Mesh 5.0 is here!


MikeL, thank you for your input. You seem very knowledgeable and eager to help others with this device! I have two quick questions I hope you or Virginia or another knowledgeable person might kindly answer - or share your thoughts on with regards to GT 5.x.x

Regarding the serving the common good and depending upon the viability of the common, being good stewards of the limited public ISM airwaves, the 6 hop relay function of 5.x, the emergency SOS beacon of 5.x.x, and the $29 discounted ($9) Gotenna Plus + SMS (simple message service) relay.

Please forgive me if I am ignorant or incorrect here… my understanding is limited, but if one were in an actual emergency and they triggered the SOS Beacon feature of 5.x.x, would it be accurate to say that the pre-programmed emergency message and gps location would be flooded out promiscuously to every node within 6 hops from the emergency origin?

Statistically speaking, if there is an emergency, such as a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, earthquake, wildfire… wouldn’t the likelihood of others in the vicinity having an emergency go up? Couldn’t this create a network storm effectively jamming the commons if a plurality of devices are each promiscuously flooding up to 6 nodes out?

Lastly, assuming the person with the emergency has gotten the discounted Gotenna Plus account at $9, if any of the devices receiving their SOS beacon still have wifi or cellular data, could they then relay e.g. by sms to 911 or emergency services? Or will the emergency message be constrained to the gotenna network only - and require the hospital /sheriff to have a gotenna mesh device? Or depend upon the goodwill of a recipient to initiate a direct call to 911 to manually relay the details? This option reminds me of the woman getting murdered in NYC and everyone sees and hears but assumes someone else will call the police or intercede…

Do you happen to have any input on this? Thank you, in advance, for your kindness.


I believe MrTSolar is correct, but Virginia will be able to confirm. For emergencies, the Emergency Shout and the SOS Beacon features broadcast up to six hops. My understanding is that they are available with or without GT Plus on the device.

As for this “jamming the commons” - I suspect not. There is a limit of 6 messages/minute that any goTenna Mesh will generate. Depending on how many other mesh or relay units are in reach, it might possibly cause a brief overload in a specific area of the mesh, but even then a lot of folks would need to choose the same moment to send. Mesh is inherently resistant to disruption if designed to take such possibilities into consideration as goTenna has done.

With the goTenna Plus features is included one that permits relay of SMS text OUT of the mesh and onto the cell network IF one of the users does have cell service. It’s one I haven’t tried myself yet, but plan to soon. But remember that in an emergency, cell service could very well be down and the mesh network up (our is solar powered), so I wouldn’t want to count on cell service under the circumstance you describe.

One effort I plan to make with our local mesh is to educate the city about the potential for emergency use and since both hospitals in the community are located in our town, it would make sense for them to have goTenna available. That could also serve visitors to the facility even when there is no emergency underway. Combine that with the fact that hospitals are often multistory and therefore good locations for being stationary relays and that’s a good reason to pursue this sort of siting for relays to strengthen the emergency potential of mesh networking.


Hi Mike,
Thank you for the quick and knowledgeable response. It is greatly appreciated. That 5 Tx per minute hard-limit is a very nice feature to maintain the viability of the commons.

Humbly, my thought is that while there may be localized cell outage on one or more providers (e.g. Verizon, Att…), there’s a pretty decent probability that at least one of the nodes within the 6 hops (MIN: .6 miles * 6 hops = 3.6 miles) to (MAX: 62 miles * 6 hops = 372 miles) at least one of those nodes may have a different cell-tower provider (GSM att/tmobile v CDMA Verizon/sprint) or some form of Wifi or Satellite internet? All it takes is any one of those hops having internet or cell and the SOS beacon could relay to 911. Most disaster scenarios will not feature a complete breakdown of every single tower and internet (at least not for 72 hours or so after the event until tower backup batteries die).

I like your idea of donating Gotenna mesh to the hospitals and local sheriffs, training them, leveraging their infrastructure and height - having someone on staff monitor the gotenna - provided there’s no legal liability issues. However, I respectfully submit that we should at least attempt to maximize our path diversity and leverage existing comms (if they are available at any of those 6 hops to help get the SOS beacon to first responders). I believe the SMS relay function will use whatever connection it has available (sms OR wifi data). If we are paying for the sms relay, why not at least use it if it’s available in addition to the 6 hop relay?


I suspect your estimate of Max reach of the mesh is a little on the high side - at least under the current limitations. Yes, there are some interesting max length hops recorded here, but to assume that there could be six of those record setters in a row to come up with 372 miles…maybe someday. Also, no wifi from the GTM itself as it isn’t capable of that currently.

As for services staying up somewhat haphazardly in an emergency, certainly. Depends a lot on the shape of the emergency. A big factor in taking cell service down is power availability. Many cell sites do have backup power, but if power is out for a week? And power loss tends to be indiscriminate, taking away power from all providers in an affected area.

But the biggest problem that makes cell sites unreliable in emergencies is that they get flooded with calls far past their capacity to handle. My wiffe’s father had just retired from the Pentagon before 9/11, but went in a lot still to help wrap up loose ends. The entire office was wiped out that day when the airliner hit. It was several days before the phones were really usable again going into the DC area and IIRC it was about 48 hours before we were able to confirm he was OK - and that was on a landline. I could also tell you a tale of the FEMA director trying to reach his office over a shortwave phone patch as the Air Force tried to get him him back to DC without getting shot down - goTennas would have been helpful that day if they weren’t still off in the future – but we’re starting to veer off the thread topic here of the new 5.0 so if we want to pursue the emergency uses discussion maybe start a thread where we can explore that at length?


haha, I agree my friend. It was a theoretical max. :slight_smile:
at 2 miles per hop though * 6 = 12 miles …

I agree, but the beauty of Gotenna Emergency SOS beacon on the new version 5.0 is that it is REALLY LOW bandwidth, no ordering or delivery constraints, relative to a phone call. All we are talking about is 160 ish ansi characters and a gps location? If any one of the 6 hops has enough cell service to get a text out or wifi or cell data -> problem solved. Lots of people have generators. Every FIOS customer has a backup battery on their router. Every tower after 9/11 has at least 72 hours backup battery. My concern is getting the message out - while we still can before everything goes dark.
My question is directly relevant to new Mesh 5.0 5.x.x features. If we pay the $9 subscripition, can we leverage the sms relay on the SOS beacon feature?


I suspect in an emergency, the goTenna Plus SMS relay could likely find a cell phone if this was something already enabled. But getting to that gateway may not do you much good. Yes, parts of cell service will still be “operable” but the fact that they’re survivors only sets them up for more overload. And even if you get through, the calls that do will overwhelm available resources. Calling 911 during such an emergency would be a desperate last ditch move.

I think, but needs staff confirmation, that the SMS relay feature in Plus depends on being in Direct reach of the goTenne user whose cell it will use as a lily pad to move outside the mesh. The references to SMS Relay state it can be used through a “nearby” goTenna user with cell service, so I tend think that assumes one that is close enough that a Direct link would work.

I can see I need to play some with the SMS Relay feature in the future to learn more about this.

Yes, a well-stocked go bag would include at least a pair of goTenna Meshes, plus a while lot of other gear appropriate to the emergency situation you might anticipate.

Sometimes it seems like that these questions are posed from the point of view that somehow you should ONLY need a goTenna in that bag – and if that somehow doesn’t ensure survival, it’s a deficiency in the goTenna. In a case like that, I suspect the person really needs to make a more realistic inventory of their potential emergency needs, skill set, and training. Learning how to use that goTenna Mesh is just a small, if vital start at being prepared.

BTW, if you do need an alternative to the GT Plus SMS relay, check out the Mesh Developers Toolkit thread, as it also includes a variant on this. One of the things that I appreciate about the way goTenna approaches these issues is to encourage alternatives so that several options are availabe so that people can decide what works best for them.


just bought my gotenna on amazon and everything runs smoot on first update and pair. then i turn off and then unpair and turn on the second one and do the same to update …but dont know why something went wrong now if i turn off and on cant pair anymore. req advice. sorry for the english.
just update gotenna connect to a normal pc to power up them. i use a iphone 8 with ios12 beta4 and a iphone 6 on the same version. just try again on iphone 6 and second gotenna led blinks like to pair and on iphone get the message final touches on firmware


get stuck on one can u help


With Mesh Version 5.0.1 and 5.0.2 is GoTenna Plus SMS relay enabled for such a desperate last ditch move - like when triggering SOS Emergency Beacon mode?

With six hops (say e.g. 10-20mile range) in the event of, e.g., a tornado strike, someone 10 miles away may well have cell service. To have survivors at the tornado site able to relay 911 messages via gotenna (while their cell coverage is out) is huge.


There are a few quirks between the iP 6 and iP8. If you’ve had success updating the firmware on the 8, then try to do the other one on it, too, by unpairing it and trying to repair it temporarily pairing it to do so. @VirginiagoTenna had a fairly comprehensive post a couple of days ago in this thread, so review and try her suggestions if you skimmed them over at first.


just read but i will read again if i miss something. thanks


These are two separate features. The Emergency Beacon does up to 6 hops when activated. I’m pretty sure that SMS relay only works when in direct contact with the other user whose phone has cell service and it does not hop.


From the angle of an SOS message it doesn’t matter. An SOS beacon will not have a destination to send an SMS to. Information would need to be manually relayed. The SMS feature will require a recipient. I believe any data connection via mobile or Wifi will work since they use Twillio to make the jump. I don’t believe the app can send the SMS without data.

Many 911 psap centers don’t support SMS yet anyway although it is slowly rolling out.

Perhaps a future version could allow the user to set a destination in the event an SOS message does make it to a node that has a connection to the internet. The message could then go out to everyone and one or two SMS recipients.

@VirginiagoTenna I don’t believe the recipient has to be only 1 hop away to use the SMS Gateway. I think a node as far away as 6 hops can relay a direct message via SMS. Is that correct?


Hi all
FYI I have have very mixed experience with firmware update process this how it played out below:
I have two of the AA12341234 units But one of them updated fine no issues at all using a old Samsung note 3 but the second didn’t complete firmware update and got suck like others have reported with the blinking light and no luck pairing it but I have managed to get it to pair to a iPad and here’s how… I powered up the goTenna and proceeded to press the button three times the white light went solid I then held the button until it shut off at this point put the iPad to pairing search and held down the button for 3seconds the iPad then reported Finalising firmware (not exact message but something along those lines) it completed and now I have two AA12341234 units updated.

So the only one I have a issues with is this serial numer MX17141382 it just tells me the firmware update is not compatible with my unit?

So try the above it may fix your non pairing goTenna I think IOS is the key to finish the firmware update properly.

As to my single unit being incompatible I await for response to be enlightened


The “not compatible” message was added to one of the app updates cause those units were the ones getting disabled by the update attempt. See this post for how to proceed.


Hi Andy

The device in question is not a AA12341234 it is a MX17141382 there are many users advise that the MX range should be fine?

I have also managed to get two AA12341234 units to update OK but one has now development less Bluetooth range down to about 10 inches and it drops connection I have tested the same behavior on both android and IOS. But my second AA12341234 is fine new firmware and Bluetooth range is as expected around 10 feet no drop outs at all seems there is either some firmware bugs causing issues or perhaps different hardware revisions between my units. But with 10" of Bluetooth range one gotenna is basic now useless it drops the connection with the slight move of the mobile.

I one out of three working on new firmware and a MX unit that won’t update as app thinks is not compatible.

Seems some very varied results with firmware.


Olly Buxton


These MX units were actually the worst affected and the ones that actually failed to update. Early reports of failure on AA12341234 units wasn’t really about failing IIRC, it was about them not prompting for the update in the first place. Read the linked post for more detail and what to do.


Yes, a significant number of MX units are affected. However, many are not. Most of my MX units updated, but I have one that starts MX1739xxxx that is a problem.


Good morning everyone, being enthusiastic with regard to gadgets I was fascinated with Gotenna. living in europe i bought one on by amazon and I received the order yesterday. as I have read here I called 1 gotenna and did the update on my iphone 8 with ios 12 last beta version and ran everything perfectly as expected. I did the same with the second gotenna having the first one turned off. this update was offered by the application as in the first one but I do not know why something did not go well. gotenna is always in pairing mode. I used several ways I tested on my iphone 6 with ios beta 12 as well and nothing. sometimes turning off and on again gotenna he is saying that he is completing the update but does not pass this, however today he was shown to say that the update had been made but soon after he returned the message saying that he was retouching the details.
the models are mx180 in at least one of them since in the second time I can not see.
thank you and I would like help from you and the community

ps: testing again sometimes said that update was successufully and start again firmware update and others says null


Hi Cardinal,
Assuming you are able to pair the phone and goTenna, go to>
At the top here is Device Information and you should see some version of 5.0, but probably 5.02. The bottom should show Device Information and a Firmware updated to the latest should be 1.1.8 if the update was completed.