Amazon is about to start rolling out something called Amazon Sidewalk to Amazon Echos, Echo Dots, Echo Shows, Echo Studios, Ring cameras, and more. You may have recently received an email about it. Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that allows your devices, as well as other people’s devices, to communicate with each other and the internet. If enabled on your account, you’re allowing Amazon to use a portion of your internet bandwidth and data for a shared network that anyone can tap into.
The only two devices that I’m aware of so far that will tap into the Amazon Sidewalk shared network are Tile trackers and Ring’s upcoming car alarm, but you can expect more products in the future. The idea is that these devices don’t have their own cellular connection, so they instead use the shared Amazon Sidewalk network to communicate with the internet when they happen to come within range of an Echo or Ring device with Amazon Sidewalk enabled.
Amazon Echos and Ring devices with Amazon Sidewalk enabled that share your internet access are referred to as Sidewalk Bridges. Currently, the list of devices that can be Sidewalk Bridges are:
- Echo (2nd-gen, 3rd-gen, & 4th-gen)
- Echo Dot (2nd-gen, 3rd-gen, & 4th-gen)
- Echo Dot for Kids (2nd-gen, 3rd-gen, & 4th-gen)
- Echo Dot with Clock (3rd-gen & 4th-gen)
- Echo Plus (1st-gen & 2nd-gen)
- Echo Show (1st-gen & 2nd-gen)
- Echo Show 5 (1st-gen)
- Echo Show 8 (1st-gen)
- Echo Show 10 (1st-gen)
- Echo Spot (1st-gen)
- Echo Studio (1st-gen)
- Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019)
Amazon says that a Sidewalk Bridge can use a maximum bandwidth of 80Kbps. This is the amount of data it can send out at any given time. The total monthly data that Amazon Sidewalk can use is 500MB per account. While the total monthly data cap is account-wide, it’s not clear if the bandwidth cap is per account or per device. If it’s the latter and you have several Echos and/or Ring cameras, you could be seeing the 500MB of data go out in bursts that exceed 80Kbps. The exact wording on Amazon’s Sidewalk info page certainly leaves it open for being a per device bandwidth limit.
What’s also not clear is if Amazon Sidewalk will be enabled by default or not. It seems to be off by default, but that doesn’t mean it will never be enabled. If you don’t want your devices participating in Amazon Sidewalk, my suggestion is to go into its setting that I describe below and toggle it on and then off. There is a chance that if Amazon ever decides to flip it on themselves that they will only do so for accounts that have never manually adjusted the setting.
To disable Amazon Sidewalk, open the Alexa app on either an Android or iOS device. Then select the “More” button in the lower right corner and select “Settings” from the app’s main menu. Then select “Account Settings” and then select the “Amazon Sidewalk” menu item. At the bottom of the Amazon Sidewalk screen are toggles to enable or disable the feature. Again, my suggestion for those who don’t want Amazon Sidelwak functioning on their devices is to enable both options and then disable them both.