Introducing Amazon Sidewalk: A New Wireless Network for Enhanced Connectivity

Amazon has recently unveiled a revolutionary wireless network called Sidewalk, designed to facilitate Internet connectivity for a greater number of devices. By utilizing Amazon Echo and Ring devices as bridges, Sidewalk enables Sidewalk-enabled devices to connect to the internet, utilizing only a small portion of your bandwidth for data transmission to the cloud.

The purpose of Amazon Sidewalk is to simplify the accessibility of smart home devices and expand connectivity options. Are you curious about how Sidewalk might impact your home network? Let us provide a comprehensive explanation of what Amazon Sidewalk is, which devices it supports, and how you can choose to opt out.

What exactly is Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon Sidewalk serves as Amazon’s wireless network, specially developed to connect low-power, long-range, and low-data devices to the Internet. Integrated into all Echo devices manufactured after 2018, this technology establishes a wireless network that seamlessly extends from your home to the surrounding sidewalk.

Its primary purpose is to allow devices that cannot directly connect to Wi-Fi, such as keyfinders and outdoor lights, to transmit their data to the cloud and receive relevant information in return. To illustrate, suppose you have a Sidewalk-enabled keyfinder attached to your dog’s collar. With a traditional Bluetooth-only keyfinder, you would need to wait until your dog comes within range of another Bluetooth device in order to receive an alert about their whereabouts. However, with Sidewalk, every time your dog passes by a house equipped with an Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo, you can easily track their location.

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How does Amazon Sidewalk work?

To transmit data, Amazon Sidewalk uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and operates within the 900 MHz spectrum, which was made available for broadband use by the FCC in May 2020. This spectrum was previously used exclusively for devices such as cordless phones.

Similar to other low-power and low-bandwidth protocols like Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Thread, Sidewalk aims to connect devices that don’t require Wi-Fi connectivity and have minimal data requirements, such as door and window sensors. Just like those protocols, Sidewalk offers an extended range compared to Wi-Fi, potentially reaching up to 1,500 feet, as suggested by GridConnect.

This means you can scatter sensors throughout your yard or monitor the state of a detached garage door without the need to extend your Wi-Fi signal. Additionally, Sidewalk can enhance the functionality of key finders by making them significantly easier to locate compared to those with only Bluetooth connectivity.

To connect Sidewalk-enabled devices to the cloud, they first need to establish a connection with a bridge—a feature typically incorporated in the best smart home hubs. Sidewalk-compatible Amazon Echo devices continue to serve as Sidewalk hubs even if your Wi-Fi network experiences disruptions.

One important point to consider is that with Sidewalk, not only your devices but any Sidewalk-enabled device can potentially connect to your Sidewalk Bridge to transmit its data to the cloud. According to Amazon, a Sidewalk Bridge utilizes a maximum of 80Kbps, and the data used by Sidewalk is capped at 500MB per month.

Discover the Extensive Coverage of Amazon Sidewalk

Amazon Sidewalk Coverage

Amazon Sidewalk boasts an extensive coverage area. In a released coverage map, it appears to cover all major metropolitan areas, with the exception of more rural regions. Rest assured, if you reside in a bustling city, you’ll likely have access to the benefits of Sidewalk.

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Sidewalk-Compatible Devices: What’s Available?

Given Sidewalk’s relatively recent introduction, there aren’t currently many devices outside of Amazon’s own products that support Sidewalk. These devices can be classified into two categories: Bridges and Sidewalk-enabled devices. Every Amazon Echo smart speaker and smart display produced since 2018 can serve as a Sidewalk Bridge, including those no longer available for purchase.

Amazon Echo Sidewalk Bridges:

  • Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo (4th Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for Kids
  • Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) for Kids
  • Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (3rd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Plus (1st Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Show (1st Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Show 5
  • Amazon Echo Show 8
  • Amazon Echo Show 10
  • Amazon Echo Spot
  • Amazon Echo Studio
  • Amazon Echo Input
  • Amazon Echo Flex

Ring Amazon Sidewalk Bridges:

  • Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019)
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019)
  • Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro (2021)
  • Ring Video Doorbell Pro
  • Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2

Regarding Sidewalk-enabled devices that can transmit and receive data from bridges, there are currently only two options, both of which aren’t fully functional yet.

Tile Trackers:

When Amazon announced Sidewalk in September 2020, the company introduced Tile as one of its early partners. Starting from June 14th, the capabilities of Echo devices to locate Tile trackers will be enabled.

Level Smart Locks:

Level smart locks will be able to connect to Sidewalk through the Ring Video Doorbell Pro (2nd gen), allowing owners to control the lock via the Ring app. In the future, the compatibility of the lock will extend to additional devices. This expands the functionality of the Level Bolt and Level Touch, which were previously only compatible with HomeKit.

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However, Amazon announced on March 28, 2023, that software and hardware developer kits are being released by Nordic Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, and Texas Instruments to facilitate the creation of Sidewalk-compatible devices by third-party developers. Additionally, the company has released a test kit to help developers evaluate the Sidewalk network’s signal strength within their area.

Opting Out: Can I Choose Not to Use Amazon Sidewalk?

As mentioned earlier, Sidewalk operates as an open network, meaning any Sidewalk-enabled device can connect to your Sidewalk bridge. Nevertheless, these devices do not have unrestricted access to your Wi-Fi network, and your network remains secure. Furthermore, any information transmitted through Sidewalk Bridges is encrypted.

If you feel concerned about others utilizing your network, you have the option to disable Sidewalk. Please note that you cannot selectively deactivate Sidewalk for specific devices. Instead, you can only enable or disable it for all Echo and Ring devices linked to your account.

How to Deactivate Amazon Sidewalk using the Alexa app

Alexa App Settings

  1. Open the Alexa app on your Android or iOS device and tap the More button at the lower right corner.
  2. In the next screen, tap the Settings button.
  3. Tap Account Settings on the following screen.
  4. Select Amazon Sidewalk.
  5. To disable Amazon Sidewalk, slide the toggle switch to the Disabled position.

To support neighbors in finding lost items, a Community Finding feature shares the approximate location of your Echo and Ring devices, making it easier for individuals to locate lost pets and belongings. You can opt to disable this feature as well by selecting Community Finding and sliding the toggle switch to Off.

Deactivating Amazon Sidewalk in the Ring app

If you own a Ring video doorbell or another Sidewalk-enabled Ring device, you can turn off the Sidewalk network from the Ring app. Here’s how:

  1. [Include relevant image of Ring app settings]

If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to reach out to us for further assistance.

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