Quick Answer: Most of the functionality will not work without WiFi as Alexa requires communication with the cloud, however, you can use it through a hotspot and the speaker and alarm functions may still work.
You’ve heard of Amazon’s product Alexa right? If so, you’ll know that it is used via WiFi – either being voice-controlled or using an app on your Android or iOS device. You might be visiting a place without WiFi, or simply not have WiFi in your home & you’re wondering whether the Alexa can be used, or is worth buying.
In this article, we’ll answer all the questions you may have about Alexa and it’s functionality without WiFi, as well as ways you might be able to get around it. You can use the quick navigation below to go to the section that best answers your question:
- What is an Amazon Alexa?
- Will my Amazon Alexa work without WiFi?
- What features will work without WiFi?
- Can Alexa connect to a hotspot?
- Does Alexa have Bluetooth & can I just use it as a speaker without WiFi?
Right, now let’s dig into the article:
Let’s start with the basics, maybe you haven’t heard of the Amazon Alexa & you’re doing your research as to whether it’s worthwhile buying one.
Alexa itself is simply put an Artificial Intelligence service powered and developed by Amazon, using their own cloud service. It came to the market in 2014 and was introduced with the original Echo smart speaker and they are now a household name in over 40 countries across the globe with millions of devices & several generations to date.
As well as Alexa being mostly used in Echo devices, they are also available on third-party devices. A lot of people get confused between Alexa itself and the Echo, they are two different things, Alexa is the AI behind it, the Echo is just the device that has the AI software.
Alexa is mostly controlled through voice commands allowing you to play music by simply asking “Alexa, play [song] on [music service], or you can ask for things like the weather and can even order a takeaway, as well as many more, they’re constantly adding additional services.
As you would expect, however, the Alexa artificial intelligence needs to constantly communicate with Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, so will that work without WiFi?
Now the question you’ve been waiting for, the simple answer is no, you’re Alexa will not work without WiFi, at least not properly. As mentioned previously, Alexa or the Echo needs to constantly be in communication with Amazon infrastructure, nothing is actually stored on the device itself.
Don’t fear, however, hope is not lost. If you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you might still be able to get some functionality out of it despite not having an actual WiFi connection, it’s not just an expensive hockey puck or paperweight so not to worry.
As Alexa needs constant communication to the Amazon servers, the truth is that very little of the features it offers will work. If however you have an Echo or Echo dot then you may still be able to use the speaker’s functionality. Alternatively, to make all the features work you can use a hotspot. You will also find that the Alarms function of Alexa will still work without having any WiFi connection.
We’ll dig into how to do these things in the next sections.
If you find yourself without WiFi but have a decent phone connection with some broadband you can in fact set your Alexa up to use your phones internet. It’s relatively easy to set up as well, here are the steps:
- Open the Alexa app you should have downloaded on your phone or device
- Select the option, devices
- Choose the Echo & Alexa option
- Choose your device
- Make sure you have your hotspot on and know the name of the WiFi & password
- Select change next to the WiFi network, find the name of your hotspot and connect
- Your Alexa device should be connected to WiFi via your hotspot
Concerned about how much of your data it might use to run an Alexa through your hotspot? Well, unfortunately, it’s really hard to say, because it depends on what you’re doing. Having an Alexa idle and connected to your phone uses roughly 1mpbs, it’s thought that the worst-case scenario, is using Alexa to stream music which can max out at around 100mb per hour.
Actually, surprisingly, with all the limited functions, yes, or at least kind of anyway. The Echo or Echo Dot can be used via Bluetooth as a speaker without having to connect to WiFi, but the proviso is that it needs to be set up when you’ve previously had a WiFi connection.
What I mean by that is, in the past if you have set up the Bluetooth function when you’ve had WiFi, then the speaker will still work. Here are the steps if you’re not quite sure how you can do this (again you’ll need WiFi to actually set this part up):
- On your smartphone open the Alexa app and go to your settings
- Choose the device to pair
- Select Bluetooth and then a device from the list
- “Forget” for everything other than the device you intend to use from this list
- You should now be able to use the speaker through Bluetooth
Ultimately, in conclusion, Alexa is a great AI, and when you get into the habit of using it can save you a lot of time and the Echo’s are fantastic devices, but that being said if you don’t have WiFi or feel like you might be going a considerable amount of time without it, then Amazon’s Alexa product might not be for you. If you’re intending on using it as a speaker without WiFi, there are likely better speakers on the market for the same price point, if of course that’s it’s the only purpose.