Amazon Sidewalk: a shared and free network to stay connected

Almost a year ago, Jeff Bezos' company had advertised a service surprising aiming to improve the functioning of connected objects in our homes thanks to a shared neighborhood network. Today the project Amazon Sidewalk talk about him again with the ad, on the Day One blog of the firm, of the upcoming launch of this innovative and interesting system ...

Amazon Sidewalk: fight against Wi-Fi outages

Amazon Sidewalk is coming at the end of 2020Amazon Sidewalk consists of a shared network that helps devices run better. At no cost to the user, the system promises to help simplify the setup of new devices, expand coverage for low-bandwidth devices, and most importantly, keep devices online. even if they are out of reach of their home Wi-Fi. Better yet, as specified Amazon on his blog « in the future, Sidewalk will also offer a variety of experiences, ranging from using network-enabled devices to help find pets or valuables, to safety and security. intelligent lighting, through the diagnosis of devices and tools ”.

How does it work?

It is very simple. Some of your devices will serve as a so-called gateway Sidewalk bridge and allow other compatible devices to access the network. A mesh network made up, for example, of all the Echo speakers and Ring cameras in a neighborhood. Devices that need access will be able to connect to the nearest node, your home or your neighbors, it doesn't matter.

But what interest? The first is to offer more stable connections by linking the network in order to overcome connection incidents. If your Wi-Fi is insufficient or has stopped transmitting, your Ring camera will be able to connect to that of your neighbor who, in turn, has a sufficient network. And vice versa.

First example:  a burglar breaks into your home and cuts off your access to the network. No problem, your Ring cameras will be able to rely on the network Amazon Sidewalk to continue transmitting alerts and videos via your neighbors' cameras or their speakers Amazon Echo. Useful, right?

Second example: Médor got lost in the neighborhood, or even in another neighborhood. Phew, he's wearing a Tile brand plotter around the neck which will be able to connect via the Sidewalk network and provide you with a precise location of its position thanks to the triangulation. Awesome, isn't it?

Obviously, the cover ofAmazon Sidewalk will vary in depending on the number of bridges in a neighborhood and the more Sidewalk Bridge customers participating, the better the network. From now on, you will have to choose your neighbors carefully!

Note that you will have the opportunity to find out if there are any bridges available around you and to help your neighbors by sharing the location of yours. But rest assured, they will not be able to see the exact address of your Sidewalk Bridge, just a approximate location.

Finally, do not be afraid to see your weak ADSL connection or your fabulous fiber cut off of part of its capacities, Amazon Sidewalk does not consume anything practical. Indeed, the maximum bandwidth from a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server will be 80 kbps, or about 1 / 40th of that used to broadcast high definition video. Suffice to say that the impact will be minimal and it's a safe bet that you will not even realize this consumption which, moreover, will be capped at 500 MB per month. Indeed, the network does not support broadband connections as would a wifi or cellular network since it uses the 900 MHz band (which benefits from an excellent range, but only allows low speeds) .

Security and confidentiality guaranteed

When it comes to sharing its network, the e-commerce giant's customers may well have some concerns about the security of the device, but Amazon promise that “Preserving customer privacy and security is fundamental to how we have built Amazon Sidewalk ", emphasizing that its distributed network is equipped with three layers of encryption and ensuring "That the owners of other devices cannot view the data sent" by other users.

Data which, moreover, will not include no sensitive information and will not identify the owner of the connected object. the Operation of Sidewalk is detailed in this document very complete 13 pages.

Sidewalk Bridge compatible devices

Users will be able to access the service for free using two types of devices that support Sidewalk and Sidewalk Bridge. Compatible devices are those using the 900 MHz band (LoRa and FSK) and / or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Rest assured, you will not have to buy anything more than what you probably already have since these are the Pregnant Amazon Echo (those equipped with Bluetooth only) and some Ring cameras (Floodlight and Spotlight Cams).

Here is the full list:

Fascinated by Alexa since the day I received it in beta test, I gradually became passionate about the subject, before deciding to go further by creating a site with Jean-Christophe. An activity that allows me to quench my thirst for new technologies and share my discoveries about the nicest of communities: Les Alexiens.