The Helium Network encourages you to spread your miners across a wide area. In fact, you are rewarded more when you place your miner in areas where there are no other miners.
It therefore makes sense to place miners at homes of people that you know – friends and family, for instance. It also makes sense to place your miner in a remote area where there are few other hotspots.
But it’s not as simple as installing it somewhere and forgetting about it. The Helium network is very new. We are learning new things about the network everyday. Manufacturers are updating miners and learning about how the devices they build operate in a network.
Most people who have been mining for even a month will agree that a successful Helium deployment needs attention on a regular basis.
In this post we look at five tips for a successful remote Helium deployment.
Table of Contents
Do your Research
In order to mine Helium you need to purchase a Helium miner. The important question for a remote deployment: Which miner is the most reliable from an operational standpoint?
Based on our experience, all Helium hotspots have had issues that needed the owner’s attention. We have been mining Helium since early 2021. The network has grown exponentially and we are seeing more problems than ever before – network outages, bricked miners and more. So do your research and choose your hotspot wisely.
Plan your Placement and Installation
Every Helium deployment today needs to be carefully planned. In 2019 you could place a hotspot anywhere and it made a lot of HNT. In 2020 you had to be a little more strategic about your deployments. By the time it was 2021, more and more people were hearing about Helium. People were doing more research around propagation planning, talking to friends and family about using their homes, leasing property and more.
Now in 2022, to make any serious HNT, you have to do a lot more legwork to research and find locations like this one at a height of 80 meters. It has visibility of over 300 miners and counting. Likely an amazing location. At the time of writing it’s making about 2 HNT a day.
In addition to location, there often is a lot of planning around equipping miners with appropriate outdoor enclosures, antenna selection, reliable backhaul network connectivity and more. The result is a high earning miner.
Obviously not everyone has the time or means to source and equip a location like this one. So the best you might be able to do is to place the antenna at the highest location in your home, your attic, balcony or on your rooftop. But even that needs planning.
For instance, how are you going to install the antenna – likely with professional help for an outdoor rooftop install.
You will also need reliable internet connectivity – it’s better to connect a Helium miner over cabled Ethernet rather than Wi-Fi. However cables are more challenging to run over long distances.
Plan every aspect of your deployment – location, placement, antenna and connectivity
Remote Hotspot Management
Remote miners require management and maintenance. For instance you will need to reboot your miner on a periodic basis. The manual approach is to ask your host to turn it off – wait for a minute – then turn it back on. To make it easier we recommend getting a remote controlled power switch that you can access over the internet. I have had to reboot both my Rak and Nebra miners at least twice a month each and this switch has been invaluable.
There are other issues which are a little more complicated. For example:
- Replacement of the RAK miner SD card or Nebra eMMc card
- Solving Wi-Fi connectivity issues between the miner and the home network
Both of these require a little more involvement and technical expertise from your host. We’ve had to deal with both of these issues and they are non-trivial.
In the event that these problems cannot be solved, your host will need to ship the miner back to you. To make things easy, we suggest leaving them packaging material and providing a shipping label for this purpose.
Plan how you’re going to manage your miner remotely
Helium mining is unlike most traditional Crypto mining. The amount you earn is directly related to your miner placement, radio frequency (RF) coverage, network and miner uptime among other factors.
As mentioned in previous posts, I have had to deal with many Helium issues – for instance, the Nebra eMMc issue, Wi-Fi disconnects and more. There are also opportunities for infrastructure improvements such as Helium antenna upgrades or the addition of a filter that you might want to experiment with for more HNT earnings.
There is no way I could have dealt with these issues remotely. So it’s not unreasonable to expect a site visit every month to your miner location to deal with an issue or opportunity. If your host is technologically savvy that might cut down on the number of visits, so take that into consideration when picking a host.
Plan to visit your miner at least once a month
Be Prepared to Relocate your Miner
Helium deployments are growing at an exponential pace so a location that may have been earning 20 HNT a day in March 2021 could now be earning as little as 0.01 HNT a day. One reason for this is that many people in your vicinity have now received their hotspots. So there could be 40 times as many miners in your hex this month than there were last month. The problem is particularly bad in downtown cores of major cities like Los Angeles and Toronto for instance.
What do you do then?
The only options here are to:
- increase the height of your miner antenna so it can see more miners than others in your hex
- move your miner to a more profitable location
Be prepared to move your miner – either up or away
In this post we have discussed a few tips on how to set up a miner remotely. Let’s recap the top points:
- Pick your miner wisely
- Plan your placement and installation
- Factor in a periodic site visit to sort out potential issues with your miner
- Plan how to manage your remote miner
- Be prepared to relocate your miner if things are not working out in the current location