goTenna Mesh community

Is Gotenna company / mesh project dead?

This forums is almost dead, There’s been no new product, no new firmware, no update to the app in the last two years.

There’s something like 5 new posts in the last 30 days on the forum.

Network effect to building permanent mesh in city looks completely dead.

Am I missing something? Has everyone moved to better more open hardware?

I’ve been having my stationary node on a balcony on a high rise in Montreal downtown for the last 3 years, Without monitoring I’ve no idea if that node has ever been used once to relay anything.

Has Gotenna become a military contractor? The little energy they have seems to be put into the much more expensive gotenna pro.

3 Likes

No users here as well. Western side of Romania.

I was wondering the same thing here in Maryland, USA. No firmware/App updates in forever. What kind of message does that send to folks who want to use this technology? I have 4 mesh devices and thinking of selling them for some Beartooth ones. https://beartooth.com/

Pretty bummed with Gotenna.

2 Likes

I suspect so. Mesh just keeps working, so is often unremarkable. Not sure what need has been left unaddressed in terms of firmware.

Well, it would help if the software allowed you to see at least some basic stats on your relay usage. Are people using it at all? Or is it just sitting there using electricity for nothing?

Also the mobile app doesn’t show you other nodes. How is that helpful in an emergency?

4 Likes

How many gtm devices were sold and how many of them are in use? Does anybody have this info?

Stationary nodes are a PITA to setup, one of the biggest problem is that if power gets cut off and power is being restored it doesn’t start back.

You can’t use it on top of a roof top with a solar panel, you need to have permanent power.
All of those battery packs that charges while they discharge have a small interruption time in-between mode switch that disable the gotenna.

Also the mesh should have some health check functions.

Monitoring the amount of relayed packet the node has done would be a motivating factor for stationary nodes.

Something like Global PING that get responded back without having someone at the other end manually responding.

1 Like

Sounds like you have little experience with this. Yes, they do need tending, mainly because it’s hard to get a reliable consumer grade charger pack. However, this is NOT a firmware issue, it will require a new power switch to solve it.

Solar power is permanent power and seems to work well when it’s working, much like the power grid. Nothing is perfect when it comes to power.

Nope, not all of them. You do have to look to get good always-on charger battery packs, but they’re out there.

Yes, there is some basic info that is supposed to be included in the next firmware update in some form or fashion. It tends to be limited by privacy concerns and bandwidth limitations.

and

Possibly incentivization of relaying could be useful, which is why the TxTenna project exists. It’s likely to be incorporated in some form in a future update, but this is pretty experimental stuff, despite the meme that everything is going blockchain. The TxTenna idea is the first one of the bitcoin ideas that actually seems to make practical sense.

But I always wonder about the idea that somehow not knowing exact numbers discourages building relays. Instead, based on my own experience and what I read about what people do elsewhere with mesh is that people build it for their own reasons/needs. It is convenient that the mesh is additive, so that setting it up to your benefit automatically benefits others. I’d say be a little usefully selfish and establish your own use case and there’ll be little need to worry about bean-counting what it does for others coincidentally.

Set up a test mule if you need this. I use one frequently, pinging and messaging it to help analyze network performance. This is human-scale activity, don;t need an algorithm for it, but you do need some practice and each system is different in how it performs and presents for analysis.

The amount of bandwidth needed to do that would far exceed that available on the mesh. If you need to look at the node/relay map, the smartphone that has the GTM app on it is the most efficient way of accessing that. And yes, in a crisis, the cell network may not be available. Like a lot of emergency preparedness, make those contacts before you need them, rather than expecting a device to magically make up for your lack of preparation. Optimally, you want to build mesh before it’s needed, instead of trying to piece it together when everything else is falling apart.

Bunches, but what counts for your needs are those you’ve placed thoughtfully to serve your needs and those you may network with when you do so.

I know the company’s up and running. They just replaced my dead mesh unit last month.

1 Like

I think it was a rhetorical question. Either that or they just were passing throigh and not paying attention.

Other signs of ongoing work can be found in the magazine, In the Mesh, found here: https://www.inthemesh.com/

Lots of interesting stuff there. Some is pretty theoretical, but poised to help developers. In general, lots of mesh stuff is in the development stage right now. I am not a developer and it can be frustrating to read a great idea and think, “Wow, wish someone would make that happen!” My next thought is, instead of blaming someone for that not happening yet to put it in the hands of consumers, that it’s one of many problems that need solutions. If I was a developer, I could make that happen, but I accept my limitations. Good ideas rise to the top, patience is called for unless you’re in position to directly help.

But regardless of all that, mesh via goTenna is very much alive and well, even more so when you take a few easy steps to make it happen.

2 Likes

@MikeL

Incentivization at this stage is doesn’t make much sense, I already spent about 1300$ buying gotennas and everyone I gave one to has it somewhere in a dusty drawer.
Bitcoin Lightning network isn’t going to be ready or mainstream anytime soon. Nobody’s gonna run a stationary node just to make money from people broadcasting transactions when shit hit the fan. Just send your transaction over Tor if you want to increase anonymity.

It should be easy to display if my shouts were relayed at least once. The gotenna ignore the bounce backs but if it receives one it could say so.

The app still showcase Relay mode as NEW FEATURE. stuck in the past.

There’s no practical desktop application using neither Bluetooth or USB.

GoTenna is best known for its outdoors-oriented consumer products that let you text and share locations between smartphones off the grid. But the company has found that government work — military, fire, rescue — is the real market
https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/18/gotenna-is-ramping-up-public-sector-mesh-networking-with-a-24m-c-round/

The people aren’t part of the market, Time to move on.

1 Like

Next time the GTMs get built, I’m sure they’ll have it. I don’t think there’;s been a need for new production yet, at least as dictated by inventory levels. Eventually, it will be time to move on and build an updated model in terms of hardware. I’m not sure the cost effectiveness of the power switch alone makes economic sense yet.

These two are what I use.
8000mAh Ultrathin Solar Battery Charger Power Bank

8000mah Solar Chargers Solar Power Bank

They have generally been reliable, although winter time gloom is their downfall. In Quebec, the hours of winter light are obviously even less. The only solution is a bigger solar panel, but snow can be the downfall of that even, depending on a lot of factors. The sun does come out every day, clouds or not, and there’s never a bill after the initial investment, ideally. Life is never ideal, no matter what you choose.

If I had excess assets, gold makes more sense to me, although a bit heavy to transmit via electrons. No matter, unless I win the Lotto. :sunglasses:

Shouts don’t relay, so would be hard to display that. Are you asking about relaying Shouts? A different issue. There’s technical reasons not to.

Well, it is new compared to the original MURS-based goTenna. That’s what is being referred to anyway.

Does there need to be? And then if there was there’s the unfortunate possibilities that might be hacked together that would tend to endanger the mesh commons. Solve that and such applications would become practical. I do know that when such discussions have happened in the past, the goals that many seem to articulate have seemed to go right there, so it’s an issue of concern for those of us who use the mesh for actual communication.

goTenna has several good products. The GT Pro line isn’t restricted to the government, but according to the FCC license required to operate it. Jump through the hoops and you can go there, too. The GT Mesh gives everyone license-free access to pretty much the same basic technology. But it’s like the difference between things like pens, say like the difference between those old astronaut pens and your standard Bic. Few people really need an astronaut pen, but the government kept the supplier in business because they went to space. The rest of us don’t, but we’d still like to have a standard ol’ pen, thus I rather appreciate the fact that those are still available. Both pens should be made, Why begrudge that? I just don’t think this is the zero-sum game you seem to think it is.

Maybe it’s buying a new phone every couple of years that has you thinking the GTM should be worked over the same way? This is something different, with different expectations. Lots of new whizbang every year isn’t really necessary, although it will be nice when things do get refreshed. I think that’s about due, but that’s very different than being “dead.”

@MikeL

It’s simple to me, If takes as much time and resource hacking around a crippled gotenna to turn it into an useful stationary node than building one from cheaper, open hardware and open protocol I don’t understand why anyone would waste it’s time here if they’re thinking long term.

BTW I knew I was buying into a closed system and I just wanted something that would work ASAP, I’m not sure anymore how realistic it is now given how progress has stopped to focus on getting government money.

If you’re comfortable with hacking something together, more power to you. The “anyone” you speak of is far more numerous than you seem to understand. Maybe 1 in 100 consumers feel comfortable picking up a soldering iron, let alone programming their own mesh.

Then there is the fact that there’s a bunch of competing projects out there if you want to go the DIY route. The one you picked may be making progress, but I have a colleague who was rather dissatisfied with the progress of the one he was involved in, so he got into goTenna Mesh as a way to have a functional and widely useful device now, rather than wait on various issues to sort themselves out. Go figure. I suspect it works this way nearly as often as the way you see things.

Please don’t take this as a diss on open source projects. They’re a good thing, just not an automatically superior thing. And there are useful, hackable paths in goTenna Mesh. I think the grumbling lies over the restrictions that have been placed so as to preserve the usefulness of the mesh as a communications device. That’s reasonable, when there’s plenty of other places, as you note, if you just want to hack away.

And the GTM does indeed work. Beats vaporware everyday of the week, whatever deficiencies you may see.

As for “progress” stopping, your case is pretty thin. The same basic technology underlies both GTM and Pro versions. Developments in one bleed over into the other, so I guess I see this glass as half full - at least - when you gloomily see it as half empty.

Same thought here. No updates, the app in clunky and they don’t even tweet other than for goTenna Pro.

It feels as if they found something that works and they left it that way. No improvements, same “new feature!” tag on the relay forever, rectangular non aesthetic boxes and meesages, no press and talk option that beartooth has, no count on relayed messages… I agree, it feels like they shifted their resources to stop developing mesh and only work on Pro.

Can you give me a couple of examples on how a closed source is better than an open source one?

I know it’s hard to imagine in a world dominated by news fed to us instantaneously that “something that works” need not be a source of anxiety. Life can actually be like that, though, and be good. Many are too young to remember the original VW Beetle, but that same car, more or less, served consumers well from the late 40s to the mid 70s - even longer in Mexico where production continued long after it stopped elsewhere in the world. By that example, you’re a few decades early to be worrying over a seeming lack of fresh PR.

Wow, now goTenna must invent a non-rectangular package? Somehow, I don’t see the need…

Hmmm, my GTM has always shown how many nodes were required to both send or receive a message. Maybe you’ve never actually experienced a relay? Because the count is always there.

One is availability of the device as a consumer product. It’s turn-key when you download the app and take the GTM out of the (boring ol’ rectangular) box.

Two is reproduction of results/meets expectations. If I take my GTM to San Diego or Berlin, it works just the same there (well, in the EU it does default to a lower power rating to meet EU regs…)

Three is that no technical knowledge is required to make One and Two happen.

Open source is an idea that resonates with those who have and enjoy applying computer skills. It tends to baffle the general public, which is the market for the GTM.

Geeez that answer was defensive, I was just agreeing with OP in that my experience as a user has been suboptimal. Answering to your comment:

No doubt, society could use a break form flashes and news and moving fast, I 100% agree with you on that. But when you are developing software, good is no longer enough, there’s always bugs and improvements to do, functionalities to add to catch up with the competition, work on proposals made by the community (us!)… Not receiving updates from a software for over a year means that either the developers think their code is perfect -dangerous and naïve- or that they stopped working on it. When it comes to software the latter has a high potential to get obsolete real quick, and if we raise the voice is because we are concerned and don’t want to see this happen.

Hahahah no, sorry, this was my bad I didn’t make it clear, though your irony prevented you from understanding anything other than what you wanted to understand. I didn’t mean box as in package, I meant the message boxes when you write someone, and the app overall. The frontend of the app could use a full revamp, it feels like Windows 95, everything are sharp corners and rectangular message boxes. This is obviously not a major issue, but a great and comfortable user interface makes a better user experience, especially for the general public that want s a nice looking app rather than a functional one. That’s what I was trying to say.

Honestly maybe that’s it, I’ve never seen anywhere whether my message has been relayed or got there directly, or how many times each message hopped before arriving, I only see whether it arrived or not. But what I meant was what OP says, I have had a node in my balcony relaying messages, or maybe not, I don’t know and I can’t know. People that install relaying nodes like us are geeks that are willing to give back to the community and sacrifice time and money to provide a service for free, but it’d be so much better if I could see whether I am helping or not. I sometimes feel like an idiot having a thing plugged to the wall without knowing if it’s even working. A health check option in the app for example to see if it’s even working or my plug died, or a “relay node” mode in the app where you could connect to the relay node and see the stats like uptime, relayed messages, energy consumption, maybe a nice chart of data vs time… that would make a world of a difference for someone that wants to help and doesn’t know if it’s really helping or not. I would also help build a more effective network if relayers could see how many nodes they can reach from each spot, try a couple of them and decide which one is the best.

Hahahah ok this tells me you really don’t know what “open source” means, but you think you do. None of your examples are valid, I’ll try to explain why. Open sourcing a project is only about publishing the code and making it available for anyone to see, so anyone can help, find bugs, propose code. The company would still make money selling these devices, they would be as user friendly and the average Joe would have the same experience.

If I hand you an Android phone you know how to use it without knowing how to program anything. Well guess what, Android is open sourced. Same goes for Firefox for example, just a browser that anyone without any technical knowledge could use, it is open sourced as well. You also know how to use Wikipedia, and it is another open source project. The point is, open sourcing a project does not mean you can only use it if you are a programmer. It means the code is safer (more eyes to review), the project is alive (community sustains it), and anyone can propose improvements, even if you are not a programmer or don’t work for goTenna!

About the the machines working in Europe, the US, Canada, Africa or Australia, nothing would change with an open source code. You have to think that they already work in those countries, and GoTenna used a programming language to create them - meaning Python, C#, C++, Go… not English, Russian, Spanish or French (not trying to sound condescending, but your statement about the countries makes no sense so I’m trying to rule out the option that you thought different countries program in different actual languages). The programming language would still be the same, so whatever they use right now to run the GTM could be used and improved using the same language and it would still work the same way in those countries you mentioned.

Now, if you know how to program and you feel like helping, you could review the code and look for bugs. Instead of having only the GoTenna programmers look at it, you could have another ten or fifteen people review the code and make sure there’s no vulnerabilities. Or maybe the GoTenna team wants to focus in the military crap and don’t want to assign any resources to working on Mesh, but someone in the community wants to do so - then whoever wants to help proposes code that is voted for in the community. The average user would just receive an update for the app on their phone, like for any other app they already have, and the app would now have new functionalities or it would be safer or prettier.

The overall idea was to respectfully say that there are a lot of things that could be improved with GTM that we as users would like to see improved, and show our concern because it doesn’t feel like the company is on the same page.

Edit: PS - I wouldn’t mind paying for the premium features if I thought the app was alive, but at this point I just feel like I’d be throwing money down the toilet

Quite aware of how open source projects function. I’m not sure there’s much to discuss here about beating that dead horse over and over. I was discussing the results of efforts to provide actual working mesh. So far, goTenne Mesh has been delivering for several years now, apparently now a source of irritation for those who keep prophesying an open source revolution in mesh.

There are ways that open source development can interface with the GTM. And they’ve been used, with much more room for development still. But the ship for why this isn’t an open source project sailed a long time ago. Reprising that same complaint is easier, but of course rather less effective than going out and doing an open source project that might compete among consumers, rather than, say only hackers. So far, there’s just whispers about this.

And goTenna keeps selling more GTMs. And selling more Pros, too. Obviously lots of people see value in both. Then there’s the speculation from a few about how much better things would be if this were done differently. Unless you’re Elon Musk, well you’re just playing games here.

It’s not like goTenna has a monopoly on the mesh. So you’re certainly free to develop an open source mesh project at any time, no one is holding you back. See ya, because I’m sure you’re going right to work on this considering you hold it to be such a priority…

Alon from CS, here to remind everyone our Mesh project is far from dead! While the app has not seen much change in the past 6 months, our firmware has been updating in the background. Our proprietary mesh networking protocol, Aspen Grove, has vastly improved in the last few iterations.

We have also been putting tremendous efforts into projects like our Low Bandwidth Lightning Network.

A Mesh App update is indeed on our roadmap. Some of the app improvements suggested on here are great. I plan on creating a new thread to discuss these.

2 Likes