Nordic moves to support Amazon Sidewalk devices

2 mins read

Nordic Semiconductor has announced that developers will be able to start building Amazon Sidewalk products using Nordic's nRF52840 Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) and nRF Connect SDK.

Amazon Sidewalk has two major variants: one shorter range that targets applications within the home and uses license-free 2.4 GHz Bluetooth LE, and another which is a longer-range variant that targets applications outside the home and uses the license-free sub-GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) frequency band.

Over shorter ranges, Amazon Sidewalk over Bluetooth LE will streamline connecting Bluetooth LE devices to the Cloud providing both data privacy and security. This variant is suitable for devices located inside homes and buildings. All that is needed with the Nordic solution is a Nordic nRF52840 SoC.

Amazon Sidewalk over longer ranges is a lower data rate, wireless IoT network that is designed to sit between home Wi-Fi and cellular IoT networks. It provides greater 'all neighbourhood' coverage than in-home Wi-Fi, but without incurring the cost of using a cellular network connection.

In the US this longer-range Sidewalk variant will use the 900 MHz ISM band. And in the Nordic solution, this capability will be provided by a Semtech SX1262 transceiver that includes a further two options: Sidewalk over LoRa; and Sidewalk over FSK (higher data throughput than LoRa but less range using a long-established digital data modulation scheme called 'Frequency-Shift Keying' or 'FSK' for short).

The longer-range sub-GHz Amazon Sidewalk variant will still make use of the Nordic nRF52840. Here the SoC will act as an application processor and provide Bluetooth LE connectivity for device network registration and authentication or provide important over-the-air device firmware updates.

Application examples include smart outdoor lighting, environmental sensors, utility meters, asset trackers, and domestic appliances such as washing machines and tumble dryers that are often kept in basements or garages, as well as healthcare and commercial devices.

With Amazon Sidewalk now open to developers, developers and device makers will no longer need to address the issue of how to connect them to the Internet, and it comes with an already installed base of millions of devices. All participating Sidewalk Bridges share a small portion of their Internet bandwidth to provide services to any Amazon Sidewalk end device. This will enable even more use cases such as asset tracking and finding misplaced items.

"Amazon Sidewalk is a really promising development in consumer-targeted wireless IoT," said Finn Boetius, Product Marketing Engineer at Nordic Semiconductor. “By upgrading its near ubiquitous existing infrastructure in the US of deployed Amazon Echo and Ring devices, Amazon has taken a unique  opportunity here to further expand the application range and market potential of wireless IoT. This includes using Bluetooth to make it super easy for consumers to add Amazon Sidewalk devices to their network using their smartphones."