Amazon’s smart speakers, including Tap, Dot, and Echo, are really incredible feats of technological achievement. It’s like the computer in Star Trek. Just ask your question and it’s answered. Alexa, Amazon’s AI doing the heavy lifting of these devices, can even tell jokes, control other smart devices in your home like lights and music, and even help you order stuff on Amazon (of course). As we keep saying: the future is now. But Alexa and the Echo aren’t perfect, and sometimes they’re frustratingly deaf.
Here are some of the more serious issues you might encounter and want to fix when using your Echo:
- WiFi Problems: For the Amazon Echo to work right, it needs to be connected to your WIFI. This is probably the most common source of problems. If your connection is spotty or you have many devices connected that are consuming available bandwidth, you’re going to have a rough time. First, make sure your router and the Echo are compatible. As connected devices advance, and as broadband advances, you can’t necessarily rely on that 10-year old wireless router. Second, make sure you have sufficient bandwidth, and considering using the 5GHz range if Echo is close to the router as that range offers greater speeds and often less interference. Also, WIFI signals have a limited range and some materials, like concrete, can interfere. If the WIFI signal is strong, but you’re having trouble connecting, then make sure your password is correct and is the correct type (WPA or WPA2). Try disconnecting and reconnecting to the WIFI.
- Echo Can’t Hear You: Sometimes the problem isn’t your wireless signal, but rather it’s an analog one. The problem might be that Echo can’t hear you. Echo works best when it is sitting out in the open without walls or plants or other solid objects obstructing the soundwaves of your voice. Think of it like ripples on a pond: Not only might solid objects obstruct the soundwaves, but if Echo is sitting in a corner, the reflection off of the walls might create distortion, preventing Alexa from understanding what you’re saying.
- Speak Clearly: Speech recognition has gotten really sophisticated, but it’s still not perfect. When you talk to the Echo, make sure you speak clearly and slowly, and consider using its speech training feature. That way you can help improve the speech recognition algorithm by helping it learn the sound, intonation, and accent of your voice. This usually doesn’t take more than a few minutes.
- Check Your Smart Device Network: Amazon Echo can also encounter problems communicating with other smart devices. Ensure any device is compatible with Alexa. Also, make sure all devices are on the same network, and the network isn’t using device isolation to prevent connected devices from communicating with each other. If you connected in the past, try to “forget” the connected device and then reconnect.
If all else fails, you can always try a factory reset, which will return the Echo to its factory settings. This is generally a last resort as you’ll have to go through the process of setting everything up again. While we’ve spent some time talking about troubleshooting Amazon Echo, the technology is really amazing and has made the world of Sci-Fi a reality.