What is Meshtastic ?, Hacker News

Meshtastic is a project that lets you use inexpensive ($

(ish) GPS radios as an extensible, super long battery life mesh GPS communicator. These radios are great for hiking, skiing, paragliding – essentially any hobby where you don’t have reliable internet access. Each member of your private mesh can always see the location and distance of all other members and any text messages sent to your group chat.

The radios automatically create a mesh to forward packets as needed, so everyone in the group can receive messages from even the furthest member. The radios will optionally work with your phone, but no phone is required.


  • Outdoor sports where cellular coverage is limited. (Hiking, Skiing, Boating, Paragliding, Gliders etc ..)

  • Applications where closed source GPS communicators just won’t cut it (it is easy to add features for glider pilots etc…)

  • Secure long-range communication within groups without depending on cellular providers

  • Finding your lost kids; -)


Not all of these features are fully implemented yet – see


disclaimers below. But they should be in by the time we decide to call this project beta (three months?)

  • Very long battery life (should be about eight days with the beta software)

  • Built in GPS and LoRa Youtube video demo radio, but we manage the radio automatically for you

  • Long range – a few miles per node but each node will forward packets as needed

  • Shows direction and distance to all members of your channel

  • Directed or broadcast text messages for channel members

  • Open and extensible codebase supporting multiple hardware vendors – no lock in to one vendor

  • Communication API for bluetooth devices (such as our Android app) to use the mesh. So if you have some application that needs long range low power networking, this might work for you.

  • Eventually (within a couple of months) we should have a modified version of Signal that works with this project.

  • Very easy sharing of private secured channels. Just share a special link or QR code with friends and they can join your encrypted mesh

This project is currently in early alpha – if you have questions please join our chat

This software is % open source and developed by a group of hobbyist experimenters. No warranty is provided, if you’d like to improve it – we’d love your help. Please post in the chat .

Note: Updates are happening almost daily, only major updates are listed below. For more details see our chat, github releases or the Android alpha tester emails.

Meshtastic Android app Youtube video demo

Once out of alpha the companion Android application will be released here:

But if you want the bleeding edge app now, we’d love to have your help testing. Three steps to opt-in to the alpha- test:

  1. Join Download at this Google group

    with the account you use in Google Play.


  3. Go to this

to opt-in to the alpha test.   

  • If you encounter any problems or have questions, post in our gitter chat and we’ll help.
  • If you’d like to help with development, the source code is on github

    Supported hardware

    We currently support two brands of radios. The TTGO T-Beam and the Heltec LoRa Most people should buy the T-Beam and a (battery) total cost less than $ 728). Make sure to buy the frequency range which is legal for your country. For the USA, you should buy the MHz version. Getting a version that include a screen is optional, but highly recommended.

    Instructions for installing prebuilt firmware can be found


    For a nice printable cases:

    1. TTGO T-Beam V0 see this (design

      by bsiege


  • TTGO T_Beam V1 see this


    by rwanrooy or this (remix) by


  • Heltec Lora 728 see this (design by ornotermes .
  • This project is still pretty young but moving at a pretty good pace. Not all features are fully implemented in the current alpha builds. Most of these problems should be solved by the beta release:

    • We don’t make these devices and they haven’t been tested by UL or the FCC. If you use them you are experimenting and we can’t promise they won’t burn your house down; -)

    • Encryption is turned off for now

    • A number of (straightforward) software work items have to be completed before battery life matches our measurements, currently battery life is about three days. Join us on chat if you want the spreadsheet of power measurements / calculations.

    • The current Android GUI is pretty ugly still

    • The Android API needs to be documented better

    • The Bluetooth API needs to be documented better

    • The mesh protocol is turned off for now, currently we only send packets one hop distant

    • No one has written an iOS app yet; -)

    For more details see the device software TODO or the (Android app TODO


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