Helium rewards: Why do different hotspots receive different rewards?

Helium is a decentralized wireless network and a new way to mine crypto. Anyone, including people without technical know-how or new to crypto, can help build “The People’s Network” and earn HNT (Helium Network Token). How? You need a Helium miner, help build network coverage, transmit device data, and start earning crypto. Sounds easy?

Chances are if you’re reading this article, you already know about Helium but are wondering why different hotspots perform better than others. Perhaps, you want to know how you can get your Helium miner to earn more rewards. The answer is not quite simple but let’s try and dig deeper.

How do different hotspots receive different rewards?

Helium hotspots that provide more coverage will be better rewarded. Where you place your hotspot and your setup (indoor or outdoor, near the window, or on the roof) matter when providing poor or better coverage.

With the data acquired over the last year, we can notice some patterns. Here are four scenarios that can impact the rewards of Helium hotspots.

Scenario 1: Your hotspot is deployed on the top of a roof or in a telecom antenna in a high topographic place which allows it to Prove the Coverage of many different hotspots in separated clusters.

Let’s define a cluster as a group of at least 14 hotspots that only witness each other. You likely will be a top performer (>0.50 HNT/DAY) in these conditions.

Scenario 2: Your hotspot is in a High place (eg: on top of a roof or telecom antenna, whichever you have access to) but the topography of the terrain is quite plain.

It means that the hotspot will participate in proof-of-coverage with almost all hotspots in the area, but won’t be able to be part of other clusters. You will perform above average (0.13–0.5 HNT/DAY) in these conditions.

Scenario 3: Your hotspot is indoor and the topography of the terrain is plain. Your hotspot won’t be able to witness all the hotspots of the cluster.

This means that you will perform slightly below average to average. On average, a cluster in this scenario will get between 0.08 to 0.13 HNT per day.

Scenario 4: Your hotspot is a lone wolf. If there are less than 14 hotspots within a radius of 20km, your hotspot will be a lone wolf. Here a hotspot will perform below average until there are more hotspots in your area.

When deploying your hotspots, you can use Hotspotty. On the app, click on “Layers,” and choose “Daily rewards (7d avg)” on the “Hotspots” drop list. Then plan to deploy your hotspot in areas where hotspots are performing well.

You can also turn on “Elevation contours,” which would give you a visual reference of whether you are sitting on the top of a hill or not.

Let’s list and analyze some good examples– from hotspots situated on top of a hill to one deployed in a plain area.

Example 1

This is a hotspot at the top of a hill, on a telecom tower. It is one of the most profitable hotspots in Portugal.

Skinny Felt Vulture

Location: Portugal
Hotspot Name: Skinny Felt Vulture
Type of setup: Outdoor || Top of a mountain || On a Tower.
Height:30 meter above ground level
Antenna: RAKwireless 8dbi Antena
Altitude AMSL: 1000m

Line-of-Sight testing:

This hotspot has great Line-of-Sight (LoS) towards Northwest and Southwest clusters. This means that it can witness a huge number of hotspots that are in those areas. However, we can see that this hotspot does not witness anything from the Southeast cluster.

Why isn’t this hotspot witnessing the southeast cluster?

Once again, the Line of Sight gives us the answer. As we can see, there’s an elevation (a hill) that is blocking the line of sight between this hotspot and the southeast cluster.

Why does this hotspot get such good rewards?

Well, the answer is simple. This hotspot is participating in many different clusters. Once this specific hotspot is on the top of a hill, it is capable of being part of many different clusters which leads to way above average HNT rewards.

With this said, here we can see the perfect example of the importance of LoS in order to get great results.

LoS is important if you want to get great results. We can also confirm the amazing Prove-of-Coverage that this hotspot is giving. It is a regular witness of 274 hotspots, which is above average compared to the hotspots around it, in lower places.

Example 2

Let’s analyze a hotspot that is at the top of a building but in a very plain area.

Mini Burgundy Toad

Location: Portugal
Hotspot Name: Mini Burgundy Toad
Type of setup: Outdoor || Top of a Building
Height:24 meter above ground level
Antenna: RAKwireless 5.8dbi Antenna
Altitude AMSL: 100m

This hotspot is in very plain terrain, in the middle of a cluster, with a good outdoor setup.

Since nearby hotspots are within a radius of 50km and can witness each other, this hotspot performs slightly above average. It also participates a bit more in Proof-of-Coverage events than indoor hotspots in this area.

This hotspot and its nearby hotspots are part of the same cluster. Therefore, they all perform similarly, making hotspots that are on the edge of the cluster more profitable when they participate in at least two more different clusters.

Conclusion

Helium hotspots that provide more coverage will be better rewarded.

Plan the location (top of a hill, in plain terrain) where you want to place your hotspot, as well as your setup (indoor or outdoor, near the window or on the roof) to provide the best coverage. Additionally, it is good practice to study the terrain using apps like Hotspotty, and choose the best hardware to equip your setup.

If you are struggling with your deployment or have any questions related to Helium Ecosystem, drop a message on the Helium community or the RAKstars Discord, we have a community of miners and experts that are happy to assist!

Help us cover the world with LoRaWAN®, one country at a time. Happy mining!

*Analysis was done on hotspots that have their location and set-up verified.

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