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Kindle Fire WiFi vs Kindle Whispernet?

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Showing 1-25 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 4, 2012 3:23:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 2:57:54 AM PDT
SL Cole says:
I *think* I might know the answer to this question, but I just want to clarify that I'm understanding things accurately:

When I buy a "regular" Kindle eReader I get "free internet access" in that I can find, purchase, and download books to my Kindle without using any of my bandwidth... or whatever you call it... from my internet service provider because it bypasses our home WiFi network entirely. Right? (*in other words, I'm not using my home WiFi when my Kindle downloads something via Whispernet*)

BUT, if I got a Kindle Fire, it does not access 3G or 4G cell phone access and also does not access Whispernet? Or it only uses Whispernet to download books and synchronize notes, etc, between other Kindle readers/apps, but if I wanted to watch a tv show or movie on a Kindle Fire *that* would require using my home WiFi connection and "burn" my monthly allotment of data from my home cable internet service provider... right?

If it helps, the primary reason I'm asking is, we will be living full time in a motor home in a short while. We plan to get Verizon Mobile Broadband service and will probably get the 10GB p/mth service. My husband was wondering, if we got a Kindle Fire would we be able to watch movies or tv shows *without* using up any of our Verizon Mobile Broadband (WiFi) 10GB data access... or would downloading or streaming movies to a Kindle Fire use our Verizon 10GB month's data access to do that? (eta: basically, we will be traveling with our own "mobile hotspot" for guaranteed - but limited - internet WiFi service where ever we go... we won't have to depend on libraries, hotel lobbies, or Starbucks to get WiFi service and won't have traditional "ISP" or cable service like we have in our home now.)

I say yes it uses *our* WiFi access not Amazon's; he thinks the Kindle Fire works like our Kindle eReader and is separate from our WiFi network... that it is access Amazon provides with our Prime Membership by using a Kindle Fire to access it.

A related question: if we got a Kindle Fire, if we used a hotspot or something like that to download movies or tv shows we purchased via Amazon, would that even work? Would we able to, for example, download this week's episode of Rizzoli & Isles while we drank our Starbucks? Or would their network even let us do that because it would be such a data-suck on their network?


Is he right? Or am I?... or do we both have it wrong?

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 3:42:27 AM PDT
Fud53 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 4:04:29 AM PDT
S. Prewitt says:
Whispernet is what Amazon calls its 3G data network.

The Kindle Fire uses Wi-Fi, not Whispernet. It will use your wireless router and your Verizon-supplied data.

As for whether you can download movies using free Wi-Fi providers like Starbucks, here's my experience: When I tried to download a movie I had purchased to my Kindle Fire at two different McDonalds, the download failed both times. I suspect McDonalds blocks large data downloads. (I'm guessing though, and you might have different results in other cities.) Then I tried to download the same movie at my public library, and the download completed with no problems. I've never tried Starbucks.

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 4:35:13 AM PDT
fleaBe says:
I believe even with the 3G models, if wifi is present and it is able to connect it will choose that over 3G. Assuming your wifi is password protected (it should be!) and you don't provide the pw - then yes it would use 3G.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 4:36:42 AM PDT
L L. says:
Not true. Whispernet is NOT what amazon calls its 3G dats network. It is amazons delivery service ,whether it is wifi or 3G, in the beginning it was only cellservice so many people now are confused and belive whispernet only refers to cellservice and not wifi. If you have a wifi kindle then your books are sent to your kindle via whispernet with your wifi signal.

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 5:05:50 AM PDT
gypsy1 says:
We live full-time also, and have been for just about a year. A hot-spot is great and the most affordable way to have reliable internet, but you certainly won't be able to stream video. So, I think, if you go to say Starbucks, you can download a video and watch it when you get home. But, remember, Amazon Prime video service is streaming so it doesn't put the video on your device, it needs a constant internet connection to watch. Also, the Fire doesn't have much on-board storage, so you could only load a couple of movies of TV shows to it before you ran out of room. Also, many places that provide free internet are not secure, or all that fast. Starbucks is great to get your email, but downloading a movie there takes a long time, and if there are a lot of people on the network it will be even slower. My advice would be, get a regular Kindle, they are fantastic for reading, and getting your morning newspaper. And you don't have to worry about internet to download a new book if you can't sleep at 2:00 AM. If you want to have TV and movies and the go, I would get an iPad with 3/4g. That way you can pay as you need the internet. You can also store the media content on your computer, so you don't need a ton of storage on the device. The 16G would be fine. It is really easy to connect the iPad to your TV to watch TV/movies on a bigger screen. You cannot connect the Fire to a TV.

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 7:58:22 AM PDT
Mary says:
Thee are indeed ISP's that have limits. My friend has verizon service for her samsung tablet and does not have unlimited Internet so has to watch how much she streams and downloaded each month. Just like you only get 2gig on a verizon cell phone. In the beginning she had trouble with it using up bandwidth while off and she had to get the tablet replaced twice and all is fine now. I don't know if verizon ever figured it out but was a tablet problem I think. They are also rvers and this works well for them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 10:00:00 AM PDT
Surveyah says:
Once again Fuddie Duddie does not know what hes talking about, so we need to clarify:

"Nope, not quite. If you get the wifi model it doesn't bypass your homes wifi. If you get the 3g it doesn't use a wifi signal, but a cell phone signal. "whispernet" is just amazon's name for wifi."

WRONG. WhisperNet is the term for Amazons integrated ebook delivery system INCLUDING 3G and wireless

"The only movies you'll be able to watch without wifi/whispernet are those completely downloaded to your fire. You'll not be able to watch any streaming videos."

WRONG. You can watch any streaming video wirelessly as long as you have sufficient bandwidth and a compatible player installed (eg. Flash).

He is right that you should be able to access what you need from home or any hot spot. When I am in need of access without any wireless around, I use my phone as a hot spot (there are apps for that, and some come pre-installed from Verizon and AT&T)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 12:40:38 PM PDT
S. Prewitt says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 1:19:14 PM PDT
New Girl says:
You picked that from the Kindle 2nd Generation page. The Kindle 2 did not offer wifi only 3G. When they released the Kindle 3 which has Wifi on all models and 3G on some they changed the user info:

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 1:38:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 4, 2012 1:39:53 PM PDT
S. Prewitt - you'll also notice on every Kindle book product page it says "includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet". No distinction there between cellular and WiFi.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 2:05:35 PM PDT
S. Prewitt says:
New Girl,
The URL you reference does not mention Whispernet. (I did a "Find Whispernet" search on the page.) Instead it uses the terms 3G and Wi-Fi, which is certainly clearer. Meanwhile, back when they only provided 3G they called it Whispernet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 2:11:06 PM PDT
S. Prewitt says:
Bruce Boyle,

Hopefully this quote will settle the issue, since I've already spent too much time on it:

"Kindle Personal Documents Service Fees

"Kindle Personal Documents Service doesn't charge fees for delivery of personal documents to Kindle devices over Wi-Fi or to supported Kindle reading applications.

"Fees for the Kindle Personal Documents Service via Whispernet are based on the size of the file submitted (before compression if you use a .zip file), your country, and where you're accessing Whispernet. Personal documents service fees will only be charged for documents that are successfully delivered to your Kindle device via Whispernet. Personal documents service fees are rounded up to the next whole MB and apply to each personal document delivered via Whispernet to each Kindle device."

Notice that Amazon clearly distinguishes between file delivery via Whispernet (3G) and file delivery via Wi-Fi.

The above quote comes from:

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 2:38:57 PM PDT
Actually I don't think we'll ever settle the issue because Amazon isn't consistent about it. I understand (and even considered before posting) your point that the note I quoted was talking about "free" because they pay for cellular delivery, and WiFi is free by default, but they still don't clearly distinguish. The PDS document you quoted is one of the problems - it was originally written before they introduced WiFi, then updated to make it clear that there is never a charge for delivery over WiFi, but they didn't really update the whole document.

Nowhere have they ever said that Whispernet is only cellular, but in newer documents they avoid the term entirely, using WiFi, 3G and Whispersync instead.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 2:29:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 2:38:13 AM PDT
SL Cole says:
That's very helpful, thank you. We have had a Kindle device for a couple of years now and love it. I also use the Kindle app on my iPod Touch & laptop to access my Kindle library.

We will often be in a "members RV park" and often, we'll have access to cable service as part of our member fee. But we have to relocate to a different park every 2 weeks and we have no idea what kind of cable access we'll able to get, when we'll be able to get it, or how reliable it will be when we get it. We have a ton of DVDs and will rely on them for that type of entertainment when want to watch something but there is nothing we care to see.

But we know that downloading a one hour TV show, however we do it, just once a day will eat up our entire data allowance with the Verizon Mobile Broadband... if we get the largest monthly data package... and if we aren't careful, would push us over our allowance. Downloading a movie, from our research so far, is probably out of the question if we want to do anything else that month. So, my husband was kind of hoping that if we got a Kindle Fire we *might* be able to catch a favorite show or two without "dipping into" our Verizon WiFi data... but it doesn't sound like that will work.

Some of the places we will be will also have WiFi available, separate from our Verizon Mobile Broadband, for a nominal fee and we are thinking that maybe when we have access to that we could use that WiFi to download some stuff from iTunes to watch when we don't have access to cable service. But that will be assuming that WiFi is reliable and will let us download that much data... which is something we don't know, but won't expect we could depend on either.

It is entirely possible that none of this is going to be a huge issue once we actually get underway, but we're trying to anticipate backup options if we aren't satisfied with things. Eventually we plan to get a satellite dish, but that's way outside our budget for the immediate future. Another option we are seriously considering is just buying DVD copies of the shows we *really* like to watch as we enjoy watching them over and over.

It doesn't really sound like Amazon is going to work for us to stream or download tv or movies. Unless we buy movies & tv shows from Amazon while we are at the kids' house and download them onto an external drive to watch when we get "home."

We'll work it out somehow. :-) We are also considering a 3G iPad, so that is another option to investigate further. Thank you again... it helps to get input from someone who is full-timing because it is a completely different set of variables than when you in a house or apartment. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 2:47:46 AM PDT
SL Cole says:
It is my understanding that everyone is discontinuing unlimited wifi access for mobile devices of all sorts, as of very recently, because the demand for bandwidth is just getting too high. Unless we are in an RV park that offers WiFi, for an additional fee, *all* our internet access will be via a mobile/hotspot source.

You have to understand: we will not be in a house or an apartment. We will not have "standard" ISP internet access unless the park we are staying in offers it for a nominal fee above our parking fees and we choose to hook up to it. And even if we do, we have no guarantee how stable or fast it will be. We will have *mobile* broadband of either 5GB per month, or 10GB per month, depending on whether we choose to pay $50 or $80 per month for internet access through what will basically be our own mobile hotspot. The charges if we go beyond our monthly data allowance is astronomical in very short order!

Regardless what it is called or how it is accessed, it doesn't sound like a Kindle Fire will get us where we had hoped to go. :-\

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 3:04:23 AM PDT
SL Cole says:
I've tried to access the internet a couple times at a public library... wasn't even worth my time to even try to get online. Perhaps I've just been there at peak times, or maybe the three libraries I've tried have particularly crappy internet access. It wouldn't have even occurred to me to try to download a movie from there... but we'll be in very different places in the future so maybe it will work better.

I've been pleased with the *few* times I've used the internet at Starbucks... but I generally don't like to use open WiFi hotspots because of the security issues.

I kind of suspect most establishments that offer free WiFi probably intend it to be used to check your email or maybe look up something on the internet, not to download movies, and probably do have some sort of block or something that prevents highload access. Can't blame them when so many people are using the internet for their tv/movie access these days, and it is becoming a bigger and bigger issue.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 6:53:46 AM PDT
And as you probably already understand, nobody is going to be able to offer you free downloads of video over cellular. Even if Amazon does come out with a version of the Fire that includes 3G or 4G cellular like the iPad, they would also, like the iPad, have to tie that to a paid data service rather than bundling it free.

As you note, costs for data traffic are increasing and unlimited plans being discontinued. It would cost Amazon or any other provider far too much to pay for multiple GB downloads - it just isn't possible to bundle that into the price of a device, like it was for the much smaller bandwidth needed to download books and do basic Internet browsing on the older Kindles.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 7:45:52 AM PDT
I've always thought of the "free" delivery via Whispernet to mean sort of as opposed to a shipping fee for a DTB.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 8:16:18 AM PDT
Mary says:
I use my fire all over at wifi places and have no trouble with anyone's places. We stay at red roof's a lot that offer free wifi and every night I am able to watch my netflix on the fire and it works great. I don't always find any good channels on the hotel Tv. Mary

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 8:18:16 PM PDT
SL Cole says:
It would be great if Amazon could offer a "movie & data" package... the cost of the movie that included the cost of downloading just that movie, via an optional service you could agree to use for Amazon downloads. That would be perfect for my situation. I could preserve my other wireless and not risk going over my limit, and calculate whether I could afford to download the tv series or movie as part of my decision to purchase the movie or tv show.

Maybe in the future there will be a service like that. I know that the internet industry is slowly approaching critical mass with the video demands and even the cable services are starting to develop ways of slowing down too much downloading. I expect it is only going to get worse.

Which is a large part of why I'm thinking it might well be the least aggravating to just keep buying DVDs. Now with Walmart's service to translate a DVD to digital format for $2, it might be easier to just do that for some things.

Posted on Oct 23, 2012 11:04:03 AM PDT
The new kindle fire hd is wi-fi only you must connect to a hot spot to use it or you can only acsess what has already been downloaded to your deviceand yes downloads are very slow at most public hot spots.

Posted on Oct 23, 2012 11:07:10 AM PDT
Has anyone had problems with the date and time being wrong on the new Kindle Fire HD?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2016 10:27:03 PM PST
angie says:
Thats a lot of $$ for 5 Gb Or 10 Gb Look up Freedom Pop 4 G network they are around $24.00 for 10 gb. Good service too they are world wide.

Posted on Jan 10, 2016 10:40:25 PM PST
angie says:
I recently bought the Fire Kindle, the cheap one and as I was hoping to use it mainly to watch movies and Tv show, the free ones and fling the pic to my tv as I would find it painful if not desperate to watch it on a 7 inch screen. However, after much searching it seems I can't watch on my tv is that correct?

Also, I don't see many free tv shows or movies. Its all watch one ep. free then pay. Is that mainly how it is? If so its very disappointing and not what I was hoping for or understood it to be. I had realized they wont have everything thing I like to watch for free but at least enough to make it worth while. Can anyone advise me? Thank you.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
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Initial post:  Jun 4, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 11, 2016

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