meantime! 🙁

  2. Credit where it’s due, my bug report to Amazon got a “We’ll pass this up to our programmers” or similar rather than a “Have you tried clearing your cookies” or whatever crap that I’d expected a front-line script monkey to suggest.

    Thanks Amazon for having non-idiots in technical support!

    Amazon just released a Kindle 3 beta, I haven’t tried it yet but if you’re anxious for wifi it might be worth trying.

    Neil, as a workaround can you hardcode your IP information and use an external DNS server? 8.8.8.8 should work (if the request makes it through your firewall) since the default gateway will likely be willing to route this packet.

  3. Good post, I’ve hit the same issue. It is weird that there so little mention of it anywhere else. I know that DHCP with a separate DNS server does work as I had my Kindle working fine with a firewall from work (Stonegate). But with my pfSense system, no go. I wonder if the Stonegate was sending back ICMP redirects to the Kindle with the proper MAC address of the DNS server (and not the default gateway address).

    Confirmed there is no fix for the 3.0.1 code. I see Amazon has a pre-release of 3.0.2, so will see if that resolves it.

    Thedave — good workaround using Google’s DNS. I’ll give that a go if the 3.0.2 code doesn’t work.

  4. Yeah I’m guessing that most home networks either have the router as a DNS server or an ISP DNS server and not many people use a Kindle on work wifi.

    Really unless you’re wifi-only why would you stress about it?

    3.0.1 doesn’t help here either, 3.0.2-preview is on my todo list top but I haven’t had a chance yet, hopefully later this week.

    The annoying part, to me, about using an external DNS is that I can’t load books from an internal web server…

    If 3.0.2 doesn’t fix it then it’s time to yell at Amazon again 🙂

  5. And I’ll yell too! 🙂

    Another option is to create a separate DHCP scope for the Kindle that provides an ISP (or Google or OpenDNS) DNS server list. I’ll post back here with details. And yell at Amazon to follow the RFCs…. grrr.

  6. You might not even need a separate DHCP scope if your DHCP server can assign (or override) DHCP options on a per-MAC address basis.

    Microsoft DHCP can do this effortlessly if you assign a static IP to the Kindle.

  7. I’m having the exact same problem, and here I thought it was something wrong with my wireless setup! NOPE!

    After setting my wireless up for OPEN then sniffing it I saw the strange DNS queries, then I looked at my Firewall logs and saw what it was doing which was completely wrong and led me here..

    The stack is so broken in fact that it won’t work with static addressing using an internal or external nameserver, it *HAS* to use DHCP in order to function!

    Come on Amazon, this was is a little Linux box, did you really have to cripple it that much?

    So, the only work around I’ve found was to enter an external nameserver in my DHCP scope, once you do that it works great, but of course then you’ve just broken the rest of your network! 🙁

    Get it together Amazon and fix this!

  8. So Amazon wrote back:


    Hello,

    Thanks for writing about the DNS and namesever issue you are facing. We have no further comment.

    Customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the service we provide, and we’re glad you took time to write to us. The Kindle Team will carefully review your comment.

    Thanks for your interest in Kindle.

    Did I solve your problem?

    Wow, that’s real helpful so I’m going to say NO!

    Everyone else get about the same response?

    You know, I think I’m going to write them every day with the same message until I actually get something a bit more helpful..

  9. Obviously I wasn’t satisfied with their first response so I wrote them again, and here’s what I got back..

    Thanks for writing about DHCP server settings.

    We are currently, working hard to improve the networking issues and to make the Kindle more user friendly with updates being released at the appropriate time. We have not set an date when the next update would be released.

    Customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the service we provide, and we’re glad you took time to write to us. The Kindle Team will carefully review your suggestions.

    I’ll make sure your feedback is passed on to the Kindle development team.

    Thanks for taking the time to write to us. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

    Guess that’s better than before, but we’ll have to keep on them if we hope to ever get this fixed..

  10. I have been having this problem because at home I too use different DNS and gateway addresses. I checked today and Amazon are offering an early preview of v3.0.3 software for the Kindle 3. I’ve upgraded and my WiFi connection now works fine.

  11. I just upgraded to 3.0.3 and what do you know it totally works!

    *AWESOME*

    I have to say Amazon really came through on this, although they’ve known about it for a while..

    UPGRADE NOW!!! 🙂

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