If you live in an area where a lot of homes have Amazon devices and they are willing to “share” them, then soon you might have a mesh network up and running. Amazon announced its Sidewalk network last year but we’re now only getting details on how the low-bandwidth, long-distance protocol will actually work. It’s close to launching soon so in the next few months, Amazon product owners will get notifications on how they can participate in helping their neighbors stay connected while on the, well, sidewalk.
Basically, how this will work is that compatible devices that will accept the invitation will let you access a neighborhood network that will help your devices stay online and up-to-date even when you’re outside of your home WiFi’s range. So once you step out of your house, you should still receive alerts from your security cameras or it will still connect you to some of the smart devices in your home.
The service uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and other frequencies to extend the low-bandwidth range of devices. The Sidewalk Bridges are the devices that will provide a connection to Sidewalk while the Sidewalk-enabled devices will connect to the Bridges to be able to access the network. You and your neighbors that have a Bridge can donate a small part of your internet bandwidth and it is pooled together to create the shared network.
Devices like Ring Floodlght Cams and Ring Spotlight Cams can be bridges. Many Echo devices will also support Sidewalk and will help compatible devices automatically connect or reconnect to their router, set up new Echo devices, and even locate items that are connected to Sidewalk. Tile will be the first third-party Sidewalk-enabled device later this year so this means you’ll be able to locate misplaced items that have a Tile tracker in them even if you don’t have WiFi.
The launch of the network will be happening soon so Ring customers with compatible devices will receive a notification later this month, asking if they want to participate. Echo customers will also get details and control options later this year.