Amazon Sidewalk Wi-Fi sharing experiment goes live next week2021-06-01 19:07 by Daniela
Tags: Amazon Sidewalk, Wi-Fi
Amazon is planning to automatically enroll owners of its devices into a program which would share a slice of your internet connection with your neighbors. Starting June 8 (US only for now), Amazon will be turning your devices into Sidewalk Bridges unless you opt-out.
By default, all Amazon devices, including Alexa, Echo, Ring, CCTV cameras, ambient light sources, motion sensors and other electronics will be included in the system. Considering that not everyone changes the default settings, millions of people will be included in the experimental program, most of them without even knowing it. So far, we are talking only about buyers from the United States.
The idea behind Amazon Sidewalk is that without a reliable internet connection, having a device like a webcam doorbell or security doorbell is somewhat pointless. So, to combat this poor connectivity, Amazon is planning to turn select Echo and Ring devices into Sidewalk Bridges and use your internet connection to help others.
For those concerned that this will slow down their connection, according to Amazon, bandwidth will be capped at 80Kbps.
"The maximum bandwidth of a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server is 80Kbps, which is about 1/40th of the bandwidth used to stream a typical high definition video. Today, when you share your Bridge's connection with Sidewalk, total monthly data used by Sidewalk, per account, is capped at 500MB, which is equivalent to streaming about 10 minutes of high definition video."
The security level of such a network is not yet reliably known. Some experts fear that hacking Amazon Sidewalk will allow obtaining extremely important data about users even in their rooms – from recording conversations to videos and other information and, in some cases, completely disabling the infrastructure of smart homes, including locks, lighting, heating. etc. At the same time, the technology is planned to be tested on the users themselves; without preliminary running in focus groups.
Amazon did not provide security details, but did say Sidewalk cannot be used to spy on other Amazon users and that the network uses "multiple layers" of encryption to protect people's privacy.
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