I’ve been a big fan of the goTenna Mesh for awhile now, first writing about it when it was announced nearly two years ago. But thanks to a new update, this off-the-grid communications device is getting even better, bringing new features to users looking to stay in touch while in the backcountry or traveling in foreign countries.
For those not familiar with goTenna, it is a device that pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth technology, allowing it to send text messages, GPS coordinates, and other information to other goTenna users in the area. The gadget creates a local peer-to-peer network that doesn’t require cell phone data or satellite connection to send messages. The second edition model added mesh networking, which greatly extended the range by allowing messages to skip off other goTenna devices until it reached the intended recipient.
According to Gear Patrol, goTenna has updates the software that runs the Mesh model, bringing a couple of nice new features to the gadget. The first of those features is the ability to send an SOS alert out to anyone else using the device in the area, letting them know that someone is in need of help. This could obviously come in very handy in the backcountry, although the goTenna has proven itself useful in urban settings too, particularly in emergency situations.
The update also brings a new beta feature that will definitely be appreciated by Mesh users. The new software upgrade the device allowing messages to “hop” six times, rather than three, effectively doubling the range that data can be sent. Previously, any text messages sent could pass through three Mesh units in search of the proper recipient. With this new feature, it will be able to go much further, at least in theory.
I’ve found the goTenna to be a great device for use not just in the backcountry, where cell networks don’t exist, but also when traveling in other parts of the world. If you don’t want to pay for a costly cellphone connection, the goTenna will allow you to stay connected with others in your group for free. This can come in very handy when looking to meet up or just making plans.
The goTenna Mesh sells for $179 and includes two units. Find out more here.
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