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GoTenna Links Phones When Network Disappears

Article Comments  12  

Jul 18, 2014, 9:40 AM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

A new phone accessory allows users to create their own long-range wireless network between two or more phones. The goTenna is a six-inch wand that pairs with a phone via Bluetooth LE. goTennas connect to each other at 151-154 MHz, a frequency low enough to reach up to 50 miles with the 2-watt radio in the goTenna (but more typically, 3-10 miles.) Communication is limited to text messaging and location sharing, via the included app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Messages can be sent an individual, a group, or broadcast to all goTenna users in range. All messages are encrypted. The device is intended for people traveling in remote areas where mobile networks may be unavailable, such as hikers or camping families. The device is dust-tight, water-resistant, and has an integrated nylon strap. It is also useful for large events where the mobile network may become overloaded, such as concerts, festivals, and sports matches. The devices will retail for $300/pair in the fall, but can currently be pre-ordered for half-off, or $150/pair.

more info at GigaOm »
more info at goTenna »


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Jul 18, 2014, 1:30 PM

walkie talkie

So, it basically makes your phone into a walkie talkie. Except, at the $150 price point you can find really nice walkie talkies with a 50 mile range, that are ruggedized, submersible, and all around more useful for their stated target market - campers and hikers.

If this was $30 I could see the practicality of it. But at $150 (discount price), or even worse $300 (full price) I don't see this being successful with anyone outside of your clueless iPhone user.
Yes and no.

For a lot of scenarios, this might be better.

It might be difficult to hear a walkie-talkie at a concert or certain festivals. Or out in a park, you might prefer not to disturb the peace and quiet of nature. If I were visiting a maj...
I completely agree 100%, however a walkie talkie can't send text messages. I realize that you can easily press a button and speak your message into it, but people are obsessed with their phones these days. I love walkie talkies, a family member of min...
The "50 mile range" is pure BS. Look at the tool that they provide. The quoted 50 mile range is only if you have the device 500 feet in the air. If you move the slider to where you'd realistically use the device (4-5 feet off of the ground) the range ...

Jul 19, 2014, 7:35 AM


...had this built into its later handsets. It was called Direct Talk.

No need to carry around seperate two way radios. While range was certainly limited to 2 miles respectively, it was great for when no coverage was available in the mountains. And depending how many of our family members had these nextel phones, more than two family members could keep in communication without interference from other existing channels that two way radios operate on..

I like the GoTenna idea but find it limited and rather pricy at even 150 dollars.

John B.
Also Direct Talk still works unlike the nextel network.

Jul 20, 2014, 11:03 PM


Even if this antenna could deliver the range it promises, you still must connect to it via Bluetooth, which typically has a shorter distance than a cordless phone.

Get a good set of walkie-talkies for 1/2 the price.
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