You are mixing up two things: 3G and Wi-Fi.
3G is a mobile phone data service, supported by selected Kindle devices. Your Kindle 3 3G has a SIM card built inside, just like the fingernail-size chips you put into a mobile phone. Amazon set up contracts with phone service providers in many countries so you can use it to download books to your Kindle at no extra costs for you other than the higher price of Kindle 3 3G compared to the non-3G version. You do not need any extra hardware for this to work, and it will work in most places of the world. This is the guarantee you were promised.
Wi-Fi is a wireless communication standard all Kindle devices support. While most hotels, airports and some restaurants provide free Wi-Fi access for guests
, you need your own WLAN router at your home, and pay for your own broadband internet service. The "all sorts of wireless connections which are all password protected" belong to your neighbors and they are password protected so that nobody can take a free ride on the service they pay for.
You can tell the connection status of your Kindle from symbols in in the status bar, at the top right of the screen:
- If it shows "OFF", wireless connectivity is deactivated and you cannot access the internet from your Kindle, or download books.
If it shows "Wi-Fi", the Kindle is connected to a Wi-Fi network. The five bars right of the symbol represent the connection's signal strength, the more bars are black, the better.
- If it shows "3G", you are connected via 3G mobile data service. The bars right of this symbol refer to mobile phone service signal strength, much like a mobile phone would show you.
If you do not have internet connection with wireless LAN at home, you need to set up your Kindle to use the 3G service. This is the default setting when the device is delivered to you, and I believe it worked until you or somebody else inadvertently changed the configuration.
Follow this step-by-step procedure:
- Switch on your Kindle.
- Press the "Home" button.
- Check the status bar. Does it show the "3G" symbol? If yes, how about signal strength? If you are somehow blocked from mobile phone antennas in your area, signal strength will be low and the Kindle will not have internet access. Move around and see if it becomes better.
- Does it show the "OFF" symbol? If yes, press the "Menu" button. A menu of commands should open. Use the four-way button just below "Menu" to underline the top-most option "Turn Wireless On" and press the center of the four-way. The menu list will close, and after a moment Kindle will try to connect to the internet.
- Does it show the "Wi-Fi" symbol? If yes, I assume you accidentally connected to a neighbor's Wi-Fi network and its firewall protected, or is too far away to use it. In this case, press the "Menu" button to open the command menu. Use the four-way button just below "Menu" to underline "Settings", second option from the bottom, and press the center of of the four-way. The settings menu will open. Use the four-way button to navigate down to "Wi-Fi Settings" (the text "view" must be underlined) and press the center of the four-way. The list of Wi-Fi networks open. Navigate down using the four-way to any network with the text "forget" on it and press the center of the four-way.
Please let me know if you encounter problems in following these instructions, and I'll try to assist you further.