A lot of this may be perplexing to a person who isn’t well-versed in the latest technology. Let us make things easier to understand. There are three kinds of hotspots: light, regular, and data-only.
Helium began off with regular Hotspots. As well as being a challenge generator and beacon, they also keep a blockchain on them. That final portion started causing issues as the net and blockchain became more and bigger each day.
A growth in the number of memory consumed by hotspots caused a slowdown in the blockchain’s performance. A sluggish blockchain led to spikes (and unpleasant) revenues and blockchain stalls for hotspots that couldn’t have their testimony and beacon receipts recorded.
We came up with a solution to this problem in the Helium community: a new object called a Validator. Only blockchain-related tasks are performed by validators. Both beacon and witness are absent from them.
A competition for Light Hotspots can be created by them, but until that time (March 2022), they will only be validating (thus the name) receipts for all challenges, witnesses, and beacons submitted by Hot Spots. Using those authenticated receipts, they create a new block and upload it to the blockchain.
We (the entire Helium network) can develop and use “Light Hotspots” since we have Validators. Validators store the blockchain for Light Hotspots, so they don’t have to.
Beacon Obstacles for Light Hotspots can also be created by Validators.
Only steps 2 and 3 will be possible with Light Hotspots. The majority of PoC HNT goes to these individuals.
There is no way that Light Hotspots can do either step 1 or step 4. In spite of what you may assume, it won’t cost you a penny.
To gain HNT, a Light Hotspot must not spawn Obstacles (aka being a PoC Challenger.) Creating Challenges earns you only 1% of the HNT per era. Every 30 seconds, 30 blocks are mined to establish a new epoch.
A Info Only Hotspot is the final piece of the puzzle. Only hotspots that handle data will be rewarded. Challenges, witnesses, and beacons will no longer be available for them to receive rewards for. No one will have to.
The 5G version of the hotspot would be nothing more than a Data Monster; a Data Monster and nothing else. For now, let’s go into the nitty-gritty differences between a Light and Regular (Full Fat) Hotspot. Because Helium is designed for sensors, the flow begins with them.
Most of what you’ve heard and seen so far regarding “Sensors” has been about your hotspot (often known as a “gateway”) obtaining rewards just for connecting to other hotspots (Challenging, Beaconing, and Witnessing).
Even so, sensors are the primary reason for the network’s construction, therefore I’m placing them first.
Let’s have a look at what it ought to look like before the introduction of Validators. As of July 2021, this was the situation in all current production hotspots (OG, RAK, Sensecap, Syncrobit, Nebra, etc.)
There is no need to separate the two functions. Because the Miner could store a blockchain for itself, the It’s possible for the miner to set up challenges, beacons (which may be traced), and witnesses.
As data is collected from the surrounding environment, it is sent to the Sensor Node by the Sensor. All this information is sent to Gateway via Sensor Node (Hotspot).
The Hotspot spends most of its time monitoring for packets of data from Sensor Nodes. A Hotspot may occasionally broadcast the message, “Here I am, please verify the amplitude and trajectory of my transmissions just in case.”
Other places of interest To determine which transactions are legitimate and which are bogus or simply mistakes, Each Beacon is monitored and recorded by a network of Hotspots. WiFi, Ethernet, cell backhaul, and other types of internet connections are all used to link them all together.
The LoRa Router receives any data that was sent from the sensors (in most cases Helium Console, although you can run your own.)
MyDevices Cayenne, Datacake, and other Integration Servers are used to transform that data into a form that can be understood by humans.
Prior to Light Hot Spots, this is how it worked. Is there anything you can think of? It’s impossible to run a blockchain replica on a Raspberry Pi since it’s too much it to manage. Is there any way out of this situation? Make it less demanding on the computer.
Beacons are still issued and other beacons are observed by Light Hotspots. They no longer have to perform the time-consuming recording tasks because the Validators are taking care of that for them now.
Using a LoRa Router and an Integration Server is the next step following Validators. To be clear, validators are checking the flow of data, not the content of that data. Outside of the blockchain, this data is kept in a secure location with high levels of encryption.
On the Helium website, you can see all of this spelled out in detail, as well as the goals and deadlines for when it will all be accomplished.
Light Hotspots and Full Fat Miners can be clearly distinguished from one another.
There is nothing more to a Light Hotspot than a packet forwarder linked to the internet. It is capable of transmitting (beaconing) and receiving (witnessing) other gateways and sensors. The Validators are responsible for mining and validating.
This particular cluster of Helium Hotspots is compelled to outsource ALL of its mining operations to others. For the month, that’s ranging from 20 to 90 GB! This is also why the blockchain was sluggish before the arrival of Validators.
More than 90,000 transactions were processed by just 16 full-fat miners at any given moment. Whew!
A Light Hotspot, on the other hand, uses about 100 MB each month. Data credits will continue to be earned by processing data at Light Hotspots while they are still able to Observe and Beacon. In this graph, only the Light Hotspot is shown.
They can use tiny processors (like a Raspberry Pi Zero or lower) that don’t be bogged down by 90,000+ full-fat hotspots because they’re only transferring so little data.
Hopefully, this will help you better grasp the importance of Light Hotspots and how they work.
Light Hotspots represent the next step in the growth of LoRaWAN gateways’ interactions with the Helium blockchain.
The physical Hotspot has exclusively powered the Helium blockchain since the genesis block. As the blockchain network expands, the load on each Hotspot operating a full node climbs, and they begin to go out of sync due to the increased computing requirements.
To address it, the Hotspot’s consensus job has been relocated to Validators rather than physical Hotspots. This streamlines the design and allows us to scale the Network enormously while maintaining consistent block times and epochs.
To meet the growing demand and improve network coverage, we are introducing a new type of Hotspot known as Data Only Hotspots as all certified hotspots shift to a Light Hotspot design.
Why are Light Hotspots needed?
Hotspots have stored a copy of the Helium blockchain since the Helium Network was originally launched three years ago. This is on top of everything else Hotspots do, such as Proof-of-Coverage work (see below for a refresher on Proof-of-Coverage).
Hotspots have had a lot of challenges keeping up with the Network’s rapid growth to over 722K+ deployed Hotspots, including constantly syncing and storing blockchain data on the device.
The Helium Network released Light Hotspots, a software update that eliminates the necessity for all Helium Network Hotspots to store blockchain data. The Network’s Hotspots will perform more smoothly and effectively with this update.
Properties of light hotspots
The following properties will be met when the Light Hotspot software is fully developed and in production:
- A Helium network hotspot that may engage in PoC beacons and witnesses and forward data packets via Validators.
- No copy of the Blockchain is stored; hence synchronization is not possible.
- Creates no difficulties (instead of relying on Validators to do so).
- Consensus Groups are not used (Validators handle block production).
- Instead of relying on libp2p or “gossip,” gRPC, a new framework for communicating between distributed systems, will be used.
In other words, the Light Hotspot software will enable the Hotspot to function as a Full Hotspot without the additional cost of keeping a local copy of the Blockchain.
Mines will be more reliable in hotspots
Because each epoch allocates a predetermined amount of HNT to Hotspots, the average profits per Hotspot are expected to decline as more Hotspots come online and begin mining.
More new Hotspots are added each day. On the other hand, earnings are likely to be far more steady and reliable.
As the Blockchain moves away from Hotspots and towards the Validator architecture, the function of Miner is becoming obsolete.
Validators will manage the entire Helium blockchain, and Proof of Coverage coordination after Light Hotspot construction is completed.
Is there any effect on HNT earnings?
A Hotspot may be revived.
The Light Hotspot software upgrade may be able to bring your Hotspot back to life and allow it to mine HNT if it was relayed or had synchronization troubles.
Challenger Updates will affect the rewards.
Light Hotspots will continue to transmit beacons, witness beacons, and data in the same way that they do now.
Challenging Beaconers, which accounts for 0.9 percent of HNT emitted per epoch, is the only rewarding activity Light Hotspots will no longer engage in.
Your Hotspot profits are determined by the position of your antenna and the number of beacons that your Hotspot can see. Hotspot earnings should be examined over a longer time.
Progress on testnet
Validators have joined a new Proof-of-Coverage with Testnet Hotspots running Light Hotspot software. For blockchain information, all Hotspots in this test employ Testnet Validators and do not need to sync the Blockchain directly. From the Validator pool, they also receive PoC Challenges.
Testnet allows you to follow their progress.
These Hotspots additionally have a dockerized version of gateway-rs (trust-based gateway firmware) and a Validators-based packet forwarder.
These Hotspots earn TNT, not HNT.
Do Light Hotspots perform the same functions as existing Hotspots?
Light Hotspots perform one thing less than current Hotspots, which is to create Challenges, with Validators handling the rest. Hotspots are still an important part of Proof-of-Coverage, as they send and witness Beacons and account for the majority of Proof-of-Coverage incentives per epoch.
What kind of mining rewards may a Hotspot anticipate?
Proof-of-Coverage activity (Witnessing Challenges and Beaconing) and transmitting Data Packets can yield HNT for a Hotspot running Light Hotspot software.
This amounts to up to 60.1 percent of total HNT minted per epoch, with the rest going to security tokens, consensus group labor, and Challenge creation.
Proof-of-Coverage has three components:
A geographic area is targeted by the Challenger when they create a challenge. They are in charge of developing the Beaconer’s challenge and are waiting for responses.
This actor earns 0.9 percent of all HNT produced per era.
A Challenger targets the Beacon, which is a Hotspot. Their primary responsibility is to acknowledge the challenge, broadcast it to the nearby area, and return a receipt to the Challenger.
This actor earns 5.02 percent of all HNT produced per era.
A Witness is a Hotspot who notices a Beaconer’s challenge. They confirm to the Network that the Beacon has issued a challenge and that they are providing coverage.
A receipt is sent to the Challenger by the Witnessing Hotspot. This actor earns 20% of the HNT emitted per epoch.
When Light Hotspots are active, can Lonewolf Hotspots still mine HNT?
Lone wolves are Hotspots isolated from other Hotspots, making it difficult to see Beacons. They could only mine HNT through Challenges (0.9 percent of HNT minted).
Validators can now only mine by transmitting data packets because they have created challenges. Encourage your friends and neighbors to contribute to your local network expansion.
Will there still be seed node issues?
Seed nodes were used as a “phone book” for Hotspots to know who to call in the peer-to-peer Network before the introduction of Light Hotspots.
Seed nodes are no longer required in the new world because Hotspots connect directly to a Validator.
This also means that witness receipts will be more regular and reliable.
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