Internet Network

Amazon’s new feature will share your internet connection with neighbors (but you can opt out)

Unless you opt-out of Amazon Sidewalk – you’re going to start sharing your internet with your neighbors on June 8 on select Amazon devices.

Amazon recently announced the launch of a new feature called Amazon Sidewalk which will automatically start sharing people’s internet connection in an attempt to build a shared network intended to help certain devices work better.

Amazon Sidewalk, according to the retail giant’s website, is expected to “extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices to help find pets or valuables with Tile trackers, and help devices stay online even if they are outside the range of their home wifi.”

Sidewalk is going to take a maximum 80Kbps (or about 1/40th of the bandwidth needed to stream high-definition video) from users through select devices called bridges. The monthly total for data used by Sidewalk will be capped at 500MB per account. That’s the equivalent of streaming about 10 minutes of high-definition video, according to Amazon.

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TunnelBear.com breaks down how 500MB might be used depending on the device and what you’re trying to do. For instance, the website states that someone could listen to just under 7 hours of music with 500MB.

Another website, KensTechTips.com, states that 500MB of data allows users to browse the internet for 6 hours, stream 100 songs or watch one hour of standard definition video.

The bridge devices Amazon plans to use include Echo devices and select Ring Floodlight and Spotlight Cams. The full list of expected bridge devices can be found at the bottom of this article.

The good news for owners of bridge devices is that they have the option to disable Sidewalk and still continue using their devices as before.

“Ring customers who own an eligible device can choose to update their Amazon Sidewalk preferences anytime from the Control Center in the Ring app or Ring website,” Amazon officials said. “Echo customers who own an eligible device can update their Amazon Sidewalk preferences anytime from Settings in the Alexa app. If you have linked your Ring and Amazon accounts, your Sidewalk preferences on either your Alexa or Ring app will apply to all of your eligible Echo and Ring devices.”

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The Amazon website encourages people to participate in Sidewalk as a way to stay connected. One example the company uses is for a Ring device. “For select Ring devices, you can continue to receive motion alerts from your Ring Security Cams and customer support can still troubleshoot problems even if your devices lose their wifi connection,” the website states.

Sidewalk isn’t exactly getting glowing reviews on social media. Many Twitter users are expressing concern over the location tracking network with one user referring to the bridges as “spy devices.”

There has been some speculation that users will not be able to opt out of Sidewalk after June 8 but Amazon says that is not true. Opting out of Amazon Sidewalk can be done at any time, according to the Observer.

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  • Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)

  • Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019)

  • Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019)

  • Echo (3rd gen and newer)

  • Echo Dot (3rd gen and newer)

  • Echo Dot for Kids (3rd gen and newer)

  • Echo Dot with Clock (3rd gen and newer)

  • Echo Plus (all generations)

  • Echo Show (2nd gen)

  • Echo Show 5, 8, 10 (all generations)

  • Echo Spot

  • Echo Studio

  • Echo Input

  • Echo Flex

To get full details and answers to frequently asked questions regarding Amazon Sidewalk, click here.

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