The antenna on-the-go GoTenna is a 6-inch-long baton (oh my) that connects (mmmm) to your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone and facilitates interaction (uh-huh) with other GoTenna-connected smartphones.
Okay, let's get serious. It propagates on an extremely low-band frequency which science tells us means it's very long (stop it) range and navigates easily around obstacles. We swear, that's the last innuendo.
Daniela Perdomo, GoTenna’s CEO and co-founder, says its range is only limited by the horizon as signals can go as far as nine miles in open environments. The range decreases with increasing obstacles of course but she claims signals can extend to four miles in forested areas and one mile in her densely populated home-ground Brooklyn.
Conversely, GoTenna could reach as far as 50 miles if the horizon is extended, as it would be on the top of a mountain.
A new meaning to radio-ing in
It's completely off the mobile/Internet grid so it's not terribly useful if you intend to tweet or surf on this network. The bandwidth couldn’t take it anyway. No, GoTenna is about going back to the basics. The 151MHz network is best to transmit simple texts and GPS coordinates. To compare, mobile networks are on the 700MHz band.
These features are combined with a designed app with location-sharing and downloadable maps. Together, it creates a system light and flexible enough to accommodate communication off the grid between as little as two people or as many as 5000.
Think music festivals, hiking trails, mountain-climbing. Or you might not need to go that far. Even talking to friends while you navigate a concrete basement labyrinth on campus would work.
Perdomo finds it easy to admit it slots easily into many niche markets including privacy advocates hoping to get away from questionably private internet or mobile communication or the survivalist/militia market. Even so, GoTenna communications are readily encrypted making specialised radio interception somewhat daunting.
Pre-orders are now available, starting at US$150 (S$186) as a promotional price while the full retail will be US$300 (S$373).