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goTenna Sets Sights on Off-Grid Tactical Communications

With its focus on enabling off-grid communications, this company’s latest product turns a smartphone into a mission-critical communications tool—without needing any centralized infrastructure.

Today, cellular phones obviously represent a major part of life for many people. However, what good are those phones when service is unavailable? That question was asked by siblings Jorge and Daniela Perdomo in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. That storm sparked a belief in them that cell phones were practically useless when actually needed the most. Thus, goTenna was founded by Jorge (VP) and Daniela (CEO) with a goal of enabling off-grid communications. The company is located in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Essentially, the company wanted to enable people to communicate with a phone without needing cellular, internet, or satellite service. Hence, goTenna’s first product, also named goTenna, was launched in 2015. The goTenna device can be wirelessly paired to a smartphone via Bluetooth low energy (BLE). The company’s simple messaging app then allows that smartphone to exchange messages and share GPS locations with other goTenna users within range—all without requiring service. Thus, communication is possible in all types of situations, such as hiking in remote areas, traveling, attending music or sporting events, and during emergencies, according to goTenna.

1. Roughly the size of a candy bar, this professional-grade radio utilizes mesh networking technology.

Enter the goTenna Pro

Following the introduction of the goTenna device, the company saw demand for a more enhanced product. That paved the way for the new goTenna Pro, a mesh networking tactical radio that can work with any smartphone (Fig. 1). While the first goTenna device is a consumer product, the goTenna Pro is intended for applications like defense, public safety, wildland firefighting, and many others.

The goTenna Pro, which is about the size of a candy bar, takes advantage of mesh networking technology to further enhance off-grid communications. Moreover, it can achieve more than 60 hours of battery life from a single 3.5Wh battery and can be fully recharged within six hours.

2. The smartphone app allows for text messaging and live interactive mapping.

The goTenna Pro operates over frequency ranges of 142 to 175 MHz and 445 to 480 MHz. It can transmit 5 W of output power. In addition, the goTenna Pro’s SMA connector allows it to be integrated with off-the-shelf antennas or systems.

Like the goTenna, the goTenna Pro operates with a smartphone app to allow for messaging and location sharing (Fig. 2). “We’re very proud of the app being simple,” explained Jorge Perdomo. “We didn’t want to create an app that had all these elements that people had to learn how to use.” In addition, the software development kit (SDK) allows for the building of other applications.

The goTenna Pro is available for $499.

goTenna, 81 Willoughby St., Ste. 302, Brooklyn, NY 11201

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