Stationary relay setup question

I see from other posts that one device can become a stationary relay by just providing continues power to it and turning it on. No need to leave it paired to an iPhone. My question is: I see to get the 6 hops for SMS messages the unit needs to be on the PLUS plan. How do I get a device on the PLUS plan without connecting it to an iPhone?

I am thinking of putting one in my attack with continues power.

Have qty two (2) on order for testing and feasibility study.

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I’m fairly new to goTenna as well, but from what I understand, only the user that the message originates from has to be on the Plus plan. Any other goTenna mesh device, whether in relay mode or paired, Plus or not, will retransmit the message up to 6 hops.
As for SMS relay, one of the devices along the hops needs to be paired with a phone/tablet that has cellular or internet access. It will act as the gateway and that’s how the message gets out. This device doesn’t itself have to be on the Plus plan, just the device the message originated on.


Actually, to be in relay mode you want to press the Power button quickly three times once the GTM is powered on. That will stop the LED from flashing and turn it to steady on. Then quickly press it 3 more times. It will blink back 3 times, then the white LED will go out. To test that it is currently in relay mode, press the Power button once and it will reply with 3 blinks to confirm.

What relay mode does is shut down the Bluetooth to save energy. You’d also not want to just turn it on and leave it with the LED flashing as it would be if you didn’t put it in relay mode, as all that flashing continuously would also waste power.

I think you may have confused what the GTM paired to your device does with relay. Even when in paired mode, unless you’re using it for your own messages, whenever a GTM is on it is available to relay if it gets a message that needs a relay.

Sierra is pretty much correct. The relay just forwards the message, it doesn’t need to be on Plus, but it does need to be upgraded to the latest firmware IIRC so that it is capable of handling the message correctly, although I may be wrong about that and some of the earlier firmware may forward more than 3 hops (someone will correct me if I got that wrong.) The originator of the message needs to have Plus to send a message up to 6 hops, as well as some version of the 5.0 series of the App.


@chaseah some good advice so far.

Plus subscriptions are tied to the app, not a device. So only the goTenna Mesh that is sending the message needs to be paired to a phone that has a Plus subscription for the SMS relay to work. Any goTenna nearby–regardless of whether they’re paired to a Plus user or in relay mode–can relay a message. Also, to clarify, at this time you do not need a Plus subscription to send a message using 6 hops. A Plus subscription is required to leverage the SMS relay.


Thanks all. I will let you know how the setup goes after the units arrive.


Mike R what do you mean by your last statement? I was under the impression that the plus service was the only way to get 6 hops vs the standard 3. What do you mean by “leverage the sms relay”?

The plus service I think acts like what we call an Igate in the amateur radio community. Meaning that the SMS message goes to the ,guessing “plus server”, and then transmits out to others that have the Plus service… and then hops from there. Btw 6 hops is quite significant. As each time it digipeats it picks up information from each transmitter that continues to end of 6 hops… after that the signal degrades and the original data packet is corrupted… so to speak. Anyone here please feel free to correct where I used wrong terminology or got it wrong…



Actually, I think the SMS relay will transmit to anyone with telco text service.

I’m uncertain whether it will be able to transmit out of one mesh network to the server and then have the server send to another mesh network to be forwarded by hopping within that mesh to a final destination. You may only be able to forward to a specific user with telco text service, not to a user who only has a mesh connection. That’s because the telco networks need a phone number to send text to, not a GUID.

It’s not that the data packet is corrupted, it’s that it’s a trade-off between the bandwidth available and the amount of data needed to continue hopping - or at least that the best I can explain it. I’d recommend this article by goTenna’s chief scientist and its follow-up, where he discusses the problems of adding more hops.
Understanding Mesh Networking, Part I History and Challenges
Understanding Mesh Networking, Part II Protocols & Performance

Yes, good point, it is a difficult problem and I think it’s often not appreciated just how difficult it is or the limitations that bandwidth imposes on the available feature set. It always amazes me what the goTenna Mesh is able to do under these limitations.

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