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FAQs

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How it works

What is goTenna Mesh?

goTenna Mesh is the first 100% off-grid, mobile, long-range consumer-ready mesh network. The device pairs with smartphones to enable communication among users without any reliance on cell towers, wifi routers, or satellites. Additionally, goTenna Mesh intelligently enables automatic and private message relay, effectively doubling or tripling any device's effective range, creating a network which actually gets stronger the more people join it.

Will goTenna Mesh work with the first-generation goTenna?

goTenna Mesh devices will not be interoperable with our first-gen goTenna devices (which are only available for sale in the U.S.) because they operate on different frequencies. We would have loved to enable interoperability but that's physically and legally impossible due to regulatory restrictions which prohibit meshing on the first-gen product's frequencies. So it really comes down to both the laws of communications regulators, and the laws of physics!

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.

Where can I use goTenna Mesh?

goTenna Mesh works absolutely anywhere on earth, provided there is at least one other goTenna Mesh device in range. Whether you are traveling overseas, spending time outdoors, at a crowded event, or preparing for an emergency, goTenna Mesh provides incredible utility in any situation where cell service or wifi is not available by empowering you to create essential connectivity during any adventure.

Who can I communicate with using goTenna Mesh?

You can chat with any other goTenna Mesh user within range. The reason you can't chat with people who don't have goTenna Mesh is due to the physics of radio waves. You need a properly designed RF receiver to interpret a goTenna Mesh signal. We would love to have our signals get to devices that aren't goTenna-enabled, but phones are designed to work with towers and wifi — exactly what we are working around — and regular radios aren't able to operate at the level of our super-smart networking protocols. We should also point out that goTenna Mesh devices will not be interoperable with regular goTenna devices because they operate on different frequencies.

With that said, the goTenna Plus app upgrade enables a network relay feature, so you can reach people beyond your off-grid network. If a goTenna Mesh user nearby has cell service, they can transmit your message via SMS to your intended recipient.

Can a goTenna Mesh act as a relay node when it is not paired with a smartphone?

The short answer is that, yes, it can!

The longer answer is that any powered-on goTenna Mesh device can receive and relay messages and location data. The information going through the relaying device can only be decrypted by the end recipient. In order to actually receive, interpret and view messages or location data, a user must have a smartphone paired with a goTenna Mesh.

This enables users to strategically place goTenna Meshes between members of their parties, which can function as stationary relay points to increase range. In other words, if two users have four goTenna Meshes, two of those devices can be used solely as relay points, effectively tripling overall range:

User A — User B
User A — Relay — Relay — User B

Because goTenna Mesh has a standard micro-USB, you could leave the device paired to a solar charger or some other power source on its own.

How does offline location sharing work?

goTenna leverages the GPS on your phone, which works all the time even if you don't have service. goTenna then contextualizes that "blue dot" on detailed offline vector maps and allows you to share it with others who have goTenna.

All our maps are free for download, and you can share your location, request others' locations, and also share points of interest. The maps are detailed enough to show specific city blocks and even some trails in certain parks.

Is goTenna Mesh approved by the FCC?

Yes. goTenna Mesh is approved under Part 95.

Is goTenna Mesh patented?

goTenna’s technology is patent pending.

Do I need to have my phone with me to use my goTenna Mesh?

You need your phone to send and see received messages, however goTenna Mesh can continue to receive messages without your phone being paired. In such a case goTenna Mesh would store your messages for upload to your phone the next time you connect.

This is also true if your phone battery dies. Your goTenna Mesh will continue to receive messages on your behalf and store them until you can recharge your phone and access the goTenna Mesh app again.

How far can my phone and goTenna Mesh be from each other?

goTenna Mesh uses Bluetooth Low-Energy to wirelessly pair to your smartphone. You'll probably want to have them within 20 ft (7 m) of each other, though you should aim to keep goTenna Mesh as close to your smartphone as possible, as Bluetooth can be unreliable at greater distances.

How many users can be in a private goTenna Mesh group conversation?

Groups can be up to 10 users, though we plan to expand the group maximum soon.

Device specs

What are goTenna Mesh’s key hardware specs?

  • 1-watt UHF radio (tunes to frequencies & power permissible in your region)
  • Flash memory good for 100's of messages
  • Rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery (24+ hour battery life on standby) 
  • Micro-USB connector 
  • Bluetooth-LE data interface (BT 4.2)
  • LED indicator light 
  • Thermoplastic elastomer attachment strap 
  • Weather-proof (fine in all kinds of rain & grime!)
  • 4.2" x .9" x 1.3" (106.5 x 18 x 33 mm)
  • Weight: 1.7 oz (48 g)

Why is goTenna Mesh better than a walkie-talkie?

goTenna Mesh enables you to intelligently relay your messages through other users to get to your recipient(s) when they are out of point-to-point range. This makes it more likely your messages will get through in difficult situations, and creates a network that gets stronger the more people join it. And not to worry: this all happens automatically and privately.

In addition, goTenna Mesh offers many features walkie-talkies cannot, including message delivery confirmation, the ability to create private groups and 1-to-1 chats, and the ability to share GPS locations on free, detailed offline maps. Plus: You never have to worry about channels or interference!

Is goTenna Mesh waterproof?

No, but it's definitely weatherproof and water-resistant. We've designed it to survive rainy excursions, and to stand a good chance of survival if briefly dropped in water, but it's definitely not designed to be submerged. Leave it with your smartphone when you go swimming!

Is goTenna Mesh dust-tight?

Yes

What kind of warranty do you provide?

goTenna comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

Privacy

What type of encryption does goTenna Mesh use?

Private 1-to-1 and group messages sent over goTenna Mesh are end-to-end encrypted with 384-bit elliptic curve public-private key ciphering. The only exceptions are messages sent using the “shout” and “emergency” features which are by definition public conversations with others within range of you.

Why do I need to verify my phone number?

You will need to verify your phone number during account setup, and you need to be connected to a cell network (not wifi) to do so. Once you enter your phone number, you will be sent a 5-digit verification code via SMS text message. You will need this code to proceed with account setup. This step will occur only when first creating your account, and is done solely to verify the identity of the user. We do this so people know if a user on goTenna is using a phone number, you can trust it’s really that person!

How secure is goTenna Mesh?

Very. Beyond the end-to-end encryption, because there is no central server there is no proverbial “back-door.”

Can other people with goTenna Mesh devices gain access to messages I send?

No, everything is encrypted and our firmware doesn’t allow downloading one goTenna account’s messages to another smartphone anyway.

What information does my goTenna Mesh store?

Just the goTenna ID you’ve set to be your contact (i.e. either your phone number or a randomized string), and any messages your phone hasn’t pulled yet. If you opt in to telemetry, we’ll gather some basic statistics to help make goTenna better like battery life, device temperature, and so forth — absolutely zero actual messages or contact list information though!

What information does my goTenna Mesh device share with goTenna, the company?

None, though you can opt-in to share completely anonymized telemetry when you have a data connection, so that we can improve our service. Again, this is limited to basic data regarding battery life, device temperature, and so forth. No messages or contact list info are included.

Why should I believe goTenna Mesh cares about my privacy?

We feel you. It’s hard to sort out who pays lip service to privacy and who really means it these days. The sad reality is both the government and tech companies have disrespected our privacy, time and time again. Well, we have this to say about goTenna: we set out to build a consumer-ready, completely decentralized, end-to-end encrypted communication technology, without a “back-door” for anyone, because it didn’t exist yet, and we thought it should. We’ll leave it at that.