Amazon Echo devices won't be restricted by your spotty Wi-Fi network

amazon sidewalk
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Sidewalk is being rolled out to Amazon Echo and Ring devices "later this year", to ensure these devices can stay connected even when they're outside the range of your home Wi-Fi network. 

Amazon has begun informing customers that existing Echo devices will get Sidewalk connectivity by default, though it is possible to opt out via the Alexa app if you wish.

The new location-tracking mesh network system works by creating a neighborhood network using connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices that will help customer's devices work better both at home and beyond their front doors.

There will be two types of devices operating on the network: Sidewalk Bridges and Sidewalk-enabled devices. Sidewalk Bridges will include devices such as select Ring Floodlight Cams and Ring Spotlight Cams to provide connections to Amazon Sidewalk, while Sidewalk-enabled devices such as smart lights will connect to Sidewalk Bridges to access the network.

This should allow outdoor Amazon Echo devices and Ring security cameras to maintain a strong connection even if they're far away from your house. 

ring fetch

(Image credit: Amazon)

A neighborly network

You'll even be able to locate things items that are connected to Sidewalk; the Ring Fetch is a pet tracker that attaches to your furry friend's collar and lets you know if they leave a designated perimeter. So, if your dog goes walkies, you won't have to rely on them being within the parameters of your home Wi-Fi network to find them.

The strength of the network does depend on how many people in your area decide to participate. That's because the system relies on Sidewalk Bridge owners to contribute a small portion of their internet bandwidth, which is "pooled together to create a shared network that benefits all Sidewalk-enabled devices in a community". 

As Amazon says, "coverage may vary by location based on the number of participating Bridges in a location", and that, "the more Sidewalk Bridge customers who participate, the better the network becomes."

So, if you're hoping to locate your lost pup, you'd better hope that your neighbors are as tuned into the Amazon ecosystem as you are.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.