How to opt out of Amazon's bandwidth-sharing Sidewalk network

Echo and Ring devices in the US are automatically enrolled in the program.

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Amazon is today switching on Sidewalk, a low-bandwidth network that aims to keep compatible devices connected even when they lose their link to your router. Many Echo and Ring products are automatically being used as bridges to extend the range of the network. Although Amazon says Sidewalk is protected with multiple layers of encryption, users might not want the company to use their bandwidth or devices in this way.

You'll need to opt out if you don't want to participate in Sidewalk. To do so for Echo devices, access your account settings through the Alexa app, then select Disable under the Amazon Sidewalk menu. For Ring products, go to the control center in the Ring app, then the Amazon Sidewalk options. From there, tap Disable, then Confirm.

People who buy a compatible Echo for the first time can opt out of Sidewalk while they're setting up the speaker. You'll still be able to turn on Sidewalk later if you change your mind.

The following devices are eligible to be used as Sidewalk bridges:

  • 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

Sidewalk is effectively a mass mesh network. It earmarks a small chunk of your internet bandwidth (80Kbps per bridge and up to 500MB of monthly data in total) to share with your neighbors. Sidewalk uses Bluetooth, the 900 MHz spectrum and other frequencies to expand the coverage area. The program is US-only for now.

The idea is to keep Echo speakers, Ring cameras, outdoor lights, motion sensors and other low-power devices connected even if they're outwith your regular WiFi range. Tile trackers will also start working with the network on June 14th.

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