Simply put, no, The Alexa devices will not work without a WiFi connection and cannot be localised as they need a constant connection to the Amazon servers.
Update: This post was originally written in 2019, all information has been updated and is now correct.
This is because of the way the devices work when you send commands to them. Believe it or not, the commands aren’t stored on the devices themselves, they will record your voice clips and keep them as temporary files which then use a tool to translate and convert the voice into text which the server then uses as a command to compare and send data back.
Think of it as a messenger in war, a soldier tells the messenger what to say in French and the messenger tells the recipient what it was in English, who will then send a reply back.
Can I connect the Alexa Echo to a hotspot?
Yes, you simply need to enable the hotspot on your mobile device prior and then reconnect the Alexa via the Amazon Alexa App:
- Open the Alexa App .
- Select Devices .
- Select Echo & Alexa.
- Select your device.
- Select Change next to Wi-Fi Network and follow the instructions in the app. Make sure to select the right network.
Can I still use the Alexa device as a Bluetooth speaker?
Yes and No, you can, however, it needs setting up prior with a WiFi connection. Once you have set this up, the device can be used in the future without a WiFi connection to play the latest Gorillaz album 😉
Here are the steps to using the device as a Bluetooth speaker:
- Open the Alexa application on your smartphone, select menu, and choose “Settings“.
- Select the device you would like to pair.
- Select Bluetooth.
- Select a device from the list
- Select “Forget”
- Repeat this step for all other Bluetooth devices on the list.
If you’re looking for a decent Bluetooth speaker at a decent price, we recommend the Anker SoundCore mini. Boasting over 25,000 positive reviews.
If you’re looking for more information on making your Alexa device a bluetooth speaker, check out this HowToGeek guide which breaks this down in more detail.
Will Alexa Alarms work without WiFi?
Yes, whilst a massive amount of Alexa’s functionality is gone when your internet isn’t working (Thanks PlusNet!), Alexa alarms do still work without a WiFi connection, which seems great. But you can’t then tell Alexa to turn off the alarm as it cannot relay to the Amazon server.
This is because the Alarm system itself is set in the Alexa device itself, hopefully, we will see more features like this in the future!
Just to help with this, if the night before your partner is asleep and you want to avoid waking your partner with the alarm, you can walk up to your Alexa unit and whisper to it, “Alexa, set volume to one.”
This will result in a small flash but no voice response. Now ask Alexa to set the Alarm at the time you need by whispering to it and you’ll get a VERY quiet whispering response.
How Does WiFi Work?
Wi-Fi is a group of IEEE 702.11 wireless devices that are used to communicate from a local environment to the global one, essentially sending data to and from your location to other locations. Wi-Fi Stands for “Wireless fidelity” and is another way of saying WLAN (Wireless local area network).
Wi-Fi uses radio frequencies to send signals back and forth to other wireless devices, Wi-Fi uses Gigahertz frequencies rather than the traditional non-wifi radio which uses Kilohertz and Megahertz.
One Hertz (Hz), is one cycle per second, so calculating that, one GHz is the same as one billion cycles.
How much bandwidth does Alexa use?
This is a rather broad query as it depends on how many skills you have installed, how often it updates, how often you have automated schedules run, and stream music etc.
One user on Reddit (redthunda69), explained that when their device was idle it was using around 1Mbps, however, this doesn’t take into consideration day to day use.
Check our post on how much bandwidth your Smart Home requires.
“Alexa app is offline”
This is something that plagued a lot of us in 2017 through to 2018, I haven’t seen much of it since, but if this does happen.
- Unplug the Alexa Echo device and uninstall the app on your mobile.
- Restart your phone to clear its app cache and then reinstall the app and re-connect your Alexa, it should now connect.
Alternatively, check out this old TechTimes article as it goes into more detail on potential other solutions.
So, the Amazon Alexa devices are great value for the money you send, they’re one of my favourite Smart Home Assistant devices. Regardless of the inability to work properly without WiFi, I do think it’s worth getting the full Echo devices even if you just use them as a budget Bluetooth Speaker.
However, it is 2020, you should be able to hotspot on your phone or borrow the neighbours unsecure connection (Not that I advise this due to security reasons).
What do you think of the Alexa Devices as speakers?