What Is Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon wants you to share your WiFi with your neighbors.

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What is Amazon Sidewalk
Image: Amazon

Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that creates a low-bandwidth network to keep your smart devices connected. It also lets you quickly add new devices to your smart home setup without going through the entire connectivity process.

Amazon makes Echo smart speakers and Ring cameras. The Sidewalk is a free feature for your Echo and Ring cameras to create a network bridge between the devices and your WiFi router. If your Ring camera is outdoors, your Echo speaker can create a Sidewalk-bridge to help keep your camera online.

However, the Amazon Sidewalk aims to create an entirely smart neighborhood. If your neighbors also have Echo or Ring devices, their devices can use part of your WiFi network if their WiFi is down. Similarly, if your WiFi isn’t working, Sidewalk will keep your smart home online through your neighbor’s network.

Amazon Sidewalk: Online forever

Amazon Sidewalk representative image
Image: Pexels

One of the biggest advantages of the Amazon Sidewalk is that it’ll always keep all smart devices online. A stable WiFi connection is one of the prerequisites of owning a smart speaker. If you go offline even for a while, you can’t even voice-operate your smart lights anymore.

This is where this network mesh steps in. It solves the problem of staying online forever. If you’re worried about too much data usage, Amazon has capped the data consumption to 80 kbps, and it’ll never use more than 500MB/month.

The Ecosystem

Sidewalk makes all Echo and Ring devices work in tandem, but that’s not enough. Amazon already has Tile trackers on board to use the network mesh. This means if you lose something outside your home network, other networks can connect to your Tile tracker and tell you where it is.

Sidewalk deploys three levels of encryption to secure the users. It means despite network sharing, your neighbors won’t be able to snoop on your internet connection. However, there are different levels of privacy perils at play here.

While your neighbors may or may not snoop with you, the company has made it clear that it aims to share data collected through Sidewalk with third-party developers. The company’s privacy track record hasn’t been great either. So if you’re thinking of using the feature, do it only if you trust Amazon with your data.

How to turn off Amazon Sidewalk

If you have an Echo or Ring device, the Amazon Sidewalk is active by default. Here are the steps to turn it off.

Open the Alexa app on your phone and select More from the bottom right side. Select Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk > Switch off Amazon Sidewalk and exit the app.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Amazon Sidewalk FAQs

How much data does Amazon Sidewalk use?

Amazon Sidewalk uses a maximum of 500MB of data per month.

Is the Amazon Sidewalk on by default?

Yes, the Amazon Sidewalk is on by default, but you can turn it off from the Alexa app on your phone.

Can I turn off the Amazon Sidewalk?

Yes, you can turn it off from the Alexa app.

What devices are Sidewalk compatible with?

Amazon Sidewalk is compatible with Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Ring Floodlight Cam (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019), Echo (3rd gen and newer), Echo Dot (3rd gen and newer), Echo Dot for Kids (3rd gen and newer), Echo Dot with Clock (3rd gen and newer), Echo Plus (all generations), Echo Show (2nd gen), Echo Show 5, 8, 10 (all generations), Echo Spot, Echo Studio, Echo Input, Echo Flex.

Manik Berry

Manik Berry

With a Master’s degree in journalism, Manik writes about big tech and has a keen eye for political-tech news. In his free time, he’s browsing the Kindle store for new stuff read. Manik also adores his motorcycle and is looking for new routes on weekends. He likes tea and cat memes. You can reach him at [email protected]