The constant question with Helium is, “How much will my hotspot earn?” While I’ve covered the strategy for maximizing that in other posts, it sure is nice when you have a tool that helps dial in your accuracy. HotspotRF aims to be one of those tools, and I sat down with the owner, Aidan Curry, to walk through how to use it.
Like Helium.Vision (walkthrough here), HotspotRF’s main offering is RF (for Radio Frequency) simulation.
Let’s say you just moved to Vegas, up in the nice part of town just north west of Summerlin. You want to know if putting a 21′ pole on top of your two story house will pay the mortgage, right?
One of the best ways to see if your location *might* work is to run an RF simulation to see how far those little LoRa packets will fly. You plug in some details, like your specific frequency (915 for us North American types), antenna gain, cable loss, height of antenna, and type of terrain, and HotspotRF will spit out an image of what your radio coverage should look like.
As with all simulations, it’s not a guarantee. HotspotRF makes it pretty easy to get a good idea of the coverage you have. The color coding of hotspots is super simple to understand, and the features under development, like estimated rewards and a recalculation of how your deployment will effect everyone around you, sound pretty rad. You can hover over a hotspot to see its earnings, which saves you from opening up a window over in Explorer to do the same thing.
As of April 19th (and it’s under active development), it’s not showing 3D or building effects within the system, although you can download a KMZ file and see terrain on Google Earth Pro.
In general, this seems to me to be most useful for folks looking to deploy a hotspot without doing a deep dive into Helium.
Here’s the walkthrough with Aidan. We had some tech difficulties right in the middle of it, so you’ll see a jump from a day to a night call. Enjoy this new tool!
Want to try it out for yourself? They’re offering 10 free credits to new users (at least for now, Aidan said they may dial that number down significantly), so give HotspotRF a shot today!