“What on Earth is a Mesh Network?”
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Admittedly, everything I know about these little guys from GoTenna comes from studying about them for writing Tahoma’s Hammer. The first time I ever saw one was the day Cliff—The Urban Prepper on YouTube—interviewed me. He brought some out to the real “The West Sound Sportsman’s Club” [Have you seen my webpage dedicated to it, yet?] and took some photos of them as part of his video series on them.
They operate near the 900 MHz range, meaning the bands are slightly different in Europe and North America. What this means to you non-HAMs is that they’re similar to cordless phones and don’t need any special licensing. As GoTenna progresses, the pods’ capabilities get better with time. They currently claim a nominal battery time of 24 hours, and run for about $180 for a pair.
“Why do I want one,” you ask? Quite simply, they make your cell phone more than a paperweight in a grid-down scenario. In the modern here-and-now, hikers have been using these things for years. They’ll strap one to their back-pack and be able to text each other miles from any nearby towers, unphased by the peaks of hills between them and the nearest signal. And not just text—they can look at each other’s GPS location on a map. And their little network is private, set-up ahead of time, so that other nearby hikers with a pod would need to ask to join.
“But I don’t go hiking. You know…sciatica…” Okay, let your imagination guide you. Want to ensure you and the grand-kids can still reach each other at Disneyland? Establish your own mesh network. Get it? And like I used in the books, they’ll be invaluable in a tactical situation. The military calls any advantage over your enemy a “force multiplier”. Imagine sending text and position information seconds before the operation begins when the other guy can’t.
In this particular video in Cliff’s series, he suspends a pod from a drone and conducts real-time range testing, verifying that they would indeed get a few, good miles of range with some decent height. After a collapse event, you could be they person that enables the town’s bartering tables to talk to each other in real time, or even just save people the trip to town when bartering wasn’t happening that day. CLICK HERE to see his full video review on the pods.
Lastly, these pods are able to be modified to take a small DC trickle converter and solar panel, meaning you can leave them up on tower, roof-peak, or tree for weeks-on-end—maybe longer. I haven’t done that myself and lack the experience to write about it at this time.
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