When you think about it, it’s kind of weird that we refer to the most common form of internet connection as “wireless,” because, well, it’s not. Your traditional wireless router needs to be wired into your modem, which is wired into your wall, which is wired back to your ISP. There are a ton of wires involved! But the dream of a truly untethered future exists in the form of wireless mesh networks.
This technology transmits information via a group of devices, or “nodes,” that relay a signal from one, to the other, to the other, following the most efficient route available until, finally, it reaches your phone or laptop (all of which happens in milliseconds). In most cases, only one single node needs to be wired into the internet to get the whole network online — and a network can cover an entire city if enough nodes are used.
Mesh networks have existed in one form or another since the 1980s, and they’ve been popping up in cities like New York, Portland, and Detroit since the early aughts, but only recently has the tech become widely available to consumers. While much of today’s mesh gear only appeals to a niche market of networking nerds, a Brooklyn-based startup called goTenna is trying to change that. Their goTenna Mesh device has the simplicity, user-friendly features, and elegant design that could very well bring mesh to the masses. (We previously covered the launch here.)
Check out the video below:
While municipal mesh networks provide entire neighborhoods with high-speed internet, the goTenna Mesh has a humbler purpose — to connect you and your friends while you’re out and about.
Picture this: You and the crew are hitting a fancy resort south of the border. You’re all spread out across different rooms, but you want to stay in contact. Unfortunately, you don’t have cell service, and Wi-Fi is too spotty to be useful. You turn on your goTenna Mesh and fire up the accompanying app, and all of a sudden you can see your device’s twin (yeah, they come in two-packs, like a walkie-talkie) on a highly detailed map of the area. You can also see every other goTenna that happens to be in the area. Then, without turning off Airplane Mode, like Neo stopping bullets in the Matrix, you defy all the laws of space and time by sending a text to your bud with the other goTenna. And they write back. And there is much rejoicing.
By producing a short-range radio signal, goTenna Mesh creates an off-the-grid wireless network that you can use to communicate with other goTenna users. Plus, additional nearby devices act as nodes, boosting your range so you can communicate with friends from further away. As more people get hip to goTenna, its capabilities expand. It can help developing communities that aren’t internet connected or provide a means of life-saving communication for people in war-torn cities. But it also works great for simply chatting with friends during trips, hikes, and events.
Start building your network today by grabbing your pair of goTenna Mesh Secure Portable Networks for just $155. That’s 13% off the regular $179 price point.