Meshtastic, What is the Hype All About?

Perhaps you’ve heard of or encountered Meshtastic, the new phenomenon sweeping through Europe. If not, it’s time to learn about it and get on board! Meshtastic revolutionizes communication with decentralized, long-range mesh networks. Operating on 868 MHz using LoRa devices, it’s ideal for remote areas and disaster zones. Utilising off-the-shelf LoRa hardware and open-source software it creates resilient networks, with each device acting as a node and router, transmitting data directly between devices for enhanced privacy and security. Its flexibility allows integration with various hardware platforms, fostering innovation. Meshtastic promises to transform communication in challenging environments with its low-cost, adaptable solutions.

Meshtastic Examples of Uses

  • Text message communication among groups in areas without cell or internet coverage.
  • Off-grid events where different kinds of data, like location information, weather data, movement detection, etc., needs to be collected and shared between nodes.
  • Encrypted and secure communications during natural disasters, power outages, and times of unrest and war.
  • Independent social networks for different causes.

Getting Started with Meshtastic

To get started with Meshtastic, you’ll need compatible hardware such as the Heltec LoRa V3 or the RAK4631, the “radio” device. These come delivered with simple antennas to get you started, but you may need a better external antenna for optimal performance. Load the Meshtastic firmware onto the device, which can be done directly from your browser at Before powering up the device, ensure the antenna is connected to avoid issues. Once powered up, use the Meshtastic iOS or Android app to communicate with the device and configure settings. Establish a mesh network by connecting multiple Meshtastic nodes within range. Keep your node active 24/7 using a good antenna for optimal network performance.

Popular Devices for Meshtastic

Below is a quick overview of three different devices suited for Meshtastic.

Heltec Heltec WiFi LoRa 32 V3

The Heltec WiFi LoRa 32 V3 is the most popular device, perfect for a first-time experience with Meshtastic. It comes as a complete unit with a small display and is easy to set up and get on the air. It has both WiFi and Bluetooth, in addition to the 868 MHz LoRa radio. Just connect your iOS or Android device to its USB C port, and you are ready to go. We recommend getting two of these right away so you can experiment by communicating between the devices.

RAK WisBlock with RAK4631

The RAK WisBlock Starter Kit with RAK4631 LoRa radio is a system that allows you to build different equipped devices depending on your unique usage situation. By prioritizing power efficiency and management, it is the perfect choice for solar-powered off-grid Meshtastic nodes, routers, and repeaters.

Heltec Capsule Sensor

The Heltec Capsule Sensor is a self-contained LoRa device with a built-in battery, antenna, and GPS receiver. It is intended to be used as a personal wearable for mesh networks around camps, with hunting teams, or other activities when the internet is not available.

Technical Hints

For true independence from the grid, consider adding a backup battery to your device. Some devices, like the RAK WisBlock with RAK4631 LoRa, even have separate battery power connectors and solar panel inputs, optimised for building self-sufficient nodes.

Always use a good antenna! With the low transmit power of LoRa nodes, around 100 mW, a good outdoor antenna with some gain will make a big difference. Keep the antenna feedline short, at these high frequency cable loss is high. For best results, and consider mounting the node hardware at the antenna for improved performance.

Dive into to explore all available options and settings for customisation.

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