In this article, we will be discussing the optimum Helium Hotspot density along with some other factors that play a big role in earnings. Starting from the worst-case scenario and working our way to the most ideal setup.
This is the worst possible setup for a Helium Hotspot, too far from any other Hotspot to get a witness. The whole point of the Helium network is to provide new coverage to the Network. Helium encourages this by utilizing a unique reward algorithm, proof-of-coverage, which includes the witnessing of beacons from surrounding Hotspots. Without surrounding Hotspots, there is no witness, and thus, no rewards. If you find yourself in this scenario – maybe you already ordered the Hotspot, or you moved to a new location – you still have a couple options.
- Get more Hotspots – Build the network in your area! If you have some people in your area that you know and trust, ask them to let you leave a Hotspot there. (Maybe consider paying them for the help)
- Sell your Hotspot – Many people are just now getting into Helium, sell them your miner! You can do this on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or even within the Helium Facebook groups. Just be sure to do your due diligence and properly vet the purchasing party so you don’t fall victim to a scam.
Keep in mind, after the Light Hotspot update there will be no more rewards given to Hotspots for creating challenges (it will now go to the validators).
Over-Saturated Area (1500+ Hotspots)
New York City, San Fransico, Chicago…
If you live in the heart of a massive city, there’s a good chance the area is already over-saturated and thus has greatly reduced transmit scales all around. The transmit scale quite simply represents the percentage of normal rewards that get sent out by the Hotspot. As you probably already know, the more Hotspots witness a single beacon, the lower the rewards. Well, when a thousand Hotspots in Downtown Chicago are in range of a beaconing Hotspot that already has a low transmit scale, you can guess the reward outcome… Very low.
You can tell just by looking at the map that the entire area is scaled down due to the red color of the hex insight.
To learn more about hexes and how they determine the transmit scale, take a look at our hex insights via the Portal.
It used to be advisable to get a low dBi antenna and try to maximize the witnesses in range, which can still be your best bet, but now we have a new possible solution. Try to get it as high as possible with a long-range antenna (6dBi or above) and witness Hotspots further away that aren’t all fighting over the same beacons. As you can see, the hotspots with the lowest reward scales are all centrally located and the reward scales start to go up the farther out you get. Targeting these higher reward scale Hotspots could boost your earnings.
Town or City Outskirts (1-25 witnesses)
It seems counterintuitive, but once you fully understand the reward structure it actually makes sense. It is more profitable to have a Hotspot in a small town/city with 10-20 potential witnesses than in a large city with thousands. This is mostly due to the reward split associated with dozens of witnesses but the reduced transmit scale is what really makes it less profitable than a town/small city when factored together.
The name of the game in Helium profitably is connecting to Hotspots that don’t connect to many themselves. They will have the highest payout per beacon and can even pay as much as 10-20x more per witness compared to the most oversaturated areas. Keep in mind that we are showing best-case scenarios for these location types so don’t get discouraged if your results are lower than these examples.
Medium Size City (20-50 witnesses)
If you look at our Portal in your area and notice a decent amount of Hotspots that are mostly green (max transmit scale) and you have access to a good location (central to these Hotspots, at least 25 feet up) then you have an ideal setup for profitability. As we touched on earlier, the best way to maximize rewards is to connect to Hotspots with high transmit scales and preferably ones that don’t get witnessed more than 8 times on average. The best way to accomplish this is being in the perfect spot first of all, but also getting your Hotspot high enough to connect to some of those harder-to-reach Hotspots.
This is a perfect example of a Hotspot that not only is in an ideal location (proximal to a healthy number of green Hotspots) but also 52m high, which allows the Hotspot to connect to several Hotspots that don’t get witnessed very much (often due to poor installation such as in someone’s house and not outside). This perfect storm of location and height allows this Hotspot, in particular, to earn over $400 in just 30 days. (At the time of this article, HNT is worth $15)
Check out the location of this Hotspot here if you’d like to dive deeper into this particular install to see how they are able to earn over $400 this month.
As you can see, this is one big Goldilocks scenario. Too cold with no Hotspots around, too hot with hundreds of hotspots in the same area, and just right somewhere in between. As always, the higher the Hotspot the better, but this just goes to show how important your location is in terms of rewards.
As far as steps to take for the future, you’d be better off leaving your Hotspot in a small town with just a few miners in hopes that more will come online in your area than leaving it in a city that will only get more populated. Over time, the rewards in a populated city will go down, and rewards in a small town will eventually go up.
To view our Portal and get an idea if your location is in an ideal location, click here. We offer simulations at around 1$ each that can give you an accurate estimation of your rewards based on any location, height, and antenna.
Check out our blog post on How to Pick a Good Location for more information on this topic.