If you have a particular Amazon Alexa device in your home or a Ring security camera, you will soon be connected to the internet network of neighbors who also have one of those devices. And vice versa.
Amazon is set to launch Amazon Sidewalk that will create a mesh network using those networks to connect to one another. It applies to these products now:
- Echo Show 3rd gen
- Echo 4
- Echo Dot 4
- Ring Floodlight
- Ring Spotlight Cam
Here's how Amazon Sidewalk works. Those Alexa and Ring devices will connect to one another using a Sidewalk Bridge to create a neighborhood mesh network. Amazon explains the network will provide extra security to customers by keeping those devices connected to the internet should your internet service be interrupted.
Amazon Sidewalk uses a small amount of each home’s data network. In other words, your neighbors will connect to your home network and vice versa.
Amazon explains the bandwidth isn’t enough for a neighbor to use your Wi-Fi for streaming and they won't be able to access your network for anything else.
Amazon Sidewalk will also make it easier to search for and locate Tile trackers, and other developers can apply to join the program for their products.
Amazon insists the new Sidewalk Bridges are safe, but how well it works will depend on customers’ trust.
It's somewhat troubling that Amazon Sidewalk is rolling out with all of those devices enabled without the customer's knowledge. Every accessible Alexa and Ring device opts into the program automatically. To opt out of Amazon Sidewalk, you'll need to use the Alexa app. You can not opt out using the Amazon website or your account. Open the Alexa app and find settings. Once there, look for account settings where you will see the option for Amazon Sidewalk. Tap on that to find a toggle switch to disable it.
On June 8, any device that hasn't opted out will join the network. After opting out, you may want to check it again in a few days leading up to June 8 to make sure it is disabled.