Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) wants to join all connected devices in your neighborhood into a single mesh network so that you will continue to have functionality beyond the limits of your own Wi-Fi signal.
Called Amazon Sidewalk, it's a type of Wi-Fi network of its own that gains strength the more devices people connect to it because it borrows a small bit of bandwidth from your connected neighbors (who need to opt into the program) to create a "shared network" that extends the range of your own signal.
In a blog post this morning announcing that many Echo and Tile tracking devices will begin supporting Amazon Sidewalk later this year, Amazon explained that the system works by tapping into outdoor Ring devices such as floodlight and spotlight cams that it will use as a "bridge" to access the network.
Users then link their devices to Sidewalk, and it takes a portion of their internet bandwidth to further expand the reach of the signal. So if your dog is wearing a sidewalk-enabled Tile on its collar and runs away, you'll still be able to track it even though it is far beyond the limits of your personal Wi-Fi network.
Similarly, smart lights in your yard that might not be able to be reached by your network will readily connect now with Sidewalk. Also, if your own Wi-Fi signal goes down, you will remain connected because you're tapping into all of your neighbors' Wi-Fi networks.
To address privacy concerns, Amazon says Sidewalk is triple encrypted, and device owners can't view data sent from connected devices. Moreover, no one will know what devices the network is pinging to send a signal, and the routing data received by Sidewalk is purged every 24 hours.
Any device manufacturer that wants to be added to Sidewalk will have to demonstrate its devices meet these standards, although Amazon is probably hoping that the new feature will boost sales of its own connected devices.