How to disable Amazon Sidewalk (and why you should do it)

After years of development, Amazon Sidewalk is finally going live this week. The company’s first major foray into expanded community networking, the Amazon Sidewalk will do some work for smart home device owners. Using low-power broadcast methods, including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and parts of the 900 MHz radio spectrum, Sidewalk bandwidth gaps for the many web-connected devices in our homes by enabling rapid setup for multiple smart home devices. wants to fill. such as smart lights, locks and cameras) and enhanced overall internet connectivity for the corresponding Gear Suite.

On June 8, Sidewalk-enabled devices will automatically go live. In terms of hardware, the Sidewalk-ready Gear is pretty much every Amazon Echo product produced since 2018, along with various Ring hardware. (Get a full list of compatible hardware Here) while most of these devices are only capable of operating on the Sidewalk’s BLE band for faster setup and extended Wi-Fi coverage. Your property, it’s a sidewalk-able bridge that many users can relate to.

Pavement Bridge: King of Pavement

Amazon Echo 4th Gen
The fourth-generation Amazon Echo is one of four available sidewalk bridges.

Amazon’s rounded fourth-gen Echo speaker, Echo Show 10, and Ring’s spotlight and floodlight cam play a distinct role in Amazon’s sidewalk plans. At launch, these are the only four types of equipment that will be able to transmit far-reaching signals along the 900MHz spectrum. While most Echo and Ring products will be able to transmit and share BLE signals (similar to router-based mesh networks), it’s the 900MHz-capable devices that really push the sidewalk to the max.

With sidewalk bridges laying out signals up to half a mile away, benefits include Wi-Fi-adjacent coverage for areas with spotty internet. Additionally, tracking devices such as the Tile and CareBand that rely on Bluetooth will achieve a greater area of ​​coverage, which can be achieved with your phone’s Bluetooth’s A-to-B as opposed to receiving the tracking device’s transmission. is. Say your dog has gone missing. With Fetch (Tile’s latest — a Bluetooth-trackable dog collar) and Sidewalk community networking, you can potentially track your mutt from miles away, as opposed to just several hundred feet in a non-Sidewalk neighborhood. goes.

Privacy and User Data

The simple fact is that not every Sidewalk Bridge device owner wants their hardware to be live and broadcast to the community. While Amazon has gone out of its way to be transparent about all the security measures taken to operate the Sidewalk (read white paper here), Sidewalk Bridges can broadcast by borrowing a sliver of Wi-Fi provided by your home ISP and then reclassifying that quota of bandwidth as a 900MHz low-power signal.

Amazon claims there will be 500MB monthly caps on all Sidewalk Bridge devices (which is barely enough bandwidth to stream 10 minutes of HD video) and 80Kbps caps on data sent from Bridge devices to Amazon servers. Users can also expect a myriad of sophisticated encryption to be implemented for all data streaming in and out of homes and neighborhoods. That being said, some people will still be uncomfortable sharing a portion of their Wi-Fi with their ZIP code.

After all, the Amazon Sidewalk is a whole new ballgame for Amazon. After launch, the Sidewalk will certainly be in its early (and bug-laden) phase for some time, as any new tech device should be expected. Then there’s the fact that the internet you’re paying for month after month is being mined for data transmission. While the capable Sidewalk Bridge is capped at 500MB per month, that’s still 500MB that can be used to consolidate web-connected gear in your own home.

Whether you’re unwilling to part with any portion of your monthly Wi-Fi bandwidth or you’re unwilling to trust mega-tech companies with your user data, opting out of the Amazon sidewalk is an option available. All The owner of the sidewalk device. Here’s how to disable the service.

How to Deactivate Amazon Sidewalk

You can easily turn Amazon Sidewalk on or off using the Alexa app. Go ahead and grab your phone or tablet, then launch the app. On the Home screen, tap more (bottom right corner). Then, tap Adjustment, then tap aAccount Settings.

How to Deactivate Amazon Sidewalk

On the Account Settings page, you will see an option for Amazon Sidewalk. Go ahead and tap . On the next screen, you will be greeted with a brief explainer of the Sidewalk service with options to enable/disable at the bottom. Drag the toggle to the off-position and that’s it!

Disabled, your Amazon, Ring, and other compatible hardware will still function and respond normally, but without the ability to transmit or receive sidewalk networking signals.

The Future of the Amazon Sidewalk

The Amazon Sidewalk will allow devices such as the Fetch (a trackable dog collar by Tile) to operate miles away from your home.

As mentioned (both here and earlier), Amazon Sidewalk is an entirely new service that will take time to work out all the kinks. Although in a completely safe world, there’s a lot to love about a fully functioning sidewalk community. We are talking about enhanced connectivity for some of our favorite smart home devices, easier setup of corresponding gear, better tracking for brands like Tile, CareBand, and brand new addition to the Sidewalk family.

The future is bright for Sidewalk, but if you’re concerned that the day of smooth completion is far (or impossible), the choice to decline service is entirely yours.

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