Need goTenna Mesh product support? I am here to help!


I’m running into a bit of a problem here. Most of the e911 services don’t have a special xxx-xxx-xxxx number to send an emergency message to… they just use 911.

My concern is that if I initiate a private Gotenna message, will the app allow 911 as a valid contact number?
Following @MikeL ’ s advice, I don’t want to test this myself, but would rather just get your assurances that this will work. Obviously as the message will be sms relaying via your server? or Twilio’s? location data might not be available - and should be explicitly included?


The message is relayed via Twilio, you can include location; it will transmit latitude/longitude data.

Per the FCC, you cannot reach ‘911’ by text message. In some locations, text-to-911 is established, however, it isn’t widely available. (More details here.) This would mean that it’s best to have a relay services.


Darn. Gotenna App on android requires GID to be 7 to 14 digits. So even though text 911 is available in my locations (it is) 100% operational in Puerto Rico, New Hampshire, Florida… etc. I can’t use SMS relay to 911 because it’s only 3 digits. Any ideas? 000-0911 ?


Might be a good idea for you to contact Twilio dev resources direclty & find out — and report back but maybe not on this thread, as there seem to be two separate convos about the same thing going on :slight_smile: (Yes, I’m a stickler for comment board rules, haha)


OHHHH, it worked!!!


Oh, ok. Which thread should it go under?
:slight_smile: I actually did contact Twilio - just waiting to hear back. It’s been almost 12 hours.
I just want to be ready before bad stuff happens… you know.

I don’t want to send a test message to 911, certainly not if it’s relaying off of your servers.
Could anyone at Gotenna tell me if this has any chance of working (provided my 911 centers all support text 911)? Leaving this here because this seems of general applicability for people - at least until an updated user manual is published.


Reporting back.
I sent a test text message to 911 after emailing the director of e911 services to let them know it will be coming. Not sure if it went through or not. I included my location, my cell number, and very conspicuously, that it was a test.

Twilio seems to say that it’s “the application developer’s responsibility to let end users know that 911 texts violate their acceptable use policy” and that there are no exceptions. Also, there seems to be a requirement to send a response letting the user know that it did not go through.

So, FYI, people, Emergency SMS relay will NOT work to 911. There may be several loopholes, as long as you send your message to someone (not 911) and ask them to send the message on to 911. Also, their acceptable use policy may be void as against public policy as we clearly want people to have a higher chance of reaching emergency public services and the more moving parts between you and 911, the less likely your message is to get through.

My question to Gotenna. Is there any timeline on expected ability to reply to a Gotenna SMS relay? Or internet backhaul to twitter? Not using mesh toolkit, but natively? I’m excited to see the fruits of your SDK competition Aug. 13th. Best of luck and cheers.

My concern is that if we have to use SMS relay to relay to another person (trusted contact) and ASK them to text 911, but we can’t get back any confirmation from them that they received the message or passed it along to 911… that’s kind of a bad situation.


That is interesting, but not entirely unexpected. 911 services are a sort of commons, too, thus the cautious approach that designers and engineers take towards automating capabilities to contact 911. It’s not exactly explicit, but it’s probably safe to say the 911 services in general want those contacting them to provide identification, at a minimum, and location, if possible. They are in the business of getting help to your location, not so much identifying where you are.

There are already devices that partially frustrate those needs. Our county dispatch center is frequently frustrated by 911 callers using Trak-Fones(sp?). They can get a reading that gives them location to varying degrees of accuracy via triangulation by the towers involved, but they can’t call the party back once they’ve hung up because Trak-Fone doesn’t support reverse calling.

I would assume that Twillio doesn’t want to wade into such a mess, so simply rules it out. I think I would’ve checked with Twillio first if there are no exceptions to their policy that there should be no 911 messages, but good luck, maybe they will make an exception given your efforts to ensure it was clearly identified as a Test message.

This fact about not messaging 911 through Twillio should be in the new handbook just to keep everyone away from that, as well as to make aware that you should probably find another device to access such service. In my case, I use an old cell to control my GTMs. If I need to call 911, the phone will do that. Once again, simple enough, already there and ready at a moment’s notice without a need to add anything – and I’m sure approved for calling 911.

Not sure I agree with this…

Generally, yes, but also keep in mind the commons. One bad intentioned mal-actor with an automated 911 dialer can keep thousands, maybe millions from full access to those same emergency services. So which is the correct choice for public service communications specialists? I’m pretty sure that they will err on the side of ensuring full access by all to EMS rather than creating a situation ripe for potentially disastrous abuse.

Does make me wonder how and where the FCC regulates devices capable of dialing 911? I’m not sure that this is something you’d want to leave to the haphazard decision making of “common sense.” That may be hovering here in the background as regulatory limits are very often where the attempts to “improve” the goTenna end up going aground. Might be a great idea, but if the gov’t doesn’t allow it…


I’m not getting any option to update the firmware. I purchased a two pack a long time ago and thought i lost them during my move to a new house. Found them and paired one of the units. There are NO instructions in the box and no setup videos or help. Geez.
Current firmware is 0.13.35 and App version 5.02. I’m using iPhone 7 plus on 11.4.1
I don’t see any “update firmware” options in Settings/About.


When I say long time ago, it was a kickstarter and they shipped 8/16/17


I’m sure Virginia will get back with you if you message her as I noted in the other link.

I suspect your units need swapped out due to the firmware being too old to update. That is why you’re not seeing the button to update. Most info is available in the User Interface on your phone. There is a new manual coming, but it’s still in production. There is some good info here, although have to work at finding it.


Happy to help! Sending you a DM :smiley:


When making my 1st purchase, I didn’t notice any mention of a limited number of “hops” and I didn’t think/know enough to ask. Until recently, I didn’t even know there was a limited number of “hops”. Now with the latest firmware, it seems hops are limited to 6, but the more I read, the more confused I seem to get.
In the example image below, how many “hops” are used to reach the Intended Receiver? Are “hops” only counted when they go through a GTM that’s set in “relay” mode, or Is the number of “hops” increased with each GTM device that “touches” a message? If the latter, then in an area “crowded” with GTMs, might a message never reach the Intended Receiver because it’s “used”/exceeded the max number of “hops”?



I’m not quite sure what’s going on with the X in the circle on the left connected to the rest with the dashed line, but for the solid line connections, you have 3 hops. They pass through two relays between the sender and receiver.

Yes, that’s it.

Since it’s RF, it acts like ripples in a pond. There cann be multiple routes, some might skip over intermediate nodes if they are close enough together for instance. If it doesn’t reach the intended receiver, it was because it just wasn’t near enough. There are no wasted hops.

6 hops also comes with improved message handling. The path a message takes between two parties is revised as the system learns the patterns of use and signaling.


Check out this thread! All of your questions are answered.

A message passing through either a paired goTenna Mesh or a relay node would count as a hop.

3 hops: A-B, B-C, C-D
6 hops: A-B, B-C, C-D, D-E, E-F, F-G


I think the “X” indicates a sent message is impeded/blocked/unable to be relayed due to interference from the “mountains”, buildings, or some other structure.


Thanks, Virgina.
BTW, I think you should have rec’d my “old” GTMs by now.
Thanks again for all you’ve done.


Ah-ha, that makes sense.

A little more on the diagram. It’s good for describing the path of a specific message, but also loses some of the nuances of how mesh works. It’s linear nature reflects the way we think. You’re in one place and the person you’re sending it to is in another. Thus how it works .seems to follow this linear model. However, each of the points that this line describes as it hops from node to node (except the last one which receives it) broadcasts in all directions.

This omnidirectional pattern doesn’t change much if everything is in a straight line. Once the lines start to bend, assuming the distances don’t change greatly, then that creates a greater possibility that intermediate nodes will be skipped. This would allow a greater distance to be covered with the same 3 hops (in this case).

Another way to live with the same hop limit is to raise the relay node higher, giving it a better “radio horizon” because its reach is farther away.

This wider coverage through a vertical increase also has a colleague in efforts to “thicken” the mesh. If the diagram had two more groups of nodes about the same distance from the existing line as nodes in it are from each other in the rugged Canadian north it creates an increased possibility that signals will arrive from multiple directions, off the front to rear axis that these line diagrams sometimes unintentionally reinforce as being the only thing going on.


Hi Virginia – I looked through the 25+ PDFs at the link you provided ( )and did not find anything that shows the antenna radiation pattern. I’m sure I just missed it… can you link directly to the document that shows the antenna radiation pattern (I want to know the best way to orient my goTenna Mesh)?


Hey Noah I just sent an email to the support address but I’m having a couple issues with one of my newly purchased and received nodes. The simple one is that one of the charging cables you guys sent is defective, the other more challenging issue is that the node will not enter pairing mode. Your help is appreciated.