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Amazon Sidewalk is coming to your Echo very soon. This is why it matters



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Amazon Sidewalk is available this month.

Ian Knighton / CNET

Earlier this month, some people noticed something unusual: some Amazon Echo devices spontaneously has enabled the new Sidewalk feature, a free neighborhood network sharing service announced last year. While Amazon doesn’t plan to launch this feature until sometime later this month, it hasn’t stopped the new feature from being enabled in some people’s Alexa apps.

We will tell you something Amazon sidewalk resources for your Echo device, how you will use it, and how to turn it off if you’d rather not wear it.

What Is Amazon Sidewalk and How Is It Used?

Amazon Sidewalk is a free neighborhood network sharing service that uses Echo devices as bridges to share a small portion of your home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth with Sidewalk-compatible devices. There are data limits that do not exceed 500MB, or one fortieth of your bandwidth. Sidewalk uses Bluetooth low energy, 900Mhz spectrum and other frequencies to create a low bandwidth network in your area.

Each Echo can extend coverage to half a mile. For every ultrasound in your area with Sidewalk enabled, the Internet bandwidth is pooled to create a larger shared network. It’s essentially like sharing Wi-Fi with your neighbors when you’re out of range of your home network. The more people contribute, the stronger your local outdoor network will be for you and your neighbors, Amazon claims.

You can use the service to keep devices connected outside in your yard or garage, such as a smart garage door opener. If you’ve lost something connected to Sidewalk, such as your dog with a retrieval or tile tracker attached to his collar, it can help you locate it.

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If you lose something with a tile tracker attached, Sidewalk can help you find it.

Josh Miller / CNET

How will Amazon Sidewalk affect my Echo speaker?

Your Echo speaker acts as a “bridge” of your home’s Wi-Fi to provide bandwidth to other devices outside your home. This means that others can draw on your network and vice versa. For example, if your Echo device loses its Wi-Fi connection, Sidewalk can help it stay connected by connecting to a neighbor’s Sidewalk connection.

When will Sidewalk start working on my Echo device?

While you may already see Sidewalk in the Alexa app, the service itself isn’t running, so you can’t use it just yet. Amazon has not announced a specific launch date, but says it will be available by the end of 2020. Since we are now in December, you can probably expect it in a few weeks.

Amazon hasn’t said which devices will go online for the first time at launch, but as with most new features, it will be rolled out to people at different times. Amazon will notify you when the service becomes available.

Can I turn off Amazon Sidewalk? How?

To turn off Amazon Sidewalk, open the Alexa app and tap Lake > Settings > Account settings > Amazon sidewalk and turn off the switch. Keep in mind that it can be turned off automatically for you, just like me. There is also mentioned a switch Find community, which you can turn on or off to help your neighbors find their items connected to Sidewalk.

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You can turn off Amazon Sidewalk in the Alexa app.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Amazon Echo devices that will work with Sidewalk

Here is a list of Echo speakers that are compatible with Sidewalk. Note that only the Echo Show 10 and the new spherical Echo are the only speakers that can transmit low-bandwidth long-range signals on the 900MHz band (in other words, most effective at sharing connections from greater distances).

  • Amazon Echo (second generation, 2017, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo (third generation, 2019, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo (fourth generation, 2020, BLE and 900 MHz)
  • Amazon Echo Dot with clock (first generation, 2019, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Dot with clock (second generation, 2020, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (first generation, 2016, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (second generation, 2016, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (third generation, 2018, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation, 2020, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (third generation, 2020, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Plus (first generation, 2017, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Plus (second generation, 2018, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Show (first generation, 2017, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Show (second generation, 2018, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Show 5 (2019 only, BLE)
  • Amazon Echo Show 8 (2019 only, BLE)
  • Amazon Echo Show 10 (2020, BLE and 900 MHz)
  • Amazon Echo Spot (2017 only, BLE)
  • Amazon Echo Studio (2018 only, BLE)

For more new Amazon Echo tips, here how to turn your Fire TV into a bigger Amazon Echo Show. Also here are five surprising music hacks to try with your Amazon Echo and the four best things you can do with more than one Echo speaker.


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