Do you have an Echo Studio, an Echo Dot or a Ring Floodlight Cam? If so, Amazon is about to introduce your device to a new type of network it calls Sidewalk, which aims to increase the range of its low-bandwidth devices (so that if your network goes down, your Dot can piggyback, for example. on your neighbors’), as well as to make location devices like Tile more efficient.
According to AmazonSidewalk will use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the 900MHz spectrum, and other frequencies “to simplify new device setup, extend the operating range of low-bandwidth devices, and help devices stay online and up-to-date.” even if they are out of range of home Wi-Fi.” It does this by essentially sharing the connectivity of your compatible devices with those of your neighbors.
Amazon says that Sidewalk will be enabled next June 8 (tiling functionality will be enabled on June 14) and plans to automatically enroll all eligible devices. The company has been published list of devices includes: Ring Floodlight Cam (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019), Echo (third generation and newer), Echo Dot (third generation and newer), Echo Dot for Kids (third generation and newer), newer), Echo Dot with Clock (third generation and newer), Echo Plus (all generations), Echo Show (all models and generations), Echo Spot, Echo Studio, Echo Input, Echo Flex.
Questions have been raised about how this might affect the privacy of your data. Amazon has made a white paper available explaining how customer data is protected. But if this still doesn’t reassure you and would rather not participate in Amazon’s good neighbor program – as it were – you can opt out before Sidewalk is enabled. Here’s how:
- In your Amazon Alexa app, select the ‘More’ icon in the lower right corner of the screen
- Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Account Setting’ > ‘Amazon Sidewalk’. (Just a note: if you’re not connected to Echo or Ring devices, you probably won’t see this option.)
- Use the switch to turn off Sidewalk
And that’s it! Opting out (according to Amazon) does not affect the current function of your devices in any way. But if you decide you want to log back in anyway, or if you want to log out at some point in the future, you can return to the Amazon Sidewalk page and use the toggle.
Note that on the same page, you’ll see a “Community Search” setting, which shares the approximate location of the devices connected via Sidewalk to make location-dependent items like Tile more accurate. If you want, you can leave Sidewalk active, but disable “Community Finding” by selecting the “Community Finding” link at the bottom of the “Amazon Sidewalk” page and then disable it.