Amazon Fire HD 8 Crashing My Wireless Router?!

I took advantage of Amazon Prime day this year and picked up a new Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet. While setting it up, I ran into problems when the wireless connection kept dropping. Others in the family had reported Wifi problems earlier in the day, so I didn’t think too much of it. Rebooted the cable modem and wireless router, but the problems persisted. Figured it was a problem at the cable company and decided to just let it go until the next day.

Unfortunately, the problems persisted into the next day… until I turned off Wifi on the Fire HD 8! It turns out that something about the Fire HD 8 was crashing my wireless router. This could be consistently demonstrated: the router crashed repeatedly every time I turned on Wifi on the Fire HD 8, and recovered when I turned off Wifi.

After doing some online research and finding a number of unusual solutions that were purported to work (make sure to check the “Hide Password” box on the Fire HD 8 before connecting? really?), I was able to track down the real problem (and a solution).

Wireless routers can be configured with a variety of different security options. These options control who has access to the network; it can be left entirely open for anyone to use, or can be secured using a variety of different protocols and encryption strategies.

Two of the strategies are to leave the network open or to use WEP security. Neither are good options: an open network is a bad idea, and WEP is a weak protocol.

Better options are WPA and WPA2, WPA2 being the most secure. My router’s configuration page includes the following description of the security options:

“Use ‘WPA or WPA2’ mode to achieve a balance of strong security and best compatibility. This mode uses WPA for legacy clients while maintaining higher security with stations that are WPA2 capable. Also the strongest cipher that the client supports will be used. For best security, use ‘WPA2 Only’ mode. This mode uses AES cipher. For maximum compatibility, use ‘WPA Only’. This mode uses TKIP cipher.”

Another thing to note is that the WPA2 with AES option allows for the highest wireless rate (generally around 130Mbps). WPA with TKIP is capped at a rate of 56Mbps.

How does all of this relate to the problem I was having with my Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet? My router had been configured as suggested, in ‘WPA or WPA2’ mode, for maximum compatibility. When I changed the configuration to WEP with TKIP only, the problems went away! It seems that something about my router, the Amazon Fire HD 8, and WPA2 with AES was a bad combination.

The solution was to configure the “Guest Zone” on my router, which effectively sets up a second network. I left my original network configured in ‘WPA or WPA2’ mode, so that all of my existing devices could take advantage of the better security and higher wireless throughput rate of WPA2 (assuming they supported it). The new “Guest” network was configured with ‘WPA Only’ and the TPIK cipher. I connected the Fire HD 8 to the “Guest” network, and now all of my devices (including the router!) are able to coexist peacefully together. As far as the lower throughput rate on the Guest network required by the ‘WPA Only’ option, it does not seem to be an issue. I have been able to stream video on the Fire HD 8 from several locations in the house, both near and relatively far from the wireless router.

Hope this information helps someone else!

 

7 Responses to Amazon Fire HD 8 Crashing My Wireless Router?!

  1. Tony Moon says:

    Super helpful post, thank you! I’m experiencing the same thing, I have two Amazon Fire HD 8 tablets for my kids and when I game I typically just power them down or block their connections from my router control panel. I like your solution better, cheers! 🙂

  2. Thanks. For some reason my firestick doesn’t play well with my new Galaxy phone. At first I blamed comcast, then my router, then my phone. Now I realize it was the firestick. It’s now connected to a hidden guest network.

  3. John R Young says:

    Recently we had purchased four kindle fires, 7 & 8’s for the children. Since the initial purchase there was a few time the kindles would stay connected, yet unable to use the internet. After several instances of resetting the router and reconnecting tablets, running static IP’s, I found several articles explaining the use of WEP authentication. As the article above stated WEP is unsafe and should not be used as it is hack-able in most circles using basic software. WPA2 would be better but even using this on the router the problem was persistent. I began to use AES+TKIP and the problem went away, the unfortunate part is the 54 Mbps bandwidth limitation, as in some instances the children go into another room and the connection drops significantly.

    AES in scope would provide a better bandwidth connection around 154 Mbps.

    What I have surmised is the architecture for the kindle fires (7’s, 8’s, 10’s) continue to run older a/b/g/n wireless adapter configurations and driver architecture and needs further updating or resourcing better WiFI adapters. This is just my opinion and like most companies use older frameworks with newer design to maximize profits. A good example was Packard Bell, and Dell computers.Same design strategies are used in the automobile manufacturing where car frames are utilized across multiple year vehicles even though the price tag goes higher, the 2018 frame fits a 2020 vehicle, with a 2019 engine.

    Cheaper = better profits.

  4. Roger Carter says:

    Incredibly helpful post, thank you! I had the same problem with my Qwest (CenturyLink) PK5000Z modem/router crashing all the way to power cycling. After fruitless hours on the phone with CenturyLink (they said it was my defective power outlet!) I ran more tests and discovered that my Firestick (via WiFi) OR simply doing a search on Amazon Prime on a wired PC was causing the problem. All other Internet use did not cause the problem. I then discovered this post. Unfortunately, I could not find a ‘guest’ setting on this modem so I switched to WPA-2 only instead of WPA or WPA-2. So far, everything works. I can surf Amazon and use the Firestick OK, but the system hasn’t been up long. If it crashes again I will add to this post.

    • Roger Carter says:

      Unfortunately, it is still crashing, though not as frequently as before. It plays HD video through the Firestick perfectly with no crashes, but it crashes sometimes while navigating the Prime Video menu system and selecting streams. Back to the drawing board.

      • Roger Carter says:

        I found out how to add guest networks to my modem and added one for the Firestick only, with WEF security. However, the problem continues, both on WiFi and wired. Amazon Prime is always the culprit. I am going to change the power supply as the CenturyLink tech thinks it is a power problem. However, it seems unlikely to me as only surfing Amazon Prime causes it, nothing else.

      • mlichtenberg says:

        The router that I had at the time of my original post was fairly old (much older than the Amazon technologies that were not playing well with it). I have since come to believe that Amazon devices just do not work well with some older routers.

        If https://www.amazon.com/Qwest-Centurylink-Zyxel-PK5000Z-Wireless/dp/B006HX83LM is the router that you have, I see that it was first available in 2011, so it is not a new piece of technology. And FWIW Amazon users have only given it 2.1 out of 5 stars.

        Obviously, I’m just guessing, but suspect that router might be your problem.

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