Amazon is testing new wireless bridge to extend Sidewalk network range up to 5 miles or more

The new Sidewalk Bridge Pro from Amazon by Ring. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon says it’s testing a new professional-grade device that can extend the range of a single access point in its Sidewalk neighborhood wireless network up to 5 miles or more.

Called “Amazon Sidewalk Bridge Pro by Ring,” the device signals the company’s ambitions to expand the Sidewalk network beyond residential neighborhoods to connect sensors and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices in environments shopping centers, university campuses and remote locations.

It is not yet approved by the Federal Communications Commission nor available for sale. However, Amazon on Thursday announced pilot programs with Arizona State University to use the bridge to connect devices at its Tempe, Ariz. Campus; and with Thingy, based in Bellevue, Wash., to provide connectivity to its air quality monitoring systems that help fight wildfires.

Thingy AQ provides information to first responders in the event of a forest fire. (Thin photo via Amazon)

In its current neighborhood embodiment, Sidewalk uses Amazon customers’ Echo devices as connection points to create a shared, secure neighborhood network for devices like outdoor lights and animal trackers. Ring and Echo devices are enabled by default on the network. (Here’s how to unsubscribe.)

In the ASU pilot, the Sidewalk Bridge Pro will instead get its connectivity from the built-in Internet access to blue light emergency stations on campus.

Amazon says ASU “intends to expand the range of connectivity for its IoT devices on campus, while freeing up the university’s Wi-Fi for high-bandwidth activities like distance learning. , video conferencing, online research or streaming ”.

The proof of concept with Thingy will use LoRa (Long Range) telemetry to transmit data to and from the Thingy AQ air quality monitoring device using the Sidewalk Bridge Pro.

Amazon says the approach “will dramatically increase connectivity for Thingy AQ and help protect public lands, homes, vineyards and farms from catastrophic damage.”

In a footnote on its claim to a 5 mile range, Amazon says the distance “varies depending on the height of the facility, terrain, environmental conditions, and surrounding obstacles such as buildings or buildings. trees “.

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