What is Amazon Sidewalk?

by Tech Mainstream


October 6, 2020


What is Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon Sidewalk, Image/Amazon


Amazon Sidewalk was originally described in an Amazon blog article about a year ago:

"Amazon Sidewalk is a new long-term effort to greatly extend the working range of low-bandwidth, low-power, smart lights, sensors, and other low-cost devices customers install at the edge of their home network."

Amazon Sidewalk uses 900 MHz spectrum so customers will be able to place smart devices anywhere on their property and eliminate the less than stellar results usually produced when using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Sidewalk does this by increasing the connection range of these devices by more than one half mile/one kilometer.

900 MHz-based network extends your router's range far away from home. By reducing poor network connectivity, devices are safer because important feature and security updates are not lost or dropped when out of network range.

A future application of the 900MHz connections is neighborhoods banding their networks together to create a widespread network:

"A broad network among neighbors that can be used to extend connectivity all the way to your mailbox out at the street where a smart sensor lets you know exactly when your mail has been delivered, or to a water sensor that lets you know it’s time to water the garden in the backyard."

Recently, Amazon Sidewalk has been defined more extensively and involves concepts called Sidewalk Bridges and Sidewalk-enabled devices:

"Sidewalk Bridges, including select Ring Floodlight Cams and Ring Spotlight Cams, are devices that provide connections to Sidewalk. Sidewalk-enabled devices connect to Sidewalk Bridges to access the network. Customers with a Sidewalk Bridge can contribute a small portion of their internet bandwidth, which is pooled together to create a shared network that benefits all Sidewalk-enabled devices in a community."

Later this year, Echo devices, including Echo and Echo show 10 will function as a Sidewalk Bridge and Tile will offer the first third-party Sidewalk-enabled device.

Sidewalk essentially offers not only surveillance in and around your home, also "offers new ways for neighbors to support efforts that have a positive impact on their community."

Although for some this might not be a good idea in terms of privacy issues as the following YouTube video illustrates.