Amazon‘s Growing Dominance in the Wifi Market: What It Means for Shoppers and the Industry

As an avid online shopper and follower of the retail industry, I‘ve watched with great interest as Amazon has steadily expanded its presence in the world of wifi technology over the past few years. From its acquisition of mesh networking startup Eero to the launch of its Sidewalk low-bandwidth network, the e-commerce giant is clearly making significant investments in this space. But what does this mean for consumers, and how is Amazon‘s wifi strategy shaping the broader industry landscape?

In this in-depth analysis, I‘ll draw upon my expertise in retail and consumer behavior to explore the implications of Amazon‘s growing dominance in the wifi market. We‘ll examine the company‘s current offerings, the competitive advantages it holds, and the potential privacy concerns that come with Amazon‘s increasing control over our home networks.

Whether you‘re a fellow deal-hunter looking to upgrade your wifi setup or an industry watcher curious about Amazon‘s long-term play, this article will provide the insights and context you need to understand this important trend. Let‘s dive in.

The State of Amazon‘s Wifi Ecosystem

To grasp the full scope of Amazon‘s wifi ambitions, it‘s helpful to start with an overview of the company‘s current products and services in this area. Central to Amazon‘s consumer-facing wifi strategy is Eero, the mesh networking company it acquired for $97 million in 2019.

Eero‘s wifi systems are designed to blanket an entire home in fast, reliable connectivity by using multiple access points that work together seamlessly. Since the acquisition, Amazon has expanded the Eero lineup with new models offering the latest wifi 6 technology and embedded Zigbee smart home hubs.

The Eero 6 and Pro 6 systems, launched in late 2020, boast some impressive performance claims. The Pro 6 can allegedly cover up to 6,000 square feet with tri-band wifi and support over 75 simultaneously connected devices. But how does this stack up to the competition?

According to a CNET review, the Eero Pro 6 "was as stable as any mesh I‘ve tested" and delivered faster speeds at long range than similar systems from Nest, Asus, and Linksys. PC Magazine called the Eero 6 "an excellent choice if you want to blanket your home with Wi-Fi without spending a fortune."

Industry experts see the Eero acquisition as a savvy move by Amazon to further ingrain itself in customers‘ homes. "It‘s all about building a relationship with consumers and being the go-to provider for everything in their home," said Weitao Liu, a consumer tech analyst at Forrester Research. "Owning the home wifi network is a key piece of that strategy."

But Amazon‘s wifi ambitions extend beyond just Eero. In 2019, the company announced Amazon Sidewalk, a shared low-bandwidth network that uses the 900 MHz spectrum to extend the range of smart home devices. Sidewalk is powered by compatible Echo and Ring devices, which serve as bridges to share a small portion of their owner‘s internet bandwidth with nearby sensors and other low-power devices.

While Sidewalk has raised some privacy concerns (more on that later), Amazon touts it as a way to make smart home devices more reliable and easier to set up. "With Sidewalk, customers will be able to place smart lights, pet locators, sensors, and other low-cost devices anywhere on their property and know they‘ll work great, even if they don‘t have a strong wifi signal," wrote Amazon‘s chief technology officer Werner Vogels in a blog post.

As of 2021, Amazon claims that Sidewalk covers over 90% of the U.S. population, making it one of the largest IoT networks in existence. The implications for smart home adoption could be significant. "By making it easier and cheaper to deploy connected devices, Sidewalk could accelerate the growth of the smart home market and further cement Amazon‘s central role in it," said Jack Narcotta, a senior smart home analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Inside Amazon‘s Wifi-Powered Warehouses

Of course, Amazon‘s wifi expertise isn‘t limited to consumer products. The company also relies heavily on wireless technology to power its vast fulfillment network, which spans over 175 facilities globally and employs more than 1.2 million workers.

In Amazon warehouses, wifi serves two main functions: tracking inventory and monitoring worker productivity. Employees use handheld scanners connected to the warehouse wifi to log the location of items as they move through the fulfillment process. This real-time visibility helps Amazon optimize its inventory management and ensure faster, more accurate deliveries.

But the wifi network also enables Amazon to keep close tabs on its workers. The handheld scanners track each employee‘s location and the rate at which they‘re picking and packing orders. Managers can see this data in real time and use it to identify underperforming workers and push for faster speeds.

Critics argue that this constant surveillance creates a stressful and dehumanizing work environment. "You‘re being tracked from the moment you walk in until the moment you leave," said Rina Cummings, a former Amazon warehouse worker in Staten Island, New York. "It‘s like having a manager breathing down your neck every second of the day."

Amazon has faced multiple lawsuits and protests over its treatment of warehouse workers, with wifi-based monitoring often cited as a key grievance. The company maintains that these tracking systems are intended to improve efficiency and workplace safety. However, in 2021 Amazon did agree to change its "Time Off Task" algorithm, which penalized workers for even brief periods of inactivity.

Regardless of where one stands on these labor issues, it‘s clear that wifi is integral to the functioning of Amazon‘s fulfillment centers. According to a report from Modern Materials Handling, Amazon‘s warehouses can have hundreds of access points supporting thousands of connected devices, all managed centrally to ensure peak performance. The report estimates that Amazon has spent over $100 million on warehouse wifi infrastructure.

Evaluating Eero: A Mesh Wifi System for the Picky Shopper

For consumers looking to bring Eero‘s mesh wifi capabilities into their own homes, Amazon offers a range of options at varying price points. But with numerous mesh systems on the market, how can a discerning shopper know if Eero is the right choice?

Having tested multiple mesh wifi setups in my own home, I can confidently say that Eero is among the most user-friendly and reliable options available. The Eero app makes it incredibly simple to set up your network, add additional nodes, and manage settings like parental controls and guest access. I consistently get strong, fast wifi signals in every room, and I love being able to see which devices are connected and how much data they‘re using.

That said, Eero isn‘t necessarily the cheapest option out there. A three-pack of the Eero 6 dual-band system costs $279, while the top-end Eero Pro 6 three-pack will run you $599. Competing systems like the Netgear Orbi and TP-Link Deco often see deeper discounts, especially during big sales events like Black Friday.

For most shoppers, I think the Eero 6 dual-band system offers the best bang for your buck. It supports wifi speeds up to 900 Mbps and can cover homes up to 5,000 square feet, which is more than enough for the average household. If you have a larger home or want the absolute highest speeds and latest wifi standard, the Eero Pro 6 is a worthy upgrade, but be prepared to pay a premium for it.

One thing to keep in mind is that since Amazon now owns Eero, the company can collect data on your network activity and use it to inform product recommendations and targeted ads. If this concerns you, be sure to adjust your Eero and Amazon privacy settings accordingly.

As a bonus tip for my fellow deal seekers: Amazon frequently offers discounts on Eero systems during its Prime Day and Black Friday sales, so keep an eye out for those if you‘re not in a rush to buy. You can also often find Eero bundles that include a free Echo Dot smart speaker or Ring video doorbell.

Privacy in the Age of Amazon Wifi

No discussion of Amazon‘s growing wifi footprint would be complete without addressing the privacy implications. As the company gains more control over and visibility into our home networks, it‘s important for consumers to understand what data is being collected and how it‘s being used.

With Eero routers, Amazon can see the websites you visit, the devices connected to your network, and even your physical location. The company says it uses this data to improve its products and services and to personalize your Amazon shopping experience. However, some privacy advocates worry that Amazon could abuse this access to profile users or sell their data to third parties.

"Amazon already knows so much about what we buy, what we watch, and now with Eero, where we are in our own homes," said Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights group Fight for the Future. "It‘s a concerning level of surveillance that consumers should be wary of."

Amazon Sidewalk has also raised privacy red flags, as it involves sharing a portion of your home‘s wifi bandwidth with strangers‘ devices. While Amazon says Sidewalk uses multiple layers of encryption and that users have control over what data they share, some security experts warn that the network could be vulnerable to hacking or misuse.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions about how secure Sidewalk really is and what could happen if someone figures out how to exploit it," said Craig Young, a researcher at cybersecurity firm Tripwire. "It‘s important for users to educate themselves on the risks before opting in."

For its part, Amazon maintains that privacy and security are top priorities across all its wifi products. "Protecting customer privacy is foundational to how we‘ve built Amazon Sidewalk and Eero‘s technology," said an Amazon spokesperson in an email statement. "Sidewalk was built with multiple layers of privacy and security, and Eero gives customers control over their data and the ability to delete it at any time."

As a consumer, the best thing you can do is stay informed about the privacy policies of the wifi products you use and adjust your settings to match your comfort level. With Eero, for example, you can turn off data sharing in the app‘s settings menu. For Sidewalk, you can disable participation altogether or limit the amount of bandwidth your devices contribute to the network.

The Future of Amazon Wifi

Looking ahead, it‘s clear that wifi will only become more central to Amazon‘s business model and its relationships with customers. As the company continues to expand its smart home offerings and build out its IoT ecosystem, reliable and far-reaching wifi networks will be key enablers.

One area where I expect to see significant growth is in wifi-connected devices beyond the typical smart speakers and security cameras. Amazon has already launched a wifi-enabled microwave and wall clock, and I wouldn‘t be surprised to see more Amazon-branded appliances and home goods that rely on Eero or Sidewalk connectivity in the near future.

We may also see Amazon leveraging its wifi expertise to move into new markets entirely. Some analysts have speculated that the company could launch its own cellular phone service using a network of wifi hotspots, similar to what Google has done with Google Fi. Others believe Amazon could use Sidewalk to offer low-cost internet access in underserved areas, positioning itself as a connectivity provider for the masses.

"Amazon‘s ultimate goal is to be the infrastructure that powers every aspect of our lives," said Forrester‘s Weitao Liu. "Wifi is just one piece of that puzzle, but it‘s an increasingly important one as more and more devices come online."

As a savvy shopper and industry observer, my advice is to stay tuned and stay informed. Amazon‘s wifi ambitions are only going to grow from here, and whether you‘re a fan of the company or a skeptic, its decisions in this space will have major implications for the way we live, work, and shop. By understanding the technology and the trends driving Amazon‘s strategy, you‘ll be better equipped to make smart choices about your own wifi setup and to navigate the evolving retail landscape.


In the span of just a few years, Amazon has gone from an e-commerce powerhouse with little presence in the wifi market to a leading player shaping the future of home connectivity. Through strategic acquisitions, in-house product development, and a relentless focus on customer experience, the company has built a formidable wifi ecosystem that touches millions of users‘ lives every day.

For shoppers, Amazon‘s wifi offerings like Eero and Sidewalk bring the promise of faster, more reliable connectivity and a more seamless smart home experience. But they also raise valid concerns about privacy and the growing power of big tech companies in our most intimate spaces.

As an expert in the retail and consumer space, my view is that Amazon‘s wifi strategy is a natural extension of its broader goal to be the go-to provider for all our daily needs. By controlling the pipes that connect our devices and our data, Amazon gains an even deeper understanding of its customers and an even greater ability to serve (and sell to) them at every turn.

Whether this is ultimately a good thing for consumers remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: Amazon‘s wifi ambitions are only going to grow, and we‘ll all be feeling the impact for years to come. As informed shoppers and engaged citizens, it‘s up to us to stay on top of these developments and to make sure that as Amazon‘s wifi footprint expands, our privacy and our power as consumers doesn‘t shrink in the process.