Why Isn’t Your Hotspot Earning More?



So you’ve got your Heli­um Hotspot up and crank­ing and you’re all proud of your new deploy­ment. Well done you! 

As you cruise around Explor­er to see how much bet­ter your deploy­ment is than every­one else’s, you notice a neigh­bor who’s earn­ing more. What’s the deal? Are they cheat­ing? Do they have a mag­ic anten­na? How are they DOING that? Why aren’t YOU the one earn­ing the most?

Let’s walk through what mat­ters the most with Heli­um Hotspots, why oth­ers might be earn­ing more than you, and how you can *poten­tial­ly* increase your earn­ings. I’ll give it to you straight up front: You may not be able to fig­ure it out, but if you care­ful­ly go through what I sug­gest in this post, you’ll be much more like­ly to under­stand what’s going on.

First, the sin­gle most impor­tant aspect of a hotspot’s earn­ings is its loca­tion rel­a­tive to oth­er hotspots. It’s not the anten­na. It’s not the cables. It’s almost nev­er cheat­ing. It’s loca­tion. Even 100 meters can make an enor­mous dif­fer­ence. It’s not that the oth­ers total­ly don’t mat­ter, it’s just that loca­tion mat­ters so much.

A hotspot will earn the most if it can Wit­ness (has a clear Line of Sight to) many oth­er high trans­mit reward scale (.8 or bet­ter) hotspots. This sys­tem of rewards is called Proof of Cov­er­age, or PoC. It’s impor­tant you under­stand Proof of Cov­er­age and the earn­ings break­down, as it’s fun­da­men­tal to why you earn more (or less) than your neighbors.

Earnings Breakdown

Out of all the Heli­um dis­trib­uted per epoch (every 30 min­utes or so), your Hotspot gets reward­ed for 3 pos­si­ble events:

  1. Cre­at­ing a Challenge 
  2. Bea­con­ing that Chal­lenge (being the “Chal­lengee)
  3. Wit­ness­ing that Challenge

I’ve cov­ered how that works in a sep­a­rate post, here.

For now, let’s sep­a­rate the PoC (Proof of Cov­er­age) piece from the oth­er HNT dis­trib­uted to investors, the Con­sen­sus Group (aka Val­ida­tors) and Data Trans­fer, and take a look at just PoC as a pie chart:

In case you need num­bers, in terms of avail­able HNT for an earn­ing event (NOT all HNT dis­trib­uted per epoch) that’s:

  • 4% for the Challenge
  • 19% for the Beacon
  • 77% for the Witness.

This should make it clear that your hotspot’s earn­ings are most affect­ed by the qual­i­ty and quan­ti­ty of your wit­ness­es.

The Witness List: Quality & Quantity

If your and your neigh­bor’s hotspot have even slight dif­fer­ences in ele­va­tion or geog­ra­phy that change the Line of Sight access to oth­er hotspots, that can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty of your witnesses. 

Qual­i­ty and quan­ti­ty of Wit­ness­es are one of the biggest fac­tors in earn­ings differences. 

You’ll need to care­ful­ly com­pare their list of wit­ness­es to your list of wit­ness­es to see what the dif­fer­ences are. Just look­ing at a pic­ture of lots of sexy yel­low lines radi­at­ing out from a hotspot is NOT a care­ful com­par­i­son; get deep into Excel. 

Line of Sight: Slight Changes, Big Differences

The oth­er thing to check care­ful­ly is the Line of Sight you have as well as the oth­er hotspot. This can be dif­fi­cult and some­times down­right mis­lead­ing, as there’s no guar­an­tee a hotspot is *exact­ly* where they’ve asserted. 

For pri­va­cy rea­sons, many hotspot own­ers assert their loca­tion at the near­est inter­sec­tion of roads. Assert­ing your hotspot with­in about 150 meters does­n’t appear to car­ry any penal­ty in HNT earn­ings, though that’s NOT a guarantee.

That means you might think you’re mea­sur­ing the cor­rect line of sight, even though you’re not. Addi­tion­al­ly, there’s no require­ment to accu­rate­ly enter the ele­va­tion of a hotspot. The hotspot you’re try­ing to assess could be 30 sto­ries up a build­ing but report­ing as on the ground.

Even if you DO do care­ful research, you still may not have enough infor­ma­tion to accu­rate­ly assess why a neigh­bor’s hotspot is earn­ing more than yours. 

Antenna Choice (The Dark Side of High Gain)

What’s anoth­er fac­tor in earn­ings? Well, it’ll date this arti­cle a bit (this is good as long as PoCv10 applies), but under the PoCv10 rules, which I’ve writ­ten about here, if your anten­na OR that of your wit­ness­es is much high­er than the Heli­um RSSI/SNR guide­lines, that can inval­i­date your wit­ness earn­ings, and wit­ness earn­ings are what con­tribute the most.

Espe­cial­ly if you and many of your wit­ness­es have high­er gain anten­nas (any­thing above, say, 4 dBi), those gains add up, and can push you over the wrong side of the curve.

If you’re on the wrong (invalid) side of the RSSI/SNR curve, you don’t earn HNT. This is yet anoth­er rea­son to use the low­est dBi anten­na pos­si­ble; you’ve GOT to stay on the right (actu­al­ly, left) side of that line.

Unlike the first fac­tor, this does­n’t have much to do with the qual­i­ty and quan­ti­ty of your wit­ness­es, it’s more to do with the strength and clar­i­ty of your radio signal. 

So there it is: The most like­ly fac­tors for a dif­fer­ence in earn­ings between you and your high­er-earn­ing neigh­bor are usu­al­ly explain­able, even if you don’t like the explanation.

How to Win

I’ll close out with some advice: Com­par­i­son is the thief of joy. If you get too wrapped around the axle try­ing to “beat” oth­er hotspots, you’ll miss a lot of the joy that goes into doing the best job YOU can do, giv­en the con­straints YOU have. Hotspots that fol­low the guide­lines for pro­vid­ing WUPU cov­er­age will con­sis­tent­ly earn the most. That’s the key. Con­tribute unique and use­ful val­ue to the net­work and you’ll be rewarded.

Best of luck with it all, I’m stoked to grow the net­work with you! If you need help with increas­ing your HNT flow and you’re will­ing to have an open mind and work hard, I pro­vide con­sult­ing for Heli­um Hotspot Opti­miza­tion.

Rock on!


54 responses to “Why Isn’t Your Hotspot Earning More?”

  1. Mark Hallworth Avatar
    Mark Hallworth

    Thanks for the reply Nik will look into heli­um vision im still wait­ing for my lmr400 cable to arrive so at the moment its in the attic, its done bea­cons which have been wit­nessed so its get­ting out there, ive wit­nessed the odd one too, i sup­pose it will depend on what anten­na oth­er hotspots are using to get to me if there only on stock theyll not be able to reach me, im hop­ing going even high­er will improve things, all the best for new year. By the way im in the UK England.

  2. Mark Hallworth Avatar
    Mark Hallworth

    Thanks again Nik for the answers, is a very inter­est­ing sub­ject im real­ly into it now all the best for new year as well.

  3. Hi Nik,
    Love the blog. I upgrad­ed aer­i­al for my bob­cat from stan­dard to 5.8dbi, at a decent height (8mtrs) and con­nect­ed it to Eth­er­net. Pre­vi­ous­ly, I had stan­dard aer­i­al, locat­ed at bed­room win­dow (so only 180 degree view max) and con­nect­ed via WiFi. Num­ber of HNT has not increased which is a lit­tle annoy­ing. Any thoughts on this?

    Also, I didn’t chance the aer­i­al type on the app, as in I’ve left it as being 4dbi. Would that have any bear­ing on this? I’m earn­ing max 3 hnt in 30 days. Oth­er per­son in sand hex is earn­ing 10–15. Only dif­fer­ence is that he is maybe 2mtrs high­er. Thanks

  4. I’d change the gain in the app. How long has it been up where you’ve been able to com­pare the earnings/witness change? Also, what is line of sight like from your bed­room win­dow vs new location?

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