While using the blockchain network such as Bitcoin blockchain, the validity of any transaction can be verified by using the process of Mining. Usually, the radio technology is used to carry out HNT minting. This is done by a wireless device normally referred as hotspot or helium miner. As a result, the miners are awarded with HNT tokens for their services.
By using different hardware devices such as application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) or central processing units (CPUs) a number of different cryptocurrencies can be mined by the miners. In addition to that, miners can also mine the cryptocurrency of their choice using smartphones.
Without depending on expensive infrastructural requirement, mining can be carried out conveniently suing decentralized wireless network. This has been become possible because of the helium network that has permitted the nodes to behave similar to the hotspot devices.
Here is a detailed guide article that will help the readers to learn about helium mining, helium ecosystem, helium hotspot miner and the working of the helium network system.
What is Helium Network?
A diverging network that is composed of hotspots offering the LoRaWAN-capable Internet of Things (IoT) devices is referred to as Helium. This is basically a wireless service that is accessible to the citizens living in any part of the world due to its ability to travel over a long range.
LoRaWAN is the acronym used for Long Range Wide Area Network. It has been made possible because of LoRaWAN protocol that the IoT devices are able to communicate with each other using the long-range property.
Moreover, the smart gadgets that can be used to exchange data by connecting to a network are termed as IoT devices. These devices are capable of providing a connectivity range more comprehensive than the usual Wi-Fi networks.
In order to encourage the development of authentic decentralized wireless networks, the helium blockchain came into being. The creation of helium helped the people in managing a wireless IoT network on their own normally referred as hotspot.
A hotspot is a unique kind of radio router that can carried anywhere easily. These routers provide a much better connectivity then the traditional Wi-Fi systems being the plug and play devices.
In order to build The People’s Network, miners usually use hotspots. It is a wireless network that can be accessed over long ranges and do not require much power for the provision of network coverage.
In exchange the miners may receive HNT, that is the native cryptocurrency of the helium blockchain network. The third-party manufacturers are now allowed by the helium community that they can sell the helium hotspot range.
The helium blockchain uses the proof of coverage (PoC) work algorithm. It is done in order to make sure that the location and the coverage of the wireless network that is being generated from it is correctly described by the hotspots. The mining process is usually carried out using the radio waves.
However, for acting as a witness to the performance of the peers, for completing the challenges of the PoC and for sharing the data over the device the rewards are given to the hotspots. The Helium Network Explorer is the most important tool that helps to look for the data that is linked with PoC.
The reasons that helium network should be chose over the traditional internet service providers may include reasonable and affordable access to internet globally, confirmed encryption of helium and it being a highly secured network.
In addition to that, the charges that are imposed by the cellular are not be paid in this case. These charges may include the price of some extra hardware devices such as SIM card or any overage fee etc. However, to start using the helium network, the users have to only pay charges for the data that is required for the connection of their devices via Helium Console.
What is Proof of Coverage Protocol?
The earning of the miners or hotspots depend on the data that is transferred by the miner. However, the hotspots have to go through certain tests and pass them in order to earn through the proof of coverage. Moreover, to show the other hotspots that their coverage is being recorded, the miners usually keep on challenging them using the radio waves.
The quality of the network is recorded on the blockchain in this way and the proof of coverage is used to determine the quality of the network. Usually there are three important roles that are to be provided by the proof of coverage protocol. These roles are mentioned below.
- Challenger: The hotspot that normally provides the proof of coverage challenge to others. These hotspots are normally the ones who validate the challenges.
- Challengee: The miners who are targeted during the challenge. They are also referred as beaconers in the mining process.
- Witness: When the data packets are transmitted, these hotspots transmit them further. These are the ones that are present real close to the transmitter.
What is a Helium Miner?
Usually, wireless network coverage is provided to the helium miners through the helium network by using the special hardware devices known as hotspots. The users can become miners on the helium network by acquiring or construction of a hotspot that is compliant with WHIP.
Moreover, in correspondence to the density of other miners that are operating in that respective region, they can also stake a token deposit.
Moreover, WHIP that is a helium wireless protocol that provides the feasibility of independent provider network instead of a single coordinator can also be used as a method of transfer in two directions between the internet and the wireless device in addition to the blockchain protocol.
In order to verify for the hotspots that the data over the devices has been sent to the location that was intended and that for the services they provide, the miners should be compensated the internet applications are responsible. These applications use the data from the devices that are encrypted via the miners known as routers.
Types of Hotspots
There are normally three types of hotspots known that are mentioned below.
- Full Hotspots
These are the types of hotspots where the full copy of the HNT blockchain is maintained. Moreover, for all kinds of participation activities that may include the proof of coverage too, the miners then receive the rewards.
- Light Hotspots
These are the types of hotspots that operate using the Light Hotspot software. By using these hotspots, the validators can participate in the activity as a full hotspot. It does not require them to pay the additional price that is needed for keeping the local copy of a blockchain. As a result, they get data transfer activities and proof of coverage as a reward.
- Data-only Hotspots
The information about helium blockchain can be attained by using these hotspots similar to the light hotspots. But the miners using the data-only hotspots get the data transfer activities only as a reward.
Working of Helium Mining
Helium mining does not involve the use of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) or central processing units (CPUs) to carry out the mining process, rather it uses the radio technology for this purpose.
Moreover, in order to create a wireless network that provides more reliability than any network that any established traditional wireless service provides, the blockchain technology may also be used for mining.
The wireless coverage over a long range is provided by the miners or helium hotspots. These miners perform this function using special kind of devices know as LoRaWAN transmitters. The helium tokens can be earned in return when the People’s Network coverage will be mined and expanded using the required hotspots. This helps the miners in gaining HNT.
The amount of data that is transferred by the miner will decide the amount of reward that he will be receiving. The miners will be paid more when they will be transferring more amount of data. Moreover, in order to verify the locations of the hotspots certain proof of coverage tests are randomly assigned by the network on its own.
However, to communicate the payloads to all the hotspots that exist nearby for the participation in the proof of coverage be observed and verified, certain challenges or directives are given to the hotspots by the validators. The term beacon is also used to refer to the difficulties that are faced in the way of mining.
The HNT miners that do not have any neighbors are usually paid less as they can only mine HNT for the purpose of transferring the data and the beacons are not made sure by them. in order to send the data to the internet, the data credits (DCs) are required by all the devices that are compatible.
In order to achieve a burn and mint equilibrium (BME), the DCs are created by burning the HNT. This results in the reduction of supply of the HNT in the market.
Using the BME model, tokens are used as a form of payment that confirms the ownership of the buyer. However, if the clients want to get any service they usually do not pay the seller directly, rather they have to burn the tokens for that.
Method to Set Up a Helium Miner
The prerequisites to set up a helium miner includes a router, smartphones, cables, antenna with its location specified and a hotspot miner.
However, in order to find out the best possible helium miner, the geographical region in which one is residing, and the position of the antennas play a very important role. Here are some important steps that will help the miners in setting up the mining apparatus properly.
- Downloading and Setting Up the Helium Application
Using any kind of smartphone, the android or the iOS, the very first step required is to download the helium application. After doing it successfully, the user has to set up his account. This will result in the generation of the helium wallet. It can then be used by the user for storing their important information.
In order to create a back up for the helium wallet, a seed phrase of 12 words will be generated by an application. Moreover, the user will also be encouraged for the creation of a pin consisting of 6 digits. This pin will be an additional security measure that will help the user to secure his account every time he logs into it.
- Addition of a Helium Miner
The second step is the addition of the helium miner such as RAK Hotspot Miner to the application. For this purpose, the user has to find out the plus (+) symbol. Once the user chooses a miner, it has to be then plugged in for operating properly. The confirmation of its proper working is done by the small red light that will shine.
The next step is to pair it via Bluetooth. This is done by pressing a button that is present at the back of the device. On the other hand, the helium application has the option of available network settings where one can also choose the Wi-Fi settings.
- Selection of Hotspot, verification of Location and Setting Up Antenna
In the final step, the miner that is chosen will appear in the list. The user has to select the option of “Hotspot” to continue the mining procedure further. Then the option for the addition of the hotspot will appear on the screen. By selecting it, the hotspot will be added. The location of the hotspot has to be verified then and the antenna has to be configured.
The manufacturers pay for the first attempt, and it is usually free for the users. However, for the next assertions in the future, the users are made to pay a certain transaction fees. In case, one is not sure about the selection of the location of hotspot, he can choose the “Skip” option.
Then select the “Continue” option if the user is ready to proceed. Using the application in the mobile, one can view the hotspot that he has added and can be managed easily using the mobile application.
Optimization of Helium Mining
It is very important for the miners to optimize the activity of their apparatus so that they can earn more HNT tokens. Here are certain factors that can help the miners in maximizing the efficiency of their mining devices.
Height is an important factor that would decide the performance of the hotspots. The antennas that are mounted higher will be able to send the radio waves to a farther distance and thus improving the efficiency of mining.
It is important for the miners to understand that all antennas are not the same. Their strength, shapes and sizes may differ accordingly. The gain of the antenna is important to be noted before choosing one. Moreover, it is important to pair the antenna with a correct cable.
The miners in the helium network are rewarded more if they provide more coverage. The number of the HNT tokens earned by one will increase if he interacts largely with the network. This also helps in making the network stronger.
Is Helium Mining Worth It?
Keeping the volatility of the crypto market in consideration, one cannot be sure about any situation that has been predicted in the past. In order to create decentralized wireless networks to send signals, to prove the challenges of coverage and to execute the data transfer for a device, helium hotspots can be used conveniently.
After the completion of their tasks successfully, the miners of helium are then awarded data credits that are presented in the form of HNT tokens. But the geographical region where one is living in and the angle that is set up for the antenna are the important parameters that decide the awards for the miners.
The radio frequency will be able to travel over more distance if the antennas are set at a height. Therefore, if one mounts the antenna at higher places, it will increase the efficiency of the mining procedure and it will then help the miners in earning more HNT tokens.
However, it should be kept in mind that if one resides in a hilly area, he may not be able to conduct the mining process properly and cannot get the results that he desires. And as it is always said that to avoid any heavy loss in the future, the user should think multiple times before investing in any kind of project.
Helium mining has enabled the users to earn by integrating with the Helium network. There are a number of parameters that decide the earning rate of a user that may include the budget, the geographical presence and the choice of antenna made initially.
Helium mining also helps the users to earn income passively when the crypto market faces a downtrend. The experts and the professionals are still keen to look upon the new changes that will be brought by the network with the further advancement in technology and cellular networks.