Amazon Sidewalk is an innovative wireless network standard developed by Amazon to create a shared public mesh network. It uses a small portion of your internet bandwidth to keep your smart home devices connected, even when they are far from your Wi-Fi router. By default, compatible devices like Echo and Ring devices are automatically enrolled in Amazon Sidewalk.
However, not everyone is comfortable with their devices being part of a shared network. This article will guide you through what Amazon Sidewalk is, the potential benefits and concerns, and how to opt out if you choose to do so.
Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that uses a small portion of your internet bandwidth to keep your smart home devices connected. If you wish to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk, you can do so through the Alexa app or the Ring app. In the Alexa app, go to “Settings,” then “Account Settings,” and then “Amazon Sidewalk” to toggle the switch off. In the Ring app, go to “Control Center,” then “Sidewalk,” and toggle the Sidewalk slider to disable it.
Understanding Amazon Sidewalk
Amazon Sidewalk is a secure, low-bandwidth, low-power community network designed to provide reliable connectivity for billions of devices. It uses participating Amazon devices, called Sidewalk Bridges (such as compatible Amazon Echo and Ring devices), to create the network. Sidewalk-enabled devices like compatible cameras, smart locks, motion sensors, and wildfire detectors can send encrypted data over the network to a Sidewalk Bridge up to half a mile away.
Potential Benefits of Participating in Amazon Sidewalk
Participating in Amazon Sidewalk comes with several potential benefits. These include extended range for low-powered devices, simplified device setup, improved device connectivity, location tracking and notifications, and the potential for future applications such as smart security, lighting, and diagnostics for appliances and tools.
Privacy and Security Concerns
Despite these benefits, Amazon Sidewalk has raised privacy and security concerns among users. Critics argue that Amazon should have made Sidewalk an opt-in service instead of an opt-out one, as many people may not be aware that their devices are part of a national mesh network.
How to Opt Out of Amazon Sidewalk
If you wish to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk, you can do so through the Alexa app or the Ring app. Here are the steps to disable Amazon Sidewalk using the Alexa app:
- Open the Alexa app.
- Tap “More” in the lower-right corner of your screen.
- Tap “Settings.”
- Tap “Account Settings.”
- Tap “Amazon Sidewalk.”
- Toggle the switch to turn Amazon Sidewalk off for your account.
For the Ring app:
- Open the Ring app.
- Tap the three lines in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.
- Select “Control Center.”
- Tap “Sidewalk.”
- Tap the Sidewalk slider to disable it.
The Downside of Opting Out
Opting out of Amazon Sidewalk may result in missing out on some of the benefits that Amazon Sidewalk offers, such as improved connectivity for your Amazon devices, extended low-bandwidth working range for devices, simplified new device setup, and more. However, if you have concerns about privacy, security, or sharing your internet bandwidth, you may decide that the potential downsides of opting out are outweighed by the benefits of increased control over your devices and network.
Amazon Sidewalk is an innovative step towards a connected community. However, the decision to participate should be based on an individual’s comfort level with sharing their network and the potential benefits they stand to gain. Amazon has provided the option to opt out, giving users the freedom to decide what works best for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What devices are compatible with Amazon Sidewalk?
Amazon Sidewalk is compatible with many Amazon devices, including most Echo devices (3rd generation and newer), Ring Floodlight Cam (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019), and many more. You can check the complete list of compatible devices on the Amazon’s official website.
Is there any cost associated with using Amazon Sidewalk?
No, there is no additional cost for using Amazon Sidewalk. It uses a small portion of your existing internet bandwidth, but it does not incur any additional charges.
How much of my internet bandwidth does Amazon Sidewalk use?
Amazon Sidewalk uses a small fraction of your internet bandwidth. The maximum bandwidth of a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server is 80Kbps, which is about 1/40th of the bandwidth used to stream a typical high-definition video. In total, Amazon Sidewalk caps the monthly data used over Sidewalk at 500MB, which is equivalent to streaming about 10 minutes of high-definition video.
Are non-Amazon devices able to connect to the Amazon Sidewalk network?
Currently, only Amazon devices can connect to the Amazon Sidewalk network. However, Amazon has announced plans to open up the network to third-party developers, so we may see non-Amazon devices using the network in the future.
Can I opt back into Amazon Sidewalk after opting out?
Yes, you can opt back into Amazon Sidewalk at any time by following the same steps as opting out, but instead toggling the switch to turn Amazon Sidewalk on for your account.