A mesh network spontaneously erupts in the US and helps connect Puerto Rico

When goTenna put out their Mesh device earlier this year, I thought the off-grid communication gadgets would be great for an emergency kit or back country hike. But it turns out that both I and goTenna underestimated the demand for a resilient, user-powered mesh network: thousands of dedicated nodes now populate cities across the country, and volunteers are using them to get Puerto Rico back online after a devastating hurricane season.

The Mesh works a lot like the original goTenna, which pairs to your phone using Bluetooth, then uses walkie talkie radio frequencies to send text communications (no cell network necessary) to another device paired to someone else’s phone — perhaps a mile or two away.

What the Mesh added was the ability to relay those messages:…

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