goTenna Mesh: set up your own cellular network with friends

gotenna mesh data sheet comparison models new 2016 kickstarter news without network wifi mobile radio own cell phone network

The goTenna Mesh is the newest model from the US-based company goTenna. The boys and girls there have set themselves the goal of creating their own mobile networks for end users. Like you with the products from goTenna, for example with the new one goTenna Mesh, can be reached by mobile phone even without a “network”, that's what I would like to show you in this article. You will also get links to the manufacturer and informative videos.

gotenna mesh kickstarter perks new gotenna functionality details application video model image use test
GoTenna Mesh is still being advertised on kickstarter, but the financing target has already been achieved. Details in this article. Image: Kickstarter

goTenna Mesh: with Kickstarter through the ceiling

"No more network problems: Providers must tremble before this idea", Has CHIP titled and thus a bit exaggerated in my opinion. True, the idea is not bad and has on Kickstarter can collect several times the required sum earlier than three weeks before the end of the campaign, but I don't see any real competition for mobile network operators here. The "Cell phone network out of your pocket“Only works with severe restrictions and only if all chat participants use the mobile antenna and have connected it to their smartphone via Bluetooth.

Slimmed down “mobile phone network” for short messages

In practice, the smartphones then connect via Bluetooth to the gotenna antenna that the respective user has with them. The antenna itself then connects to other gotenna antennas that it “sees” in the area and a group network is set up with which you can also exchange short messages and GPS data if you don’t have a cell phone network. Telephone calls are significantly more data-intensive and are not yet supported by gotenna. Likewise, you will have to refrain from using all services that require a connection to the “real” Internet: WhatsApp, Skype and Apple's messages App are managed centrally and must therefore establish an Internet connection to the servers of the respective company. Of course, gotenna cannot offer that.

Share internet access with gotenna?

An exciting question for me would be: could it be enough if a user in the local gotenna network has access to the Internet? Would it be possible to share it for all other users? I couldn't get this out of the gotenna website, but I don't think this will work yet as the amount of data that can be sent through the network is still very small. But it would definitely be a practical application!

gotenna mesh gotenna how it works details application video model picture use test
How the goTenna Mesh works: data is sent from device to device - selected recipients can then view them. This is how an autonomous cellular network can be created. Image: Kickstarter

Comparison of goTenna and goTenna Mesh

The goTenna Mesh already has a previous model. This can be connected to the smartphone via Bluetooth and, in combination with the goTenna app for the exchange of messages without cellular network and WLAN. The same application principle also applies to the new model. Both can also transmit GPS data and either select individual users, operate group chats or write to all available goTenna users - for example in the case of an emergency call.

gotenna mesh data sheet comparison models new 2016 kickstarter news without network wlan cellphone own cellphone network
The comparison between goTenna and goTenna Mesh. The new technology of the second generation is not that far-reaching, but it should be able to create entire networks. Screenshot from (Click to enlarge)

In an open field with few disruptive factors and obstacles, the range of the goTenna antennas should be around 4 miles, i.e. around 6,44 kilometers. In cities you should be able to expect 0,5 miles, i.e. around 805 meters. According to the Manufacturer site the maximum distance that news has already covered thanks to the goTenna has been determined to be 27 miles - that's 43,45 kilometers! The goTenna Mesh could even top this, as it can create entire wireless networks with its new technology.

The new goTenna Mesh in picture and sound

The Product page of the new antenna goTenna already has data from field tests. The maximum distance that messages have traveled with the Mesh is currently 10 miles, i.e. 16,09 kilometers. In cities, however, the device should be able to transmit up to a mile - around 1,61 kilometers. In addition to 1-to-1 and group use, the manufacturers hope to build entire networks. This is also reflected in the videos for the product:


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6 Responses to “goTenna Mesh: build your own mobile network with friends”

    1. They write about the battery life in the FAQ: “Rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery (24+ hour battery life on standby)”. And regarding the number of participants: “Groups can be up to 10 users, although we plan to expand the group maximum soon.”

  1. It should be pointed out that the goTenna works in the range of 150MHz and that in Germany / Austria / Switzerland this is the radio range for professional radio applications / marine radio / inland shipping and military applications. The use of the device is prohibited without frequency allocation! Penalties for transmitting without frequency allocation can result in severe penalties. Before such a device should be put into operation, it would be advisable to obtain information from the Federal Network Agency.

    1. Hi Michael! Thank you for your hint. I would have thought that such things should not be allowed to come onto the market in DE if they have not been approved for the frequencies. But you can never be sure. I am currently running the Google Wifi Mesh, but I think that the frequency is correct ... I hope. :)

    2. From the current FAQs for goTenna Mesh:

      On which frequencies does goTenna Mesh operate?

      “The first-gen goTenna works on the 151-154MHz band (MURS), whereas goTenna Mesh will transmit at 1 W on 902-928 MHz in the United States, and will vary throughout other countries. For example: goTenna Mesh will transmit at 0.5 W on 869.4-869.65 MHz in Europe and other CE countries, and the device will auto-tune itself to the appropriate frequency band and power output based on the location where it's being used.”

      Which countries are supported?

      “goTenna Mesh will auto-tune to RF frequencies that are legal for use in the following countries:

      United States, Canada, Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom.”

      1. Hi Peter! Thanks for the interjection. It would then be legal to use in Germany in any case. I would have been surprised if they had left the market outside. : D

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