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The GoTenna Mesh Review – Is it Right for You?

(Last Updated On: May 7, 2018)

There are times when you are out of the city and cellular coverage cannot reach you. When you are in these dead spots, you cannot really use your cellular network to send messages or go online. With the GoTenna Mesh, you do not have to be forced to go off the grid when you do not want to. It creates a private network that you can use to communicate with other GoTenna users.

The GoTenna Mesh sells for $179 for a two-pack, but you can get a four-pack for only $329 and an eight-pack for $579.

There are other use cases for the GoTenna Mesh aside from giving you signal in a remote area that is a dead spot. It would come in handy if there is a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a major hurricane, and cellular service is out. Or, if you attend a sports event or a concert. You can even use it when you travel and you do not want to use roaming or buy a local SIM.

GoTenna Mesh, as the name implies, uses mesh technology. This means that your smartphone can connect to another smartphone miles away without relying on any cellular network. This means that you can communicate with another GoTenna user even without cellular coverage. The range of this device can go for four miles in wide open spaces. But if you are in an urban area with a lot of buildings, the range will drop significantly to half a mile.

You can think of it as a long-range Bluetooth connection between two smartphones. But unlike Bluetooth, the communications that you send over GoTenna Mesh are secure.

Features and capabilities of the GoTenna Mesh

1. Send text messages. Using the free mobile app, you can send text messages to another GoTenna Mesh user.

2. Send GPS location data.

3. Top-notch encryption. The top-notch encryption helps ensure that everything you send is private and secure.

4. Message retry. GoTenna Mesh will send your messages repeatedly until it is received. And when your recipient gets the message, you will get a confirmation of the receipt.

5. Relay mode. You can leave several GoTenna Mesh devices at particular locations. This will help you get a wider coverage. So for example, a national park can leave a GoTenna Mesh at every 4 miles or so, ensuring that hikers with a GoTenna Mesh would be able to communicate with park rangers and with each other even if they are far away.

6. 10 users in chats. If you are traveling with a large group, you will appreciate that you can add up to 10 people in a single group chat. This allows you to coordinate easily.

7. Offline maps. Even without a GPS satellite hovering over where you are, you can still use offline maps for all your location needs.

8. Weatherproof and light. The GoTenna Mesh is very lightweight, weighing only 48 grams. You can put it inside your backpack or in your pocket and you would not even know it is there. The GoTenna Mesh device is also weatherproof, but you cannot immerse it in water for long. This means that you can have it on a keychain or fasten it with a carabiner.

9. LED lights. The LED lights on the unit itself lets you know if the device is being used or not.

10. Silicon strap. The device comes with a silicon strap, allowing you to attach it to your bag or clothes easily. The strap, with its bright colors, also helps make the device more visible.

11. Long battery life. GoTenna Mesh runs on a rechargeable battery that only takes up to two hours to charge. A single charge can give you at least 24 hours of operation.

GoTenna Plus

GoTenna offers its Plus service, which allows you to get more detailed information about the immediate location you are in. It gives you access to topographic maps and also serves as an SMS network relay that allows you to use a cell service that is near another GoTenna user. If you have a group chat with six other people, you can get a message received confirmation for each of these users, allowing you to see who among the group was able to get the message and who have not.

GoTenna Plus also allows you to access the location tethering feature, which sends your location to a trusted source periodically in one-, five-, or ten-minute intervals. You can also get your trip statistics automatically logged.

GoTenna Plus is a subscription service that costs $29 a year, with the first month free.

IMeshYou.com

GoTenna maintains the imeshyou.com website, which lets you know if there are GoTenna users in your location. All GoTenna users are shown on the map and indicated if the device is on stationary relay mode or in mobile mode.

What you would like about GoTenna Mesh

If you think about it, GoTenna Mesh converts your smartphone into a modern walkie talkie but with a more reliable messaging system, potentially wider reach, and minus the bulk and weight.

Unlike walkie talkies, GoTenna Mesh allows you to secure and encrypt your messages, while you send maps and text messages. So let’s say you are trying to get help escaping from a masked ax murderer, you would not have given your location away to the wrong person.

Another benefit with GoTenna is that you know for sure that your message has been received, and of course, you can mesh. GoTenna also uses an automatic channel management that can do away with interference.

Furthermore, walkie talkies use batteries that last only 12 hours. GoTenna’s batteries can last twice that amount of time.

Additionally, GoTenna Mesh could potentially save your life. Hikers, even experienced ones, can still get lost. According to OutsideOnline.com, at least 1,600 people have gone missing in public lands and never returned. The people who get lost and were somehow found, or found their way back, could be a lot higher than that.

This is where the GoTenna Mesh can help. You could get maps of your location and find out just how to get back to safety. Even if you are hopelessly lost, you will be able to ask friends and other people for help. This is true even when the area you are in does not have cellular coverage.

But more than that extreme example, you can use GoTenna Mesh for a lot of other uses. With a private network, you can just send messages to friends and family without having to pay for SMS charges. It also helps you save money when you travel abroad. You can skip on spending on roaming charges or buying a local SIM card that you probably would not use for a long time.

The GoTenna Mesh works well too. It delivers on everything that it promises to do. If you need to communicate with other GoTenna users, you can do so. Even getting SMS coverage in deadspots. More than performing really well, the GoTenna Mesh is probably the only product out there that allows peer to peer communication in a very easy-to-use manner: just place it anywhere, connect it to your phone via Bluetooth, and start sending your location or messages. It is very small and lightweight, too.

What could be better

GoTenna becomes even more useful and functional when there are a lot of people also using it in your immediate area. You get a wider signal and a bigger private network. And if you have GoTenna Plus, you might even get cellular relay, allowing you to send SMS messages even when you are in a deadspot location.

And here’s the thing: GoTenna is not yet globally popular. While much of the United States and its territories, as well as the Western part of Europe, have a considerable concentration of GoTenna users, the rest of the world is still catching up. GoTenna is largely unused in Latin America, Africa, Australia, China, and the rest of Asia. So if you live abroad, you might want to check out IMeshYou.com to see if there are plenty of users in your country. But if not, GoTenna is still a good way to create a private network including only people you know.

Final say

The GoTenna Mesh has a lot of features that allow you to stay connected even without a cellular connection. But here is what it is unable to do: It does not allow you to connect to the Internet. Instead, it creates a private network with other GoTenna users and communications are largely peer to peer. Each GoTenna Mesh acts as a relay, allowing you to get more signal coverage.

The GoTenna Mesh has a very wide coverage on open spaces, but it needs more coverage when it comes to densely packed areas. Nevertheless, if you get lost in the woods, it is a good thing to have some way to communicate with others and get help.

This device is also priced reasonably. You only pay as low as $72.40 per device. For something that could save your life one day, that is a pretty cheap price to pay.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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