goTenna Mesh: Smart long-distance communication tool
Have you ever thought about the idea of interference-free, long-distance communication, just with your Smartphone? This tech has been in use in radio-based “walkie-talkies” for decades, and it has yet to come in mainstream consumer electronics. With the connected things we have right now, the only chance the walkie-talkie gets an upgrade is by integrating its radio tech into our connected world. And with our Smartphones today, it’s possible. goTenna Mesh is a tiny device that enables your Smartphone to wirelessly connect and communicate with others across a relatively long distance – a couple of miles apart, even without cellular signals or Internet connectivity.
Starting with the technology built into it, goTenna Mesh uses what is called “off-grid mesh networking”. It’s a fancy term used to describe a communication system that does not make use of existing infrastructure like cell signals, satellites, or even wireless Internet. What it does is that it connects in a peer-to-peer way among devices in a certain cluster that can be several miles apart. It’s based off the so-called Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band spectrum, where it uses very high frequency radio waves to transmit messages. What goTenna Mesh does is that it wraps up the technology in a tiny form, encodes and decodes the messages, and brings it to your Smartphone so you can easily chat using your phone with your peers across distances – without the inconvenience of patchy cell signals or Internet availability in remote areas.
Similar to a walkie-talkie, your smartphone can be used to send and receive private, fully encrypted messages with other people such as your friends or family that uses goTenna Mesh. You simply pair the device with your phone via Bluetooth, and by installing the goTenna Mesh app on your phone, you can already start chatting across a distance of up to 3 miles. What’s interesting about this is that the range can be extended further with more people in your cluster using the same device. The mobile “ad hoc” protocol built into the goTenna Mesh makes it possible for you to send your message across longer distances, provided that someone who also uses it is within your range. Your message will then be encrypted and be transmitted using another device near you, without being read by the unintended person. Basically, it uses an instant point-to-point network to get your messages through.
This off-grid communication system is useful for outdoor trips, such as hiking and cycling trips, where you and your friends and family might get a couple of miles away from one another and that keeping in touch might only be possible with a mesh network. goTenna Mesh also comes useful in emergency situations such as natural calamities, where cellular signals may get temporarily cut off – the only way you can communicate by then is with radio.
goTenna Mesh uses a single UHF radio transmitter, sipping only 1 watt of power during use. The transmitter automatically adjusts its frequency to acceptable bands within your area or country, so you can ensure that you use it legally every single time. It pairs with your iOS or Android smartphone via Bluetooth 4.2, and it lasts up to a full day (24 hours) of standby time on a single charge.
In times when you need to have a secure way to communicate across a certain distance, radio technology may be the only viable solution. goTenna Mesh is a smart device that brings the walkie-talkie to your smartphone, but without the complexity. It makes communicating among your peers easier when you go off the grid.
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