SMS Relay Question

Hey there, apologies if this is covered somewhere already. I’m testing my goTenna mesh black devices, one paired, one not paired, and sending messages to my brother who is not connected to a mesh device.

First test with only Bluetooth on, failed. With using the SMS relay, failed.

Second test, Bluetooth and wifi on, failed. With SMS relay, success.

Third test, Bluetooth and cell data on, failed. With SMS relay, success.

So with these test results, it seems that when I send messages through the app, the SMS relay ONLY works if my phone is connected to WiFi or Cell network. And by that logic, the message doesn’t seem to be relayed by my unpaired unit, but actually might be sending through the service enabled on my phone. Would that be accurate?

I will say that, my brother may have forgotten to unpaired his phone from the device through the app, but I did confirm through Ping that he at least wasn’t actively connected to it. Should I have him unpair through the app just in case that’s causing an issue?

Any help or thoughts would be great! I’ve really enjoyed trying out my new pair of mesh devices!


I believe this is correct and part of the Plus feature. SMS Is relayed through near cell phone paired and with network service. @Rahul_Subramany can confirm this.

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This is correct. We use the Twilio API for this.

In an earlier (now-closed thread) @andy_o explained it pretty clearly:

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So SMS relay isn’t using my mesh device paired with my phone, it’s sending my message out across cell (SMS) or WiFi networks to other users with the goTenna app, which in turn routes the signal through their mesh device?

If so, that seems problematic, in that, I would think it be helpful to work the other way around too. Because, for example, if I’m on deployment to an area that has no cell or WiFi and need to get a message well outside of mesh range, using my goTenna mesh, I would like to bounce my message out to a user that has cell or WiFi connectivity thus routing my message along via SMS or WiFi. This would be helpful, for Hurricane Relief volunteers needing to report back to their “home” agency, which can be halfway around the country, or the globe.

I can also see where you probably can’t expect users to be OK with random messages chewing up their SMS texting plan on behalf of other users. But perhaps this is something people can opt in to/out of? Maybe even go so far as to have options for “Enable Message Routing”, “Enable Message Routing ONLY on WiFi”, “Message Routing Disabled” for this kind of feature.

Thoughts? Hopefully my morning rambling makes some sense!


@KD0WNE I think there is some confusion here regarding how SMS network relay works. Let me try to explain:

Let’s assume you wish to message someone who is outside goTenna Mesh range and you don’t have an internet connection. Here is how SMS relay works today.

  • Message -> Your phone -> your goTenna Mesh - > All other goTenna Mesh in the area
  • If a receiving goTenna Mesh in your area, is paired to a phone that has internet connection, the message will be sent to a SMS relay server.
  • The SMS relay server, sends the message to the intended recipient’s phone

This feature will allow Hurricane Relief volunteers to report back to their home agency anywhere in the country.


Does it matter if the paired phone has th Plus feature enabled? Isn’t the relay feature only available to Plus subscribers?

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You have to have Plus to SEND a message through SMS Network Relay, but you do not have to have Plus to be the SMS gateway for another user.


Just when I thought I understood this, turns out I don’t. I will have to do some real testing myself.


Back to testing! Thank you everyone for helping me try to understand. Looking forward to more great experiences.


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