Picture of the Victor Reader Stream, New Generation Media Player, by Humanware

Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems

The New Generation of the Victor Reader Stream, the second version of this already useful blind friendly talking book and media player, taps into a whole new realm of audio and textual media, from the web.  In this post, we cover general things to try for Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi problems.

Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems: Introduction

Victor Reader has now been Internet enabled, via wireless connectivity through standard WiFi.   Firmware releases since 2013, have added lots of fresh and exciting Internet-enabled features and functions, including the ability to listen to Internet radio, download talking books from the BARD website directly to the Stream without the need of a computer, peruse newspapers by way of the NFB Newsline, and as of firmware version 4.4.8, the current version as of this writing, the Victor Reader  can also automatically download, play, and manage podcasts galore, much as you would do with an iPod.  It does not require iTunes for Podcast management.

Picture of the Victor Reader Stream, New Generation Media Player, by Humanware
Victor Reader Stream, New Generation Media Player, by Humanware.

However, all of these newfangled features require Internet access in order to fully function. So, Humanware built this new generation of the  Victor Reader with a Wi-Fi radio. It also has all the software to establish stable Wi-Fi connections to users’ home and business networks.  Indeed, we have owned the Victor Reader Stream, New Generation, since the fall of 2013.  Plus, we  set up many wireless network connections from it, to tens of WiFi access points, both at home, and on the road.

Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems

Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems: Router Has Some Ports Closed

But during our most recent vacation, our Stream would not connect to the Internet wirelessly.  While it still correctly scanned for and listed Wi-Fi networks in range (those that it could currently pick up on its Wi-Fi radio), it would not log into them, even though we entered the right passwords.  We kept getting that infamous spoken message: Unable to connect to <wireless network name>.

As it turned out, a friend of ours, who also had this Victor Reader, experienced the same trouble on his home WiFi network.  Now he had Verison FiOS, and had to call them for help.  Apparently by default, some FiOS routers close off certain ports for security reasons. But the Stream connected successfully once the Verizon techs opened up these ports.

Below, we detail the steps that we took, to troubleshoot this network connectivity issue.  While our efforts alone did not solve this particular problem, we’ve found them to work well for other, not-so-elusive issues.

Turn Airplane Mode OFF when Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems

For each test, we made sure that airplane mode was disabled, and that the little yellow lamp that normally glows when you’re connected, was flashing. This showed that the Stream was at least TRYING to wirelessly connect. However, none of these procedures, except for the last one in the list, restored our Gen 2 to proper operation.  We indeed saw the Stream trying to connect.  We knew this by the way that the data lights on our access points flashed rapidly just after pressing the Confirm key, after entering the WiFi password on the Victor Reader. So, the Stream certainly sent WiFi data to the router, even though it refused to connect.

Basic WiFi Checks for Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems

Make Sure you have Correct Passwords

Verified that we had the correct passwords for our target Wi-Fi networks. We were able to connect to them successfully with our tablet computers; just not with the Victor Reader.

Try Connecting to Other Access Points on Same Network, if Any

Tried to log into second and third choice wireless access points (WAPs) as well; all at the same location.

Change WiFi Channel that Router Uses when Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems

Tried changing the WAP default WiFi channel number to different channels.  This could have ruled out an interference problem on one or more of the channels.  Unfortunately in this case, none of the channels worked.

Check Security Settings on Router / Access Point

Verified that all WAPs were set to employ WPA or WPA2 Personal security mode, and that the AES / TKIP encryption mode was set to automatically select the best choice for the connecting devices.  We’ve seen instances where WAPs configured as WEP devices, where the Stream could not connect.  But changing to WPA + WPA2 solved the problem.  But not in this case however.

Turn Off MAC ID Filtering if ON

Verified that MAC address filtering on the WAP router was disabled.  No device addresses were blocked.

Try Connecting to WiFi with Other Devices for Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems

Successfully logged into the networks with two other tablet computers, thus pretty much ruling out the access points as potential problem sources.

Try Soft Resetting the Victor Reader Stream

Ran a soft reset of the Victor Stream.  Do this by powering it on, and then pressing and holding the power button for more than seven seconds.

Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems: Take the Battery Out, then Put it Back In

Removed the battery for a couple of minutes, and then reinstalled it.

Fully recharged the battery.

Reboot Access Points, Modems, and Routers

Rebooted our WAPs and routers.

Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems: Call Humanware Tech Support for Help

Called Tech Support at Humanware.  They told us that the passwords we are utilizing might be too short.  We doubted this, since we’ve been successfully using our eight-character passwords up to now.  Plus, we had conducted no firmware updates or Stream configuration changes at the time that this connectivity issue arose.  However, we configured an access point with a ten-character password.  Had been using a eight-character password before.  But even with the two added characters, the connection attempts still failed.

Check Case of Password Characters

Verified several times that we were entering the correct case letters for the password characters.

Build New Victor Reader Stream Profile

Forced the Stream to create a completely new system profile in its internal memory, as follows.  Power down the unit if it is not already turned off. Then, simultaneously press and hold down the Bookmark (top right) and Number 5 keys. Then while depressing those buttons, we pressed and held down the Power button until the power-up beep sounded.  Typically, this takes one to three seconds.

Next, we released all keys at that tone.

Then, the Victor Reader spoke the following: “Creating new profile.”

Once this profile initialized, the Stream took us to the Bookshelf menu.

And, from there, we attempted to sign into each of our two access points. Again, no success.

Solving Victor Reader Stream WiFi Problems: Turn Down WiFi Network Speed

Many Wifi access points, in their Wifi radio settings pages, allow adjustment of the maximum speed of the wireless network.  In our Netgear WAP, the setting is called,  “MCS Index / Data Rate.”  By default, this is set to “Best.”

However, changing this may prevent the Victor Stream from connecting.  So, unless you have a compelling reason to lower the maximum data rate of your wifi network (and there are some, yes), it’s best not to tweak this and other radio settings.  Unfortunately, no changes here enabled our Stream to connect in this case.

We tried various network speed values on our router, without success.  That darn Victor Reader Stream still refused to connect.  Grrrrr.

Try a New Location Altogether

Finally, we took the Stream to a completely different home location, along with the WAPs.  There, it worked!!

So, there may have been some undetectable interference at our vacation spot that the Victor Reader did not like, though we could see none with the Ampd Wireless WiFi Analytics app on our Android tablet.   Nonetheless, the Stream works well here at home.  So, something was amiss at the place we were visiting.  This interference, or whatever it was, did not impact our other wireless devices however.  They worked well the entire visit.

We will likely visit the same place again, and at that time, conduct further experiments to determine what, in that house, might have been interfering with the Stream WiFi.  Stay tuned.  So ultimately, there were no password length issues.

Suggested Reading

  1. Changing Wireless Network on the Victor Reader Stream, New Generation Model
  2. Victor Reader Stream New Generation Daisy Player, Podcatcher, Internet Radio Review
  3. Solving Noisy Air Conditioner Problem, How To
  4. Connect Echo Spot to New WiFi, Help, How To
  5. How to Pair Victor Reader Trek Player with a Bluetooth Speaker
  6. Victor Reader Stream New Generation Review
  7. How to Change Wi-Fi Network on Victor Reader Trek GPS Navigator and eBook Player
  8. NOAA Weather Stream WNG589, Altoona, PA

References

Revision History

  • 2019-02-21: Added keyword targeting, more tags, and more subheadings.
  • 2015-11-17: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-08-30: Added a Suggested Readings section.
  • 2015-07-22: Added tags and link to official product web page.
  • 2014-11-19: Added note about adjusting the wifi data rate on access points, and how this can cause connection failures on the Victor Reader Stream.
  • 2014-11-17: Added the procedure about changing WiFi access point channels to rule out possible interference on one or more of them.  Also added the WAP security and encryption settings checks.
  • 2014-10-27: Added notes that the problem has been resolved by taking the Victor Reader to a different physical location.
  • 2014-10-21: Added information received from first call to Humanware Technical Support, earlier this afternoon.
  • 2014-10-21: Initial publication.

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