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.
|Number of Hotspots
|Average Monthly Earning Per Hotspot
|(Greater) San Diego
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!