In a word, Amazon originally announced Sidewalk at its annual event in 2019. However, the tech giant recently updated Sidewalk to support new Ring devices as well as new Echo devices arriving later in 2021. Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Sidewalk.
Amazon smart device sidewalk for you.
If you use Alexa, Echo, or any other Amazon device. Above all, you have only 10 days to opt-out of an experiment that leaves your personal privacy and security hanging in the balance.
On June 8, the merchant, Web host, and entertainment behemoth will automatically enroll the devices in Amazon Sidewalk. The new wireless mesh service will share a small slice of your Internet bandwidth with nearby neighbors. Suppose, who don’t have connectivity and help you to their bandwidth when you don’t have a connection.
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By default, Amazon devices including Alexa, Echo, Ring, security cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers will enroll in the system. And since only a tiny fraction of people take the time to change default settings, that means millions of people will be co-opted into the program whether they know anything about it or not. The Amazon webpage linked above says Sidewalk “is currently only available in the US.”
“We came up with something that we call Amazon Sidewalk. It’s a new low-bandwidth network that uses the already existing free over-the-air 900 megahertz spectrum. We think it will be great for keeping track of things, keeping things up to date – but first and foremost, it will extend the distance at which you can control these kinds of simple, low-cost, easy-to-use devices.”
Amazon Sidewalk for you
As a matter of fact, Amazon Sidewalk works in the background. It lets you connect to and even track simple devices up to a mile away. It reminds us of mesh networking and crowdsourcing. There are two types of Sidewalk devices: Sidewalk Bridges and Sidewalk-enabled devices. Sidewalk Bridges provide connections to Sidewalk-enabled devices.
Above all, according to Amazon, some devices, like select versions of the Ring Floodlight Cams and the Ring Spotlight Cams. That function as bridges, providing connections to Sidewalk-enabled devices. The whole idea is that someone’s Sidewalk Bridge can securely provide a connection to someone else’s Sidewalk-enabled device. This creates a mesh of connected devices that could allow something like an outdoor camera outside of the Wi-Fi range to stay connected and communicate.
Another example is using a Sidewalk-enabled tracker, like a Tile, to track down a missing item while out of the Wi-Fi range.
The maximum bandwidth of a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server is 80Kbps. It is about 1/40th of the bandwidth used to stream a typical high-definition video. Today, when you share your Bridge’s connection with Sidewalk, the total monthly data used by Sidewalk, per account, is capped at 500MB, which is equivalent to streaming about 10 minutes of high-definition video.
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The bottom line
On the other hand, Amazon has published a white paper detailing the technical underpinnings and service terms that it says will protect the privacy and security of this bold undertaking. The paper is fairly comprehensive, and so far, no one has pointed out specific flaws that undermine the encryption or other safeguards being put in place. But there are enough theoretical risks to give users pause.
- Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation and newer)
- Secondly, Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (3rd generation and newer)
- Amazon Echo Plus (1st generation and newer)
- Amazon Echo Show (1st generation and newer)
- Fifthly, Amazon Echo Show 5 (2019)
- Amazon Echo Show 8 (2019)
- Amazon Echo Show 10 (2020)
- And, Amazon Echo Spot (2017)
- Amazon Echo Studio (2018)
- Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019)
- Ring Car Alarm