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What Is Amazon Sidewalk and How Do You Disable It?

 What Is Amazon Sidewalk and How Do You Disable It?

Wouldn't it be great if your new devices automatically connected to your network and were ready to go in seconds, no fiddling with logins or security codes? And they worked for an entire neighborhood or community?

That's the potential of Amazon Sidewalk, a feature Amazon activated by default (as of June 8 in the US) on a number of its devices. It turns most Amazon Echo smart speakers and smart displays made after 2018, plus a few Ring by Amazon smart doorbells and cameras, into a Sidewalk Bridge (or Gateway). Specifically, the following devices are compatible:

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 (all models and generations)

Echo Spot

Echo Studio

Echo Input

Echo Flex

What Is an Amazon Sidewalk Bridge?
A Sidewalk Bridge will fill in the gaps between your home network's internet connection and devices using low-power wireless connections, like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and sections of the 900MHz radio spectrum used for Long Range (LoRa). It's similar to what you can get with some low-power smart home network protocols like Zigbee and Z-Wave, but those require you to buy a smart home hub (in fact, some Echo devices act as Z-Wave hubs).

But Sidewalk is simply...there. A low-energy network that surrounds your residence. The potential range of the radio spectrum it uses is half a mile—more with some setups and locations. The 900MHz LoRa, however, is only found in the newer, sphere-shaped Amazon Echoes, plus the latest Echo Show 10, and the Ring Spotlight and Ring Floodlight, according to CNET. Amazon hasn't (yet) built Sidewalk into its Eero mesh devices.

When the Sidewalk Bridges(s) in your house are active, wireless signals that reach outside your home to the sidewalk and beyond will allow any passing Sidewalk-enabled device (called a Sidewalk Endpoint) to instantly connect. Sidewalk will also help set up new Amazon products on your home Wi-Fi.

You're not going to use Amazon Sidewalk to sidle up to the neighbor's house, access their Wi-Fi on your laptop, and use their ISP bandwidth to watch Netflix. But your Echo devices and your neighbors can co-mingle, forming a low-energy, long-range mesh network over the whole area. That means if you have a network outage at your location alone, a smart device in your house (say your Ring doorbell) may still function—but not enough to send a video stream. It doesn't have the bandwidth for that. Amazon put a 500MB-per-month data cap on Sidewalk, while throughput on a bridge to Amazon's servers maxes out at 80Kbps.

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