Amazon Sidewalk is a mesh network powered by Amazon devices like Ring cameras and Echo speakers, intended to keep devices connected beyond the range of Wi-Fi signals. Amazon is now opening Sidewalk to more companies and devices.
Amazon announced today that the Sidewalk network is now open for testing by developers and device manufacturers. The company has created software development kits (SDKs) to build applications that use Sidewalk technology, as well as hardware kits designed to help build physical devices that connect to Sidewalk.
Amazon Sidewalk bills itself as a multi-purpose mesh network, with the ability to help locate trackers (like Apple’s Find My network), but also provides limited Internet connections to devices that can’t reach a Wi-Fi signal (or if your home is the network is disconnected). The company says in an FAQ article: “For example, if your Echo device loses its Wi-Fi connection, Sidewalk can make it simple to reconnect to your router. For select Ring devices, you can continue to receive motion alerts from your Ring Security Cams and customer support can still troubleshoot even if your devices lose Wi-Fi connection. Sidewalk can also extend the working range of your Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as Ring smart lights, pet trackers, or smart locks, so they can stay connected and continue working over longer distances.”
Although Amazon Sidewalk was announced in 2019, it hasn’t seen much use outside of Amazon’s own hardware products. There have been partnerships with Tile and Level, but not much beyond that. Amazon’s announcement mentioned that Netvox is working on smart sensors for the home and industrial areas with Sidewalk, and a Primax smart door lock will use Sidewalk “to help customers experience easy installation and access to remote status monitoring.” , as well as remote locking and unlocking of doors. .”
Sidewalk’s initial release was criticized for turning many existing Amazon devices into mesh network nodes without explicit permission, which also means the devices use more data on your network. Amazon says that Sidewalk bridges (the devices that provide a Sidewalk signal that are connected to your network) are limited to 80 Kbps of bandwidth at any given time. It is also possible to disable Sidewalk entirely.