Monday, September 21, 2020

Amazon Sidewalk envisions a shared network for neighborhoods

 Amazon is advancing its plans for Sidewalk, a crowd-sourced network of consumer devices to be operated by Amazon at no charge to customers. The idea is to leverage the connectivity of devices throughout a neighborhood to help simplify new device setup, extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices, and help devices stay online even if they are outside the range of their home WiFi.

Amazon envisions that its network of Sidewalk-enabled devices could help its device users to find lost pets or valuables, to enable smart security and lighting, or to provide diagnostics for appliances and tools that lose their primary connectivity. Other applications for Sidewalk could include sensors for tracking packages, lost/stolen items, smart irrigation, etc 

The Amazon Sidewalk network will be enabled by customers with a Sidewalk Bridge, which is a capability that Amazon has already built into many existing Echo devices, Ring Floodlight Cams and Ring Spotlight Cams. The owners of these devices will be asked to contribute a small portion of their Internet bandwidth.  Amazon will then pool together this connectivity to create a shared network that benefits all Sidewalk-enabled devices in a community. Information traveling over the Sidewalk network will be encrypted. Amazon also promises to cap the maximum bandwidth used by a Sidewalk bridge owner.

Amazon Sidewalk uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the 900 MHz spectrum and other frequencies to extend coverage.

Semtech confirmed that it is working with Amazon to bring its long-range, low power LoRa platform to the Sidewalk network.

Amazon is also working with Nordic Semiconductor, Silicon Labs and Texas Instruments to enable chip sets that will power new devices.