30 October 2019

Wireless Mesh Networks & goTenna - The Future Is So Bright, I Need To Wear Shades!!

 It has been a very busy semester at school. The work load is quite a bit larger this term and the one extra course is really taking the wind out of my sail. Regardless, I am learning a lot and it is time to share one of my school projects.

For those of you who are into tech, this project may truly catch your whole interest. For those who are curious about new technology this project may stir your interest. And, those of you who are here with open minds and no fixed interest this may change that...or not.

Wireless Mesh Networks (WMN). What the heck is that? Glad you asked. Think of the internet at the beginning....
 You had to direct dial modem to modem to connect to another computer. Then, eventually you could go online and network with a few folks and eventually millions of other computer users.

Well, WMN, is like that; in that it connects people together. But, it has the ability to create its own network. Devices called nodes are the infrastructure that connect other devices like cellphones together. Until, recently only the military and big corporations had this ability. It cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit.

Welcome, goTenna and the whole goTenna family of products: goTenna, goTenna MESH, Pro, Pro-X.
goTenna lets you connect your cellphone to text message other cellphones that also have a goTenna without cellular service or Wi-Fi or any other internet connection. Let that sink in.

With goTenna, you and your cellphone and your friends with their cellphones and goTennas can go to a concert, festival or to the great outdoors and stay in contact. Imagine being out canoe camping at Bowron Lakes in British Columbia. No power. No cell towers. Spotty satellite reception. However, if each canoe unit had a cellphone and a goTenna you could text between canoes. Not important on a sunny afternoon, but if the weather turns foul and the waves 
 get big enough to swamp or capsize canoes; it is now very important to stay in contact. Not all those canoeing can paddle to the next campsite. Some may have to make for the closest safe harbour and take emergency shelter until the storm passes. Now, your 6 or 8 canoes in your group maybe scattered a few kilometers apart. With the goTenna MESH and cellphone and the required software app you loaded on all phones before the trip; you can now contact each other and ensure everyone is safely ashore. From first to last may be too distant to directly  communicate , but thanks to the nodes your message can "hop" through the other nodes to the person you need to contact.
 That is wireless mesh networking!!

So, even in the most remote places that have no communication infrastructure; you can now decide if you want a network and how big it will be. Realistically, with enough nodes in a given location, you could communicate over an area of bout 16 square kilometers, depending on the topography or terrain and the possible line-of-sight interference obstacles. The good news is, you can float a relay unit in a weather balloon or attach it to a drone in a high orbit to keep everyone in your party connected.
 My school project focuses on using the goTenna Pro-X system to deploy to areas post-disaster to rescue those who are in the danger zone. Disaster Management and Disaster Response Teams would be entering area devastated by disasters and the regular infrastructure for communications are either overloaded or destroyed. These response team will need the capability to communicate between teams and to command centre.

This is very versatile technology and has a huge potential. I encourage further investigation at: https://gotenna.com/
Until next time....Don't be afraid to learn something new!!