What is Amazon Sidewalk and How Does It Work?

Going places that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can’t

Dog wearing Ring Fetch

Amazon

Amazon Sidewalk is a new low-powered wide area network wireless protocol. Its goal is to create an ecosystem of connected devices like mailboxes and gardening sensors that can live outside the home. To accomplish this, it uses a 900 MHz spectrum which allows for long range and low power consumption.

What Is Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon Sidewalk is a device ecosystem and protocol built on an unlicensed 900 MHz spectrum which allows devices to connect up to 500 meters away while providing up to a year of battery life. Amazon Sidewalk works as a mesh network of devices capable of limited data transfer, geolocation, and better building penetration.

The first product to use Amazon Sidewalk is a dog tag called Ring Fetch coming in 2020. Ring Fetch serves as reference hardware for what Amazon Sidewalk is capable of. It has a range of up to 500 meters on a single base station, and up to a mile within a Sidewalk network. An ecosystem of devices will grow from Sidewalk built by product developers and Amazon itself.

How Does Amazon Sidewalk Work?

Amazon Sidewalk uses an unlicensed 900 MHz spectrum to transmit data. This allows enough bandwidth for data and over the air updates, while still maintaining long battery life. Amazon is already using that spectrum for its Ring Smart Light Bridge.

The linked Smart Light Bridge does not use Amazon Sidewalk. It's an example of an Amazon device communicating with 900 MHz spectrum only.

Amazon Sidewalk will create mesh networks with all Sidewalk-enabled devices in an area to further extend the range of products like Ring Fetch. During a trial, Amazon seeded 700 devices out to Ring employees to install in their homes. Within weeks, an Amazon Sidewalk mesh network covered the entire Los Angeles Basin.

Amazon Sidewalk Wi-Fi Frequency Bands

Amazon Sidewalk uses a 900 MHz spectrum to form a mesh network over a large area. 900 MHz is the same frequency used in consumer walkie-talkies and on-call pagers like those used at restaurants. Little more is known about the exact technical specifications, though Amazon will publish the protocol so third-party device makers can use it as well.

Amazon Sidewalk is most effective when multiple devices in an area form a mesh network. Sidewalk base stations in different households transmit information across the network, greatly extending the effectiveness of individual devices.

Where Can I Find Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon Sidewalk is coming in 2020. The first Sidewalk-enabled device will be the aforementioned Ring Fetch, followed by other devices.