Amazon releases professional-grade Bridge hardware to expand its Sidewalk network

Amazon has released the Amazon Sidewalk Bridge Pro, made by Ring, to help enterprise and commercial locations fill in the gaps of Amazon’s low-bandwidth and long-distance wireless Sidewalk network. The device, when placed in optimal outdoor locations, is said to support hundreds of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices up to five miles away. It’s meant to be used in public spaces, like parks and commercial centers, but can also be used indoors to cover areas like warehouses and large stores.

Amazon Sidewalk launched last year when Amazon turned it on by default on Echo and Ring devices, despite considerable backlash. Stefano Landi, director of Amazon Sidewalk, says Sidewalk “has very strong residential coverage in more than 100 major U.S. metro areas” when speaking to TechCrunch. The Amazon Sidewalk Bridge Pro is meant to be used where consumer Amazon devices, like Echos and Ring cameras, aren’t typically prevalent. Arizona State University is among the first to test the new devices by deploying them on campus light poles for connecting sunlight, temperature, CO2, and air particle sensors.

As a refresher, Amazon Sidewalk is meant to be used by IoT devices, such as Tile trackers, for simple internet connectivity as an inexpensive alternative to WiFi or cellular data connections. Landi says that “more than a few thousand companies” have already reached out to Amazon to ask about commercial use cases. With so many Echo and Ring devices acting as Sidewalk bridges, despite most of their owners likely having no clue a tiny portion of their internet bandwidth is being shared, and now a commercial solution for expanding the network further, Amazon Sidewalk is shaping up to be a serious alternative to traditional device connectivity.

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