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My main question is:
Is mutual signal range always determined by your body or are you in mutual signal range if your icon is in a node that is in mutual signal range. (aka, could you be in mutual signal range if you, as a technomancer, stayed behind in body and just followed the group through VR by controlling drones and having subscriptions to party comlinks?)
Mutual signal range is determined by the device your broadcasting from and the device your going to. If you have some broadcast path that gets you there you still qualify. The only problem a technomancer for example runs into is if they have a connection to acomlink and said link goes into a dead area they loose that connection (and potentially take dumpshock)
For direct Device to device interaction the Mutual Signal range is the lowest Signal of the two devices. So a signal 3 commlink and a signal 1 TM would need to be within Signal 1 range to be in mutual signal range.

Device Signal 1 <- Signal 1 range -> Device Signal 3

If you are not using direct device to device interaction, connecting via the Matrix, then the mutual signal range is the signal range of each device to the matrix.

Device Signal 1 <- Signal 1 range -> Matrix <- Signal 3 range -> Device Signal 3
Mutual Signal Range, strictly defined, means that the physical location of one device and the physical location of another device are within the least powerful range of the two devices. Eg. if you have a Commlink with Range 800m and a drone with range 200m, then both must be within 200m in order to be within Mutual Signal Range. In SR, Mutual Signal Range allows you to connect to a target device without going through any intermediary nodes. However, pretty much everything in the SR Matrix can be done by routing your signal through other nodes, as long as each node along the way is within Mutual Signal Range of each other. Thus, "signal hopping" can cause problems with range or circumstances change.

You're probably reading and thinking: "huh?" so I'll give some examples. Yes, a TM could leave his body behind and "ride" along with a drone or in the group's commlinks. If the members of your group do not remain in Mutual Signal Range with your meat body, then you must use intermediate nodes in order to connect to them. It is entirely up to the GM whether this intermediate path exists or not. However, as long as your group is staying in decently populated areas (not a dead zone) this shouldn't be a problem. Static or intermittent access zones could be interesting, though. The other problem comes with the target site. Corps that are decent about their security will put in features (signal jammers, wireless inhibiting walls) to stop wireless signals that originate from outside to get in. This means that the instant your teammate passes through the door and shuts it, you are dumped because your signal cannot penetrate the interior of the facility. This can be mitigated by your teammate having a really good Signal rating and some ECCM, but that is by no means perfect.

Bottom line: Yes you can "ride along" simply in VR and use a teammate to get within Signal range of things (drones, door locks, etc), but that sort of setup is relatively easy to defeat with Signal jamming/blocking devices. The most reliable way to provide Matrix support for your group is to put the physical source of your signal (your meat body) within close proximity of your targets.
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