Meshtastic

Gotenna Mesh thread

Hey everyone,

I think our project has reached a level of maturity and popularity where we can consider taking a closer look at the elephant in the room, and by this I mean, of course, Gotenna Mesh.

Why not any of the other dozen-or-so Gotenna competitors, like Beartooth, Goheart, Radacat etc? Simple, because I honestly think there’s nothing ground-breakingly original in those projects, nothing to fear and nothing to learn.
Why not Gotenna Pro / X / etc? Because those are closed-group solutions, a completely different ballpark that is as irrelevant from a community perspective as, say, TETRA radios.

This leaves Gotenna Mesh - a splendid product that I’ve followed from inception with a varying degree of enthusiasm, which, after all these years, like it or not, is still the gold standard of ISM band long-range mesh communicators. And which, I think, Meshtastic will soon be in position to take on.

So, to get the ball rolling, how many of you guys have had a chance to try out Gotenna Mesh, on its own or (even better) side-by-side with Meshtastic? What are the things that you liked / disliked most about it?

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i have 4 gotenna mesh and 2 sonnets (still waiting for 3 more sonnets to arrive…).

I gave up on gotenna because they became greedy. Their hardware is expensive, there is no external antenna, closed source, they started charging a yearly fee for more than 3 hops through your own devices. I designed a lot of 3d printed accessories for gotenna mesh over the years and have since pulled them from thingiverse because i didnt agree with their company direction.

Sonnet had a lot of potential but their development on indiegogo seems to have stalled and the team members mostly cut. They were a high wattage (1 watt), external antenna compatible solution but there was an investor report showing they were going to shift to hardware rental company if they ever produce their units large scale.

While i dont expect everything to be cheap and open source, both companies let me down. For what is essentially a fun hobby solution for hiking, i was really disappointed with any yearly subscription from gotenna, and it is a non-starter for future hardware rental from Sonnet.


Meshtastic is perfect. Cheaper hardware but you can still upgrade to the more industrial controllers once the software bugs have been worked out, large online community, no nickel and diming of users.

If Meshtastic could somehow implement internet crossover connection for Signal (and even Whatsapp, but that’s less important to me) even with no pictures, only messages, it would be the perfect solution for me.

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Impressive collection :slight_smile:
Shame about Sonnet’s pivot, but they were not even on my threat radar to begin with, so I guess not much of a loss to mourn. Have you tried opening one of those, is the hardware any good at least? Meshtastic-able? :wink:

Oh, the 3-hop thing was an awful PR f-up for Gotenna, and what most people don’t realize is that it was a complete red herring.

Look at it this way: all Gotenna Mesh devices operate identically. The firmware has a 15-hop hard limit, which is a limitation of the protocol, but everything under 15 hops is gladly relayed as intended. The rest of the limitations are artificial, and external to the device at several points:

  • the BLE API will reject messages with a TTL over, I think, 9 or 10 hops, but will accept anything below that, no fuss about subscriptions etc
  • the (closed) SDK has an apparent TTL limit of 3 hops by default, but in fact supports up to 6 hops using a special “admin” SDK key (the software to generate these is free on the Internet)
  • the (closed) official app has a TTL limit of 6 hops during the first month, then drops to 3 hops and requires a reinstallation (or a payment) to restore the 6-hop capability

As you can see, Gotenna’s 3-hop limitation really only affects the bottom feeders; if 6 hops are required in the original app, they can be enabled by reinstallation; if required in the SDK you can generate your own admin key.
If more than 6 hops are required (but WHY?!), you can get up to 9 hops by writing your own software, or up to 15 by building your own hardware with gtm-lab.

Anyway, I agree: they promised freedom, and instead delivered friction, restrictions and frustration, which alienated their growing community and harmed the network effect. Excellent point, and definitely something to avoid.

The issues I had with all the GoTenna products was the lack of parameter changes to suit the environment, encryption (to protect messages-broken ease by black hat), diversity of hardware options, lack of laptop based connection (had have some frivolous SDK key to just integrate). I look it like the Linux os. I have several options I can load that OS on to perform tasks. Same for if I want a offline communicator, I can use all the boards we have presented and then use a keyboard, phone, or laptop as my medium to input and recieve messages.

I do.

I carry Gotenna Mesh and Meshtastic (T-Beam with 3dBi omni) side by side quite a lot actually, and some of my family and friends carry one or the other too.
I run the T-Beams in Medium/Fast mode in order to match the throughput that I get from Gotenna.

What I like about Gotenna:

  • cute, understated, non-threatening design, yet very tough and ergonomical; I’m perfectly OK giving the GTMs to the kids, can’t say the same about the T-Beams
  • longer range and better obstacle penetration, not surprising considering it pushes out 1W of power; even with that crappy internal PCB antenna, power is power
  • very stable in operation, seems to never jam or crash
  • strong network building effect since all devices receive and relay everybody else’s messages

What I dislike about Gotenna:

  • closed platform discourages development, innovation and interoperation
  • company appears to have abandoned the consumer market in favor of mil/gov contracts
  • the full technical potential of the devices and network is constantly hobbled by commercial and political factors.

How we can win this (in my opinion):

  • more power - thankfully the NanoVHF team are working on this
  • iOS app (soon!)
  • better, modular open-source enclosure designs with:
    • shock- and weather-proofing,
    • multiple battery options and solar
    • multiple mounting options (body, vehicle, fixed etc)
  • integration with OpenStreetmap, OSMAND, LeafletJS, OSRM, ATAK, Briar, Bitcoin, Monero, Matrix, Ardupilot (why not ?!) and other awesome open-source projects.
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Thanks @fixFinish , many excellent ideas.

Great idea, most case designs I’ve seen have a techno/pragmatic look and feel, I think a child-proof design would be a huge hit, even with adults (and airport security)

I’m a great believer in decentralization as an enabler of freedom, and especially financial freedom. However, most projects that I knew of, that attempted to somehow combine the Gotenna network with cryptocurrency systems have ended in failure or disappointment.
That said, I would really love to see some successful development in this direction. What do you have in mind?

Helium network. Meshtastic could integrate with Helium with minimal effort… probably just needs an mqtt decoder.

Helium has over 200,000 gateways worldwide and is growing exponentially. Now that most city centers have great coverage, the helium team is actively seeking projects like meshtastic too broaden their use cases and network usage. Seems like a great opportunity to link up.

Nothing in common whatsoever. Meshtastic is a non-commercial open-source mesh network project based on LoRa proper, while Helium is a desperate, dishonest and ultimately failing attempt to monetize the LoRaWAN protocol. Two different worlds.

Anyway, since this is the Gotenna thread, please feel free to delete your off-topic post, start your own thread, and I’ll be delighted to continue our conversation there. Thank you.

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Well… that’s a bit of a rude response.

You said…

I responded with…

I guess I’ll just go back to lurking in this community.

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I’m curious what the helium network is pushing through their closed mesh? CP?

@Black6spdZ current implementation of Helium is focused on low data rate Internet of Things.

Lime is using the network to track and communicate with scooters.

If you really are curious perhaps do a bit of research before asking such questions, especially when employing the Tucker Carlson method of rhetoric.

If I see more comments like the above and a lack of thoughtful contributions to the community I have zero issue with limiting such accounts ability to post.

Back on what I hope was the topic, even when Helium implements 5G and high speed data, most things accessed will be hosted somewhere in ‘The Cloud’ not on Helium. No different then the network aspect of the internet.

Meshtastic could integrate with telegram

There is probably no end to the possibilities.

Right now, it seems here is work on an MQTT gateway. MQTT is deceptively simple… and would then be a springboard to allow publish/subscribe options.

Those publish/subscribe options absolutely could include other mesh or messaging networks.

The current interest in direction within Meshtastic seems to be with what Element uses as a back-end.

Element (formerly Riot and Vector) is a free and open-source software instant messaging client implementing the Matrix protocol . Element supports end-to-end encryption, groups and sharing of files between users.

I also think MQTT could serve as a way to do a lot of other use-cases…

Part of the beauty of the project, however, is that anyone that wants to can make something happen.

Anything that can transport the information can be integrated… if there is interest and energy to get it done.

Helium is interesting because of how they have chosen to monetize the “network”. Right now it all seems like a solution looking for a problem. As long as the packets were encrypted, I would not “mind” going over something like Helium… what is less obvious is that regular network use is going to cost money. That money is what is then used to pay out those that run gateways that kindof look like miners.

However… let’s understand that VHS won over Beta… and was inferior. IBM and Epson were fighting in the standards world while HP was selling tens of thousands of printers. HP won.

Getting stuff done beats being more perfect or more correct or more ideal… every single time.

So… find where you live: https://explorer.helium.com/coverage

If you live in an urban location where Helium is supported… and it suits your use-case, (and finances…), then it could make some sense. Go for it! The closed ecosystem, however, will not make it very easy… it seems to me.

Ken

FYI there is already an ATAK plugin, signed too.