This week, the tech giant Amazon launched a new wireless network called Sidewalk. The new service launched by the company is being enabled to automatically connect in Echo as well as Ring devices dating back to 2018.
Its new wireless network shares part of a user’s internet connection with neighbors to create a new, larger network. By pooling neighbors’ Wi-FI together, it has the ability to extend the low bandwidth working ranges of devices.
Amazon is controlling the network and the user has no control over what type of data is shared, raising security and surveillance concerns. The company claims Sidewalk poses no security risk. The service was designed “with multiple layers of encryption “ to protect the privacy of people who use Amazon Sidewalk. The tech giant even published a privacy and security whitepaper to ease some consumer fears about data sharing. Amazon claims that it carefully designed privacy protections into how Sidewalk collects, stores, and uses metadata.
It allows customers to continue to receive motion alerts from Ring Security Cams, even if a device loses its Wi-Fi connection. It is also possible to use Sidewalk to control Ring smart lights at the end of a driveway. It is also possible to track a lost pet. Amazon Sidewalk also has the ability to extend the working range for customers’ Sidewalk-enabled devices. Thus, they can stay connected and continue to work over longer distances.
The list of Bridge devices that support Sidewalk, but let’s name some of them. Ring Floodlight Cam (2019) Echo (3rd gen and newer), Echo Dot (3rd gen and newer), Echo Studio and others.
Amazon Sidewalk and customers
At the moment, the tech giant is not charging any fees to customers who partake in Sidewalk. Even still, the idea of sharing a small part of bandwidth might rub some users the wrong way. So, the company is allowing customers to opt out.
It is quite easy to disable Amazon Sidewalk. Customers will need to update their preferences in the Alexa app by choosing Settings. The next step is to go to Account Settings, Amazon Sidewalk. After that customers have to select “off” to disable the service. Ring customers have the opportunity to opt out in the Ring App by choosing Control Center, Sidewalk, and then tapping a slider button. Upon disabling Sidewalk, Bridge devices will still retain their functionality according to Amazon.