HIP 17 – Why Are You Getting Scaled?

It’s one of the most confusing aspects of Helium; you put up your hotspot in an “empty” res 8 hex, but you still get your transmit rewards scaled. Why is that, and what can you do about it?

First, let’s talk about “transmit reward scaling”. What is it? Let’s take it straight from the Github proposal:

[…]for each transmit, the transmitting hotspot’s reward will be based on the number of witnesses and then scaled by its own transmit reward scale.

For witnesses, they will receive a portion of reward based on the number of witnesses scaled by the transmitter’s reward scale. 

Translation –>

When you beacon, any reward “assigned” to you for that beacon will be multiplied by your transmit reward scale. If you have a transmit reward scale of .5, all the rewards you get for beaconing will be cut in half. (Your Reward) x (0.5) = 50% of your rewards.

When you witness, any reward assigned to your hotspot is scaled by the transmitter’s reward scale. That means if you witness a hotspot’s beacon, but that hotspot has a transmit reward scale of .5, your witness reward will be cut in half. (Your Reward) x (0.5) = 50% of your rewards.

But how the heck is the rewards scale calculated? Which resolution should you look at? Here’s the vid:

What’s the short version for readers?

  • Your reward scale is a function of hotspot density assessed at different scales (resolutions).
  • Helium assesses your rewards scale at EVERY resolution.
  • The transmit reward scale calculation is a “waterfall”, affecting every resolution from 4-10.
  • You can be in your own res 8, or res 7 but still be in an overcrowded res 4 and get scaled. See the video for an example.
  • Sometimes the rewards don’t make sense. This can usually be explained by blockchain lag, OR it’s likely that Helium is doing some behind-the-scenes math to combat gaming.

Groundwork for Understanding HIP17 – Hexes & Siblings

Let’s start with the idea of siblings. At any resolution size, a sibling is any hex sharing a side with your hex. Every hexagon has 6 sides and therefore 6 sibling hexes.

A sibling is just one of 3 chain variables, or “chain vars” that the Helium blockchain uses to determine transmit reward scaling at any resolution size.

The chain variables are:

  • Density Target – How many hotspots can be in a hex WITHOUT any other hotspots around
  • Density Max – The most number of hotspots you can have in your hex, even if the Sibling/Density Target variables are met
  • Siblings – The number of siblings that need to meet the Density Target before you can move to Density Max

For example, at resolution 8 (res 8), the chain vars are 2, 1, 4. Yes, it’s confusing. No, I didn’t write it. Yes, I can explain it. I’ll go in order of the chain vars.

  • 2 refers to the number of siblings that will need to have the Density Target in them in order for your hex to have up to the Density Max before being scaled.
  • 1 is the Density Target, or the number of hotspots per hex Helium allows IF the hotspot had no other hotspots nearby.
  • 4 is the Density Max, which is the maximum number of hotspots you can have in a hex once conditions are met (Number of Siblings each having the Density Target.)

That means if you’re in a res 8 hex in the middle of the desert with no one around you, you can only have 1 hotspot per hex before you get TRS’d (Transmit Reward Scale). If you had 2 hotspots in your hex, your TRS would be 0.5, or 50%.

If you’re in a res 8 in the city where it’s a little more crowded, and you have at least 2 siblings that ALSO have 1 hotspot in them, then you begin to be able to add more hotspots, up to 4 hotspots in your hex before getting TRS’d.

The same thing applies at every resolution. Once you get it, it’ll make a lot more sense.

The last thing to remind you of is that you’ll frequently see wonky numbers that won’t make sense. Sometimes those are outdated numbers that just take a few days to drop off. Sometimes that’s a result of the “children” hexes affecting the area covered (more on that in the HeliumVision Master Class, which you should totally sign up for.)

At the end of the day, even an 8 year old child could look at New York City and know it’s overcrowded, or Basalt, Colorado and know it’s underpopulated. While this is a little bit of rocket science (the guy who wrote it now works on rockets), the intent is one of common sense: There is no benefit to the network for overcrowded areas.

That’s really all you have to remember. Best of luck with your deployments, and if you need help going deeper or optimizing your Helium hotspot, consider hiring me.

Rock on!

55 thoughts on “HIP 17 – Why Are You Getting Scaled?”

  1. Hi Nik, thanks for the write up. It gives me a better understanding of how to look at the different hex resolutions. I am still learning so bear with me… I am looking at a hex that has 11 beacons of which six are off-line, and the Helium Explorer shows it scaled at 0.63. Not sure why the six are off-line, but I believe that non are optimized (external antennas) installations. If we install an antenna that is significantly higher than the rest, (22 story roof with unobstructed views) will we end up being scaled along with the rest?
    Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi David, yep, you’ll get scaled with the rest. As of June 2021, no consideration is given to the elevation of an individual hotspot placement. If you’re seeing 11 hotspots in a res 8 hex, I’d look for another hex. 🙂

  3. Hi Nik, thanks for your recommendation. I may have missed it in the material, but, will I also be scaled if I place a hotspot in a hexagon with another hotspot that is offline? Thanks again.

  4. Good question, I’m not sure of the answer. I know that offline hotspots fall off the map within a few days, so as long as they don’t come back online, you’re safe in the long run.

  5. Hi Nik,
    great to have you, I appreciate your efforts and expertise!
    So sometimes scaling is not as it should be, depending of Helium interest for the Network spread…There is not much we can hold on to!?
    Allso in the answer you wrote, there are a few in my area of interest offline for more than 4months and still red approx 174148 blocks behind ( pls.see 881e130d43fffff)… Can you get from Helium staff more clear instructions about positioning and scaling, and what make hotspot losing scaling from 1 to 0,67 if it is alone in res 7 hexagon like there are 2 (see hex 881e130d65fffff) vs. this hex 881e130dc9fffff?! Thak you in advance for explaining us this corelations and unlogical?!

  6. Hi again Natko to touch base on your question, offline miners could be a multitude of things. Also reward scaling changes can take some time to load (ex: if you turn a miner off it will take up to two days for it to not show on the explorer map). If they have been offline for more than 3+ months chances are they will not come back online (at least in your area) usually this is because of EMRIT always having to re-assert hotspots to new areas/customers. It sounds like you are ready for a Standard Helium Strategy & Placement Optimization, this is where we would go over every aspect of the Helium Network that you are inquiring upon. Please fill out this form if you are interested in a session. https://gristleking.com/placement-assessment/

  7. Hi Natko, interesting re. the offline ones. I always look for placement locations that are unequivocally awesome, but it’s reasonable to want to put a miner in a place where the offline ones aren’t providing coverage. I don’t think Helium will give much more clarity on positioning and scaling, as those are the most easily “gamed” aspects right now. I’d aim (overall) for placements that offer clear benefit to the network. “If there’s any doubt, there is no doubt.” (One of my favorite movie lines.)

  8. John Frederick

    Hello Nik. Great video. But something that wasn’t mentioned was elevation. Unless I missed it. Let’s say I have an antenna at the top of a 20 story building and someone else has a hotspot transmitting from the 5th floor of the same building. There’s this next to a window. I’m obviously the one on top of the roof with a greater potential of reaching other hotspots. Now let’s assume that these same two hotspots are the only two in the hexagon. Are you saying I will share half of everything I get with the guy on the fifth floor?

  9. Yep, any hotspot in the same res 8 hex as you will cut your earnings unless the sibling requirements are filled. What will *probably* happen is that if your HS is providing far better coverage, the split will reward you more favorably over time. That’s just my guess (and how I’d tweak the network if I was king).

  10. thanks for this article, ive finally started to understand how this is working..imo this explanation should be the official placement instructions as there is so much false info on discord about placement.

  11. I have an issue. I got scaled down from 1 to .83. I really need help, please.. I have just 2 hotspots in hex8 with at least 2 siblings so the max would be 4 it doesn’t make sense. Please can someone have a look? I’m willing to pay

  12. Well i thought I understood it but i got scaled when 2 more HS’s moved into my res 8 , 1 of them in my res10 and 9. (my res 8 has 2 siblings)
    so my HS and the 1 in the same res 10 both became 0.5 but the 3rd 1 in the same res 8 but different res 9 was 1.0….. i moved my placement out of the res 10 and out of the same res 9 as the other 0.5 HS and now all 3 of us in the res 8 are 0.67 and not 1.0
    heres a link to the discord post i made which includes an image of the HS’s
    Im wondering if i need to place my HS in the res 8 above me but that would ‘place’ my HS 180m away from its true location, can i place it that far away?
    Any help would be gratefully received.

  13. Im not in res 10, I moved my placement out of the res 10 (as mentioned), and my scale went up from 0.5 to 0.67.
    As far as i can tell, from reading your instructions and hip 17 I have fullfilled the criteria so cant understand why still scaled ?
    Im obviously getting something wrong but just cant see it.
    Thanks for the offer of consulting services, and if i was starting from scratch and wanted help with more than just this issue i may have been interested, however that package is more than i am needing atm.
    i can only move my HS maybe 1 or 2 res 10 hexes, as such, it will cost me $20 to try 2 new locations around my true location.
    Thank you again for this article and advice.

  14. Hi Pcste, there’s a nuance to HIP17 I didn’t understand until recently that explains this. Basically, you don’t jump immediately from density target (in the case of res 8 it’s 1) to density max. It scales up according to *how many* siblings are filled. If you have 2 siblings meeting the density target, you can have 2 in your hex. If you have 3 siblings meeting the density target, you can 3. 4 siblings = up to 4 in yours, and then 4 is the max.

    So if you had 5 siblings meeting the density target at res 8, you could still only have 4 in yours.

    That pattern holds at every other res level up to res 4, where there’s a slight (and more or less inconsequential) change.

    As far as how far away can you “mis-assert”, the official line is that your location gets locked to the middle of the res 12 you assert it in. In practice, gamers have gotten away with far more, but that’s…gaming.

  15. Dick Headstrong

    Thanks for everything.
    This is an unrelated question that I wasn’t sure where to ask it. I’ve got one hotspot up and running in an enclosure with ethernet and POE. I have a second miner (SenseCap M1) I also want to move outside but would be using WIFI (because my friend at this location doesn’t have wired internet). Do indoor units use the LoRan antenna to access the wifi connection as well or is it a separate internal antenna? Or would I need to purchase a separate WIFI module which had the place to add a wifi antenna?

    There are no additional ports on the sensecap to plug other external antennas into. The enclosure has many ports for attaching a variety of external antennas. If it’s a small internal antenna, I’m sure it would be getting blocked to some degree by the aluminum enclosure. Also, anyone know what the likelihood of overheating an indoor miner like this encased in a metal enclosure during the summer?

    I’m thinking about getting the consultation, I just wish there was another price entry point. $500 seems kind of steep for just 2 or 3 miners. Although to be fair, I’ve probably leached at least $100-$200 worth of info just from your free advice, so I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that I’m sure others besides myself would come over to the paying side if there were other options. In fact, if you posted some of your public crypto or helium addresses, I would throw some coins in one of your wallets, right now.

  16. Hi Dick, the WiFi antenna and the LoRa antenna are separate things; they use different frequencies. All Hotspots that I know about have both. The WiFi antennas provide a less stable connection than an ethernet cable, to greater and lesser degrees depending on brand. For the consult price, it is what it is. I provide everything free here on the blog, so the consultation is for those folks who value their time and don’t want to go through every post and video I’ve ever made. There’s something weird about providing an address for donations that I just don’t like; feels too much like I’m putting some kind of bullshit obligation on people. I’d rather keep it clean. If you want a customized walkthrough for your specific situation from an expert, you pay. For everything else, it’s free.

  17. Dick Headstrong

    This is off topic but very important. Someone stole my hotspot. I think it might be related to sitebot. But the ownership of my hotspot was transferred without my permission to this account 14B6r9xZbsVrjMgyiE8kahSWCxruAhYWLwWYMEwh3Kb636mti1V
    The only transaction I did was with sitebot to “claim” my hotspot on their site to get full site amenities. I donated 0.1 HNT . Otherwise I made no transactions with my wallet or account.

    I will pay you to help me resolve this and I think it might be a topic to be covered in your blogs.

  18. Dick Headstrong

    Just read your response to my earlier comment.
    Totally respect the thing about putting your address out for donations.
    I’d still like to give you something for the help you’ve already given, but really need some help on this stolen hotspot issue.
    Name a price and I will probably pay it. If it’s the whole $500, I have one issue.

    How do you do an optimization in 30 days when you say that’s the minimum scale for assessing profits??
    You would have to wait at least 60 days before even comparing 2 strategies?
    Thanks Again,

  19. Hi Dick, the Optimization is all about getting you set up in the right way. Once we go through how to do it, you can monitor and change things yourself confidently. The 30 day support window is there just in case you have any questions that come up post-consult; I can usually save you a ton of time in finding an answer.

  20. Hey Nik, love the website, you’re awesome. A couple of my rak miners finished syncing several hours ago but still no activity (challenges, witnesses, etc) and also noticed my transmit scale says N/A on helium explorer. Should I just give it more time? Or do you suggest powering off and back on? Any other troubleshooting solutions? Thanks!

  21. Hi Kgp, give it more time. If they just finished syncing they’ll probably beacon sometime in the next 24 hours. I’d wait 2 days before doing anything.

  22. Hi Nik, I hope you are doing well. Quick question- can we select who we witness to not have our rewards scaled down? We have a site that has great elevation, and the simulation shows 637 witnesses, but nearby hotspots ratings are mostly less than 1.00. I was shocked at the $HNT estimates and want to know if we can select who we witness. Thanks in advance!

  23. Hi David, nope, you don’t get to pick who you witness. You *could* try to manage that with directional antennas or shielding, but not worth it; I mean, why not be able to witness as many beacons as possible?

  24. Hey Nik, we simulated a site that has excellent elevation – 300+ feet, the only live miner in hex (one hotspot turned off for over 6 mo.), a 3dbi antenna, witnessing 637 hotspots at 175% percentile. According to HotspotRF we will only be rewarded 9 $HNT a week. Shouldn’t the site be earning maximum rewards because we have taken the time to optimize the installation? I understand the People’s Network needs the best coverage for IoT senors to transfer their data, however, if we are not able to earn a decent amount of $HNT, then the incentive of deploying hotspos goes away. There should be an option to not witness hotspots that are ridiculously scaled to near zero earnings because they are stepping all over each other. I’m just saying. Sorry for the rant! LOL

  25. It’s a good point, though you have to imagine all those hotspots you’re earning off of are earning even less. :). Also, simulations are just simulations, they’re not real. HotspotRF has said they’re only accurate 60% of the time, +/- 20%. That’s because it’s bloody hard to predict the earnings on a network growing so rapidly. Right now (12Sep), anything over 1 HNT/day is still pretty good.

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  28. I am waiting on 18 bobcat hotspots that are spaced about 2 weeks apart my 20 week ship estimation date will be mid oct give or take:/ But I will find the money for the help you have been a life saver with your free info and I might as well get it right the first time. Thank you Brother!

  29. Hey Nik! Great post as always. I would like to move my hotspot to a new location. Explorer shows that hex location, and some surrounding sibling hex’s to have a hotspot. The weird thing is that all of these hotspots (4) in total across (3) Hexes, are not beconing, witnessing, or doing anything. Will my hotspot still be scaled even though they are inactive but still shown “online”?

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  32. Hi,
    I have 2 others in my hex 8, and my reward scale is now 0.26.
    Can i move my location on the app more than 110 meters but less than 150 meters in order to get into a new hex? Hotspotty says if i do that my rewards and the other two hotspots near me will go up to 0.77. Will this work or is roughly 120m too far to fake my location away from me?

  33. We’ll see how sensitive PoCv11 is. Technically you shouldn’t do this, but practically, well, lots of people misassert to “clear” a hex.

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  35. Hey Nik, any guidance regarding the choice between
    A. A way overcrowded urban area (Vancouver) with heavy scaling (0.2) but many many witnesses, or
    B. Zero scaling in a rural area with at most 3 witnesses (one old them being a “hotspot relay”?
    Option B will be helping the network expand, but I don’t expect there to be a lot of data transfer in the area.

  36. Mark Liccardello

    Thx for your info & videos! I HAVE A TERRIBLE witness reward units # 17. Is this because another hotspot moved into my hex? I am thinking I can reassert the hotspot 535 meters without moving the hotspot… not sure
    Thx for your input…

  37. I am very new to this so pardon the elementary question. Helium exporer is showing no other hotspots nearby. How should I expect my helium to work? Is it ideal to not have other hotspots or do we want more nearby?

  38. Hi Ben, you want enough local Hotspots to reliably “Beacon” and “Witness”. Ideally you’re looking at, oh, 40-60 within a few kilometers of you. Check out the Helium Basic Course, you might dig it.

  39. Hi Nik

    Apologies if you have addressed this and I have missed it, how can we control our witness rewards units? My Transmit scales are all at 1.00 but my witness rewards units are averaging .44


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