troubleshooting your helium hotspot

How To Troubleshoot Your Helium Hotspot

Helium is a rapidly growing and wild ecosystem. Like any other new ecosystem, things are constantly changing, and the main sources of information most new users rely on (Explorer and the Helium app) can be up 48 hours behind.

That means when you check your Hotspot via Explorer on Tuesday, you could be looking at Sunday’s information when it comes to whether or not you’re relayed, or whether your Hotspot is online.

This isn’t because Helium lnc likes to be slow, it’s because the whole thing is so popular and grew so fast that the reporting side of things hasn’t caught up yet. That, by the way, is a very non-technical explanation. The actual explanation is deeply technical. In any event…what do you do when your Hotspot stops working?

What I’ve found with hotspots over the course of consulting sessions with hundreds of clients and moderating the official Helium Discord since last spring is 2 main facts:

  1. If you have a problem, you’re probably not alone. There IS a solution or at least an explanation, you just have to find it.
  2. If you haven’t made any adjustments and your hotspot suddenly goes offline, the absolute best thing to do is wait, usually 48 hours.

With all that said, if you’re absolutely driven to do SOMETHING because your hotspot is having problems, here are a few resources to use as you get it sorted out.

Helium Power User Superpower #1

First, and this isn’t what you want to hear, but patience is a superpower when it comes to Helium. If you have your hotspot plugged into power and an ethernet cable (NOT on WiFi), your next best step to earn maximum HNT is probably to go fishing for a week. That’s not the way most of us are used to solving problems, but if you’ve got a production hotspot and you haven’t changed anything, there’s not a whole lot to do.

If you DID change something (swapped the antenna, moved the hotspot, reasserted the location, etc), use Superpower #1.

Helium Power User Superpower #2

Second, about the only thing you CAN do is open up the port on your router that makes sure your hotspot can talk to the Helium Network. That port is 44158. There are a few thousand pages on the internet at this point devoted to telling you how to open port 44158 for your Hotspot.

Helium Power User Superpower #3

Third, the “Search” box on the Official Helium Discord is probably the single most useful thing you can use. Are you “unable to initiate a session” when you try to use Discovery? Copy/paste that phrase into Discord search; you’ll find the latest on what’s going on.

Helium Power User Superpower #4

Fourth, the second most useful thing after the Search box on Discord is probably @BFGNeil’s HeliumStatus tool. It runs $2/month to use it, at least as of March 2022.

Helium Power User Superpower #5

As of mid-March 2022, we are starting to see an enormous growth in apps that help you understand the Helium Network. Here are some of my faves:

  • Watchium – Keep track of your Hotspot status and get basic info on what’s gone wrong
  • Hotspotty – Track your fleet and get alerts when a Hotspot goes down
  • Helium Analytics – Keep an eye on where you are in the relation to the global average.

What About The Gamers?!

Finally, a word about gamers, cheaters, hackers and other of those ilk. In general, they’re usually not worth it for the average Helium user to pay attention to. Sure, they’re getting sexy daily HNT earnings or they have an obviously cheating deployment pattern, but for the most part the Helium team is shutting them down quickly or limiting what they earn. Gaming WAS a huge problem; the Modesto cluster back in late summer of 2020 was exhibit A. Now gaming is an annoyance and distraction, but not really a network problem.

Helium is made up of some of the smartest people I’ve met; they are NOT unaware that gaming exists, they’re working hard to eliminate it, they’re very capable, and they have plenty of other things to do that are equally important when it comes to the health of the network.

Rules For Helium Mining Success

At the end of the day, your “job” as a Helium deployer is to take care of what’s in your control. Keep your Hotspot connected to power & internet by cables (do NOT use WiFi). Get the antenna high, use a thick enough antenna cable to limit loss, and make sure your antenna is providing WUPU (wide, unique, proveable, and useful) coverage. That’s how you’ll earn the most.

This shit ain’t complicated, it’s just hard.

If you need further help with optimizing your hotspot, read through the rest of this blog or join the Gristle Crüe!

We’ve helped some of the highest earners on the Helium Network go from zero to hero, and we’d love to walk you through how to maximize your Helium opportunity.

Rock on!

9 thoughts on “How To Troubleshoot Your Helium Hotspot”

  1. I’m waiting for my miner. From the manufacturer (being patient). Your overview was very stout with fundamental advice that I could grasp. I was about to over-supply on antenna use. Your zen about patience found a home with me, I will keep that in mind. Thanks for the steady hand.

  2. Brand new to this game. Day one my Nebra Outdoor was working great with decent earning. Day 2 and onward it’s not connected to network. If it connected via Ethernet port to the router and worked for a day , would the router just quit working? Eth ports work for other devices, just no longer my
    Nebra hotspot.

  3. Hi Spencer, what is the Nebra diagnostic tool telling you? Have you checked out the interview I did on BFGNeil’s Goes beyond the relay issue and into troubleshooting. Nebras in particular can be a PITA. Carefully check all the physical connections in the box; they can be loose. Also look up the Nebra light patterns and what they’re telling you.

  4. Thank you. I will start with the video. Just perplexing as it was working and now not. Lights all good with exception of blue flashing 4x telling me no network connection. The real beauty of this is the hotspot is at a relatives and now quite a distance from me. I did try to run a diagnostic check but couldn’t connect to the unit via Bluetooth.

  5. Just went through the same thing with a client (4x blue flash). Make sure that port is open on your network, then test with Neil’s tool. Do not use Explorer or the App for up to date info.

  6. Hi Nik,

    I have tried to reach out through the contact link on this page. It keeps telling me that my message isn’t delivered. I would like to discuss your services for what I hope is basic but just not basic enough for me.
    Thank you

  7. Hi Spencer, that’s odd, I’ve received & replied to a bunch of your emails. You can email me directly at [my first name, spelled correctly (no “c”)], then @ and this website. Maybe your email provider is blocking my replies?

    Alternately, you can just order the Hotspot Rescue Service here.

  8. So far all my deployments are using WiFi and it struck me when you suggested on your deliverance video that wifi is disastrous, perhaps you can elaborate on why WiFi is so disastrous other than an obvious low bandwidth scenario, for example what if wifi signal isn’t an issue?

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