What Does A Good Hotspot Cluster Look Like?



40–60 Hotspots, all about 1,500m away from any oth­er, with any one of ’em hav­ing clear line of sight to at least 30 others. 

Wait, you want more, and you want to know how I came up with that (with help)? Start by read­ing my post on PoC cycles, oth­er­wise you’ll be miss­ing some key points. Done? Great!

Let’s start with the worst case for HNT earn­ings: You’re a lone wolf Hotspot, with no Hotspots with­in tx/rx dis­tance. You can’t Wit­ness, so you miss out on 75% of avail­able earn­ings. Even with a few Hotspots around you, the odds that any of your Hotspots will Bea­con and ini­ti­ate the larg­er part of the earn­ings cycle is low. Short ver­sion: You’re not going to earn very much. 

The next worst case is the oppo­site. You’re sur­round­ed by thou­sands of oth­er Hotspots who are over­crowd­ing the hex den­si­ty rules and no one is earn­ing very much because all your earn­ings are scaled. Again, you’re not going to earn very much.

Ok, so now we’ve estab­lished the “my por­ridge is too hot” and “my por­ridge is too cold” sides. Where’s the hap­py medium?

For help with wad­ing through the data, I turned to the #gigs-and-boun­ties chan­nel on Dis­cord, though Helium.Jobs is anoth­er great option for get­ting help with any­thing Heli­um relat­ed. In this case, the folks over at Long­Fi Solu­tions respond­ed to my request and we start­ed into it.

Let’s start with my hypoth­e­sis (which was wrong, by the way). Here’s a decent way of think­ing about it, it was just miss­ing enough data points.

I thought the min­i­mum num­ber of hotspots you’d need in order to reli­ably wit­ness bea­cons and there­fore earn the major­i­ty of PoC rewards, would be around 300, just like Albu­querque. Here you can see the 24 aver­age HNT earn­ings for any giv­en res 8 hex using Heli­umVi­sion.

The aver­age month­ly HNT earn­ings of a Hotspot in Albu­querque is around 14 HNT. That may not sound much, but it’s high­er than any­thing else I could find, by a lot. I spent some time cen­ter­ing the map in Hotspot­ty on cities and see­ing how many hotspots were there as well as aver­age earnings. 

It’s a fast (well, slow because you’re ask­ing the map for a TON of info) and dirty way to get a “broad strokes” overview, although as you’ll see, it allows you to miss some impor­tant points. Here’s what I jot­ted down.

CityNum­ber of HotspotsAver­age Month­ly Earn­ing Per Hotspot
(Greater) San Diego3,8007.41
Los Ange­les13,9008.65
San Fran­cis­co6,8487.23
New York106645.8

I fig­ured that was a good start, but knew I should prob­a­bly ask around for help with data that was a lit­tle more care­ful­ly assessed and parsed. Plus, where was the gold?

Where were the best spots in the coun­try to deploy, and how many Hotspots do you REALLY need? Tel­ing me that San Fran­cis­co is not a good place to deploy a Hotspot real­ly isn’t that helpful.

So, here’s what the folks Long­Fi Solu­tions found when they dug in to my question.

What is that say­ing? What the heck is it? On the Y axis is the 30 day aver­age of HNT earn­ings per Hot­pots. On the X axis is the num­ber of Hotspots in the city. We’re zoom­ing in pro­gres­sive­ly on each graph.

Caveats: I asked for the data on the top 500 US cities. I know, I know, I’m not a sta­tis­ti­cian. There are prob­a­bly a ton of things you could get wrong by mis­in­ter­pret­ing the data, and among the things not account­ed for (off the top of my head) we’re miss­ing topog­ra­phy and sig­nal strength/data size (spread­ing fac­tor) changes around the world. Still, a few inter­est­ing points popped out.

Wait, you want to play with this data your­self? Cool, please share what you find here so we can all learn more! Down­load the data here, it’s a 32 MB file, just FYI.

Here are my takeaways:

  • You prob­a­bly need at least 40 hotspots to be earn­ing well.
  • 40 hotspots isn’t a guar­an­tee, it’s just a rea­son­able target.
  • Once you get beyond 300 hotspots, it’s not that you can’t earn, it’s that avg earn­ings are low, which is impor­tant for fleet deployers.

Here are addi­tion­al take­aways from the Long­Fi Solu­tions crew (specif­i­cal­ly, @the-wildcard on Discord)

  • It’s inter­est­ing to see how things con­verge as you move to the right, I guess it’s to be expect­ed though
  • With the pace of new hotspots com­ing online, a lot of these num­bers include hotspots that haven’t earned yet. Will revis­it in a week or 2 to see what’s changed.
  • Most inter­est­ing to me was that the cities with the high­est aver­age earn­ings per hotspot have 40–60 deployed, a lit­tle low­er than what I’d expect­ed would be need­ed to maximize

A few addi­tion­al points are worth men­tion­ing. Remem­ber, I was look­ing for best areas, not nec­es­sar­i­ly the best loca­tions. Loca­tions are straight­for­ward: Get the thing high with clear line of sight and view to lots of Hotspots. Area is hard­er; how many Hotspots do you real­ly need? 

Now we’re all one step clos­er to find­ing out. If YOU are a data geek and would like to con­tribute, please let me know what you’re think­ing in the com­ments, I’d love to include you in the col­lec­tive wisdom! 

If you’d like to join a group of like-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als when it comes to learn­ing about and opti­miz­ing Heli­um deploy­ments, check out the Gris­tle Crüe!

Until next time, rock on!


10 responses to “What Does A Good Hotspot Cluster Look Like?”

  1. Thanks for this.. But did you for­get about the reward wit­ness scale and HIP 15 in your throughts?

  2. Not so much for­got as “did­n’t include”. Work­ing with fleet deploy­ments late­ly, they need to start “big pic­ture” and once they find a like­ly place, explore further.

  3. Hi Nik,
    Can you clar­i­fy: “You prob­a­bly need at least 40 hotspots to be earn­ing well, and by earn­ing well I mean as of Oct 12th an avg month­ly HNT earn­ing of 14 or above.”

    Does that mean you need to be WITNESSING at least 40 hotspots to be earn­ing well? If so, is that mea­sured by the num­ber of “recent­ly wit­nessed” hotspots in Heli­um Vision?

    Some of my stats:
    HS 1: 15 recent­ly wit­nessed. Earn­ing .39 HNT per day
    HS 2: 25 recent­ly wit­nessed. Earn­ing .53 HNT per day
    HS 3: 28 recent­ly wit­nessed. Earn­ing .28 HNT per day
    HS 4: 15 recent­ly wit­nessed. Earn­ing .25 HNT per day

    Those are all in a metro area with around 150 oth­er hotspots. There are no oth­er hotspots in the same hex as mine at res­o­lu­tion 8. All have oth­er hotspots in some of the adjoin­ing hex­es. All are at rewards scale 1.

    HS 1 & 4 wit­ness the same num­ber of hotspots but their earn­ings are sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent. HS 3 wit­ness­es more that HS 2 but makes sig­nif­i­cant­ly few­er HNT. I know it’s more com­pli­cat­ed that just wit­ness­ing hotspots, but what would be caus­ing these dif­fer­ences if the num­ber of wit­nessed hotspots is 75% of the rewards and what can I do to improve rewards?

    These are all Bob­cats with the stock anten­na inside a sin­gle pane of glass. I’m plan­ning on chang­ing to out­door anten­nas 15–20 feet high­er than they all are now. I assume this should increase rewards sig­nif­i­cant­ly, or is there more I should do?


  4. Hi Brad, 40–60 is just a start­ing point. Take a look at the scat­ter plot graphs to get an idea of where the avg earn­ings in a clus­ter of 150-ish is. Get­ting your anten­na out­side and high­er almost always increas­es rewards. Rock on!

  5. HEY so thanks for all the great info. good pic­tures. And answer­ing so many ques­tions all the time. My biggest hang up right now is what cel­lu­lar modem to use I see the rut used a lot which I read it has option to use VPN on it. Are you guys using them? Because with­out hav­ing a sta­t­ic ip address which not all cell providers have them… so does VPN keep it from being relayed? Then what type of sim are u using what brand and is it unlim­it­ed or spe­cial iot m2m type or just a cheap 20 or 30 dol­lar unlim­it­ed data talk text with or with­out sta­t­ic and what brand? Any­one with a hand­ful of set up on cell modems using a fam­i­ly plan let me know please.

  6. No wor­ries Shag­gy, check over here for the lat­est on the 240 setup.

  7. Ques­tion? … 40–60 in what size of an area? In the arti­cle, you did it by cities, but what does that mean area or hex-wise?

  8. Depends on local topog­ra­phy. 40–60 that can *gen­er­al­ly* see each oth­er seems to work well, although late­ly I’ve seen clus­ters as small as 20 where at least one Hotspot was up in the .2 HNT/day (dou­ble the glob­al avg).

  9. Gábor Avatar

    Hi Nik!
    I live in a quite hilly area and I found a good spot which isn’t scaled and the near­est hotspot is 30km away with no line of sight. I was think­ing about plac­ing 5–6 hotspots in that hilly area among vil­lages which have line of sight of each oth­er. Do you think like 5–10 hotspots will be enough to earn very well if they all see each other?
    Thank you for your help!

  10. Hi Gábor, that’s along the lines of what the Net­work is look­ing for (cor­rect­ly placed prove­able cov­er­age) but with 5–10 you may not have as many bea­cons issued as you’d need to earn max­i­mal­ly. I’d think about how you use the Net­work as part of the ROI plans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.