Updating a few things…
We raised our home node, UMESH1, up to ~28’ . This helped its reach some, and put it where it’s easier and safer to work on.
I attended an event with some old political activist friends who are helping a local county board campaign. This gave me an opportunity to introduce them to the goTenna Mesh. They were intrigued by its features and the fact that we’re building a local network to support its use.
I tend to set up to automatically set pins at one minute intervals for 15 minutes when leaving home on an errand or returning after being away. This allows me to check performance and signal at various locations. I leave the GTM on the dash , so it’s not an ideal location for reception, but about the best for mobile monitoring short of duct-taping it to the roof. In reviewing, last nght’s “take” I found that I was getting good reception at UMESH1 of the pin from the location of the town-edge venue I just described. This wasn’t a confirmed message, but was a new record for reception at 2.38 miles. This pointed out two issues I’m still working around.
Raising the home node made its reception and transmission noticeably better than for return paths from mobile GTMs. Eventually, fill-in stationary nodes off-axis from our intial 3-node string will help get mobile GTMs through, but the current lack of more than 2 hops and linear nature of the UMESH network means that mobile reception and transmission tends to lag.
Second, pings and pins seem to be more reliable than messaging in getting through, but don’t tell you much directly about stationary node performance since there’s no direct indication of any intermediate hops when these occur, unlike the “hopping” indication when a message arrives via a stationary node.
Whether it was the raising of the home node or something else, I’ve been getting noticeably fewer test messages that indicate these nodes are at work. In fact, I was at my current work site at the south end of the UMESH when I received an off to work message from my dear partner as she left the house to walk to work. This was apparently a direct jump without stationary node involvement per what was documented on her GTM. Impressive, but not reliable unless you can find and stay in that “sweet spot.” This and observations of the inaction of LEDs in its clear box on the home node when initially transmitting a message makes me wonder if the mesh protocol tries to send direct first, then only goes to a stationary relay when that initial direct comm fails?
Relative lack of sun (better than the week before, though), the relative weakness of signals from mobile GTMs versus those mounted well above ground level, combined with the current general opaqueness of stationary node operation (visible when it happens only to the sender, IIRC) makes you wonder if the stationary nodes are working at all at times. Messaging usually gets through where its expected to relatively easily, although some locations that would seem to have obvious stationary node coverage to assist do not awwm to assist at the same time they lack direct transmission LOS. Again, adding off axis nodes will help with this by providing alternative “looks” for a signal to hop to make it through, but in practical terms this remains dependent on expanding the total number of hops available for a message to move through on its way to its destination.
The final issue in testing is the small number of users. I “simulate” another user by leaving a GTM and phone at one location, but this is only convenient at the two end points. Without the capability to jump from one end to the other of the three-node network due to the limited number of hops currently available, coverage is spottier than it will be with that and a denser mesh network. So I’m working on expanding the user base, which will get easier as time goes on and capabilities come online for the goTenna Mesh.