Amazon announced in-house wireless protocol for smart home - “Sidewalk”

Amazon announced in-house wireless protocol for smart home - “Sidewalk”
At its annual smart home hardware event, Amazon announced a new wireless protocol called Sidewalk, developed in-house by the e-commerce giant.
 
The company questioned that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, two wireless protocols often used for smart home applications, don't support enough connection range, while 5G consumes excessive power and is too complicated.
 
"In the space around homes, that leaves a middle-ground for devices like sensors and smart lights that can benefit from low-cost, low-power, low-bandwidth connections," said Amazon in the press release.
 
As a result, the company decided to make its own protocol and came up with Sidewalk. Amazon Sidewalk is a low-bandwidth network that uses existing free over-the-air 900 MHz spectrum and supports between 500 meters up to one mile (about 1.6 kilometer) distance, depending on how the base station and devices are positioned.
 
900 MHz spectrum are at present mostly used by radios for emergency services and digital pagers carried by doctors on-call.
 
Amazon will publish the protocol so that other device makers can integrate it into their products. The detailed costs and dates, however, aren't mentioned by the company yet. It has sent out 700 Ring lighting products to households of Amazon employees and their friends and family in Los Angeles, USA, to test access points of Sidewalk.
 
"Using the 900 MHz spectrum, we are developing a new protocol we project can increase the connection range of these devices (smart home devices) by more than one half mile/ one kilometer. With Amazon Sidewalk, customers will be able to place smart devices anywhere on their property and know they'll work great, even in dead spots where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth don't reach," said the company.

Smart home brand Ring takes the lead

Smart Lighting Bridges from Ring, a smart home subsidiary of Amazon, has used the new protocol to extend the connection range of smart lighting devices. The company also plans to include the latest generation of Ring Floodlight Camera and Ring Spotlight Camera to support Amazon Sidewalk.
 
At the hardware event, Amazon has also announced Fetch, a clip tag for owners to track their pets, to support Amazon Sidewalk. Fetch belongs to the Ring product portfolio and works with the Ring app. It provides real-time positions of the pet and alerts users if the pet leaves a certain perimeter. The company said that Fetch, to be released in 2020, aims to be a reference design to present the protocol's potential for wide-range connection and reliable network.
 
Amazon didn't reveal when Sidewalk will be opened for wider use. For now, it only provides a website for device makers to sign up and get notified when more information is available.


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