Browsing on a Kindle With AT&T Wi-Fi

by Ken Burnside Google
    The Kindle Paperwhite with 3G can, with some effort, be used as a general Web-browsing device.

    The Kindle Paperwhite with 3G can, with some effort, be used as a general Web-browsing device.

    David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Amazon's Kindle series of e-readers and multi-media tablets all have access to Wi-Fi networks, like your wireless router or at an Internet cafe. Some models, such as the Kindle Paperwhite 3G, have access to AT&T's 3G cellular data network. The Kindle Fire HD has an option for accessing AT&T's 4G LTE network. While connected to a network, you can purchase books and have them download wirelessly, as well as purchase music, purchase movies, or access media you already have through Amazon Prime.

    Determining Capabilities

    Because different Kindle models have different connection options, it is worth your time to see what kind of connection options your device has. On the "Home" screen, press "Menu," and use then select "Settings." In the "Device Info" section on the Settings page, it will list "Network Capability." If it says Wi-Fi and 3G, your Kindle can connect to the internet via a 3G cellular data connection or a wireless router. If it only says Wi-Fi, your Kindle can only connect to a wireless router. If you have a Kindle Fire HD with the ability to connect to 4G networks, that will also be listed here.

    Connecting to a 3G Network

    If your Kindle is turned on, you'll see a network indicator (3G, EDGE or GPRS) as an icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Your Kindle will connect to these networks automatically if they are available, without your having to turn the capability on. The 3G connections are turned off when the device has a valid Wi-Fi connection; both the Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity (and 4G connectivity for a Kindle Fire HD) can be turned off in the Settings panel; this is useful when you're using the device on an airplane, or need to preserve battery life.

    Wireless Plan Details

    For the Kindle with 3G connectivity, the AT&T wireless plan is part of the device, though you are paying roughly $60 more for the capability when the device is purchased. Amazon subsidizes the plan on the theory that you'll make more impulse purchases that way. For the Kindle Fire HD with a 4G connection, Amazon sells the first year of the 4G LTE connection for an additional $49.99. Currently there is no information on how the 4G LTE plan will renew, or what the renewal fee will be like.

    Connecting to Wi-Fi

    Your Kindle will have a faster connection via Wi-Fi than through a 3G connection. A 4G connection may be faster than an older wireless router for a Kindle Fire HD, but a Wi-Fi connection is generally faster. To connect your Kindle to your Wi-Fi network, click the "Home" button, and then press the "Menu" button on the home screen. Use the 5-way controller to select "Settings" and then select "View" next to the "Wi-Fi Settings" options. This will give a list of available Wi-Fi networks and their names; it may take a few seconds for the Kindle to detect all the available networks. Press the "Connect" icon next to the network you want to connect to; if you need to enter a Wi-Fi network password, you can use the Previous Page and Next Page buttons to get to the symbol keyboard for any special characters. Once your Kindle knows about a Wi-Fi network, it will connect to it automatically any time it's in range.

    Surfing the Web

    Out of the box, the Kindle allows you to surf and Wikipedia. You can also use it to log in to Twitter. Using the Kindle to log in to Twitter lets you follow @google, which in turn lets you click on a link to, and from there, you can enter search queries and get to the rest of the Internet. The Kindle Paperwhite isn't a great 3G Web-browsing device (the Kindle Fire HD is much better), but it may be the only one you've got.

    About the Author

    Ken Burnside has been writing freelance since 1990, contributing to publications as diverse as "Pyramid" and "Training & Simulations Journal." A Microsoft MVP in Excel, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He won the Origins Award for Attack Vector: Tactical, a board game about space combat.

    Photo Credits

    • David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images