Into Tomorrow Listener John in Bossier City, Louisiana listens on 710 KEEL asked us about staying on the grid when off the grid:
I heard something the other day about downloading a radio app to my phone that I could never lose or it would always be there if we lost communication some other way. I was wondering if you were familiar with that because I never heard it again and haven’t found it online.
John, your cellphone has just a few ways of interacting with the world, there’s probably a jack of some kind, that won’t help you very much, a cellular radio and probably a WiFi and bluetooth chip.
Of those, the cellular radio is by far the one that will keep you connected over the longest distances, the theoretical maximum can be as much as 45 miles, so that will easily be the most likely way to keep you connected. If that fails, WiFi has the second best range, so apps that let you make VoIP over WiFi would work if you’re in range of a network.
However, it sounds like what you’re looking for is a backup to those, and for that you’d need access to hardware other than what your phone already provides, so you may have heard about goTenna. It connects via bluetooth to the phone but works as it’s own antenna with a theoretical range of around 50 miles without needing to use cellphone towers at all.
You will need another goTenna owner to be able to communicate, though, which may be a problem since they’re only available for pre-order right now, just as they were in November 2014, when we originally discussed them during CES Unveiled. They’re still officially starting to ship in the “Summer of 2015.”