The new hardware is smaller, albeit a touch chubbier-looking than its predecessor, and there's no longer a need for an antenna extension. The basic range without mesh networking in action is similar to the previous model, covering up to about one mile in urban areas and three out in the sticks. From there, however, once a few devices are in play, the range extends from one device to the next nearby and so on, letting your data daisy-chain its way across greater distances.
The new technology augments the range of communication by sending data pings in the background to various nearby devices, hopping around until an efficient and successful path is found to the intended recipient. As an example, if you're hiking and have friend A three miles ahead of you (in range) and friend B six miles ahead, the signal can hop from one to the next, retransmitting from the closest device until it gets where it's going.
Obviously, with a robust network of active devices, the better the service can become. To help build a community for people to share their active locations, GoTenna launched the site: imeshyou.com, where users can anonymously list the area they're in with their Mesh. That way, you'll know if you're heading into an area where you can get a boost from the locals or other travelers nearby.
As before, you use the GoTenna app for iOS and Android to send messages as text or GPS coordinates. There's still a public broadcast channel that anyone with a device nearby can pick up, while group messaging and one-to-one communication offer end-to-end encryption for privacy's sake.
The company is also launching its first premium subscription service called GoTenna Plus. During the first 90 days, users can get a year's worth of service for $10, with the price then landing at $30 per year. This gives you detailed topographic maps, delivery notifications for up to six users at a time, location tethering to keep tabs on other verified users in your group and trip statistics. Plus, there's network relaying, so you if you don't have a cell signal, but a connected friend does, you can piggyback on their service and send SMS messages to the outside world.