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Foundations of Relayed Hotspots (and how to fix ’em!)

I got a chance to sit down with the mighty @BFGNeil recent­ly and boy did I learn a ton! Neil is one of my fel­low Heli­um Dis­cord mod­er­a­tors and one of the most help­ful and knowl­edge­able mem­bers of the community. 

Neil’s built what I think is the sin­gle most use­ful tool for most Heli­um Hotspot own­ers at this point, which is HeliumStatus.io

The rea­son it’s so use­ful is that it gives you LIVE feed­back when you’re fix­ing the relay issue. This is unlike Heli­um Explor­er or the mobile app, which can be up to a week behind when it comes to report­ing accu­rate information.

We go through what relay is, how to fix it at a high lev­el, why it exists, and when it will be per­ma­nent­ly solved. Neil’s been fix­ing relay for folks on Dis­cord pret­ty much since it was a prob­lem. In fact, he was one of the first ones to see that it was and would be a prob­lem, and you could make the case that he’s the rea­son most of us know about relay; the sta­tus check­er he orig­i­nal­ly built has been added to both Explor­er and the app!

This lat­est ver­sion, HeliumStatus.io (you’ll need to sign up for an account, it’s free to use but it costs a small amount to mon­i­tor your hotspots) is the kind of sim­ple, direct tool that makes trou­bleshoot­ing a whole lot eas­i­er. It’s not mag­ic, and it won’t fix it for you (most of the time), but it’ll let you know if what you’re doing is working.

This con­ver­sa­tion isn’t just about fix­ing relay; there are plen­ty of guides for that. We talk about some of the struc­ture of the inter­net (pub­lic and local IPs), what it costs OTHER hotspots when yours is relayed, and the only rea­son you should ever turn off your hotspot. 

We talk about why you should nev­er use WiFi to con­nect your Hotspot to the Net­work, what seed nodes are, what gos­sip is, why you should fix relay (it’s not just for your earn­ings, ya self­ish bug­ger!), and the best thing you can do for the net­work once you’ve deployed a hotspot. Enjoy the convo!

Want to learn more about Heli­um? Here’s a great way to cov­er the whole ecosys­tem in about an hour! 

Wait, you want to dig in to Heli­um­Sta­tus? Ok, here’s what it looks like once you’ve signed in:

Enter in your hotspot and hit the Search Hotspots but­ton. From there, choose your hotspot. Remem­ber Thank­ful Caramel Quail? You can read about its set­up over in the Anato­my of a Hotspot post. When you hit the Search but­ton, it’ll bring up a bunch of options. Choose yours, and this is the next page. 

Off to the left is the menu. We go through all the options in the video, but it’s pret­ty straight­for­ward. When I checked TCQ, she was singing along fine (although the Mon­i­tor­ing is show­ing me a few things about the sta­bil­i­ty of the inter­net con­nec­tion down there, and that’s a wired eth­er­net connection!)

That’s it! I encour­age you to use the heck out of the tool and mon­i­tor your hotspots for at least a month just to see the enor­mous fluc­tu­a­tions in con­nec­tion; you are not alone in the Heli­um rodeo! If you have more ques­tions for Neil you can hit him on Dis­cord or his web­site, here. For now, sit tight, keep your hotspot con­nect­ed via Eth­er­net, and remem­ber: (almost) Nev­er unplug!

Rock on!

5 thoughts on “Foundations of Relayed Hotspots (and how to fix ’em!)”

  1. Hey Nik,

    quick ques­tion. When it comes to the dif­fer­ent mod­els of min­ers, are some more finicky when it comes to relayed sta­tus? Also, on your remote deploy­ments, do you have issues with relayed sta­tus? How do you remote troubleshoot?

    I was con­sid­er­ing buy­ing some OG min­ers (the white square with the green) for cheap. I have not read any issues with them for a remote deploy­ment. Any advice?

    Thanks

  2. The OGs are good, the RAKs are prob­a­bly the best min­ers as of 2021. Yep, off grids have issues with relay just like every­one else, it takes some work to sort out the net­work issues. You can most­ly remote trou­bleshoot although you’ll occa­sion­al­ly have to do site vis­its — that’s the nature of off grids.

  3. Hi Nik, Have you ever seen a Rak Goldspot min­er (from MNTD) cause a router to keep reboot­ing itself when con­nect­ed via an Eth­er­net cable? I’ve been using my min­er suc­cess­ful­ly with Wifi for about three weeks now, but as soon as I try hard-wiring it with a cable, my Nighthawk R6400v2 router just shuts itself down and reboots, repeat­ed­ly. I’ve tried two dif­fer­ent Cat 6 Eth­er­net cables and I’ve tried two dif­fer­ent jacks in the back of the router. All signs are point­ing to the fact the my router is just junk, but I was just won­der­ing if there is any­thing else you can think of that I could try first.

  4. Hi Nik, I’m a big fan of what you do. This tool is pret­ty awe­some, thank you for shar­ing. I’m curi­ous about what a typ­i­cal ping laten­cy range might be? Mine is show­ing about 170ms. I’m also real­ly curi­ous about being con­nect­ed eth­er­net vs good wifi. Do you have any­thing you can link me cov­er­ing specifics? Or is eth­er­net just pre­ferred because it’s gen­er­al­ly more sta­ble? Thanks for your time man, mucho appreciato

  5. I think Neil was say­ing US hotspots can sub­tract 100ms or so. I’m guess­ing 170 is fine. Eth­er­net cable is just more sta­ble than WiFi; Neil talks about it in the video. Rock on!

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