A brand new mining participant on The People’s Network — the Data-Only Hotspot — can now mine HNT for transferring data packets! The development work to achieve this milestone has been underway for many months as the community has watched the Network rapidly scale to over 232,000 Hotspots across more than 20,400 cities globally. By adding Light Hotspots to the lineup, any LoRaWAN gateway can be connected to the Network and mine HNT for transferring the data of IoT devices.
Back when the Light Hotspot project was announced, the team knew what was ahead of them. How could a standard LoRaWAN gateway with minimal compute power, and generally not user-friendly, become a product that builders of the Network want to use, deploy, and mine with?
An evolution of LoRaWAN gateways, Light Hotspots will fill the missing piece, interacting with the Helium Blockchain in a new way to any of the previous Hotspot options. Since the genesis block, the Helium Blockchain has run entirely on the physical Hotspot itself. As the blockchain network grows, each Hotspot running a full node undergoes increasing load, which does not scale well with the rapid expansion of The People’s Network. Light Hotspots will operate without needing to sync or process Proof-of-Coverage Challenges on their own, letting the computing of the Network rely on Validators.
Here is a brief rundown of how a Light Hotspot differs from a regular “heavy” Hotspot:
Today’s milestone allows any of these low-cost LoRaWAN gateways to mine HNT for transferring data. This is a new way to deploy network coverage for devices without long wait times and expensive hardware costs.
For those looking to mine HNT, keep in mind that these Data-Only Hotspots only mine fractions of an HNT for transferring packets. They do not earn HNT through Proof-of-Coverage or Witnessing (only HIP-19 approved manufacturers are able to sell these types of Hotspots). Data-Only Hotspots also need to be added to the Helium Blockchain to earn HNT.
gateway-rs release to v1.0.0-alpha.19 to start mining HNT today!
The introduction of HNT rewards for Data-Only Hotspots as the completion of Milestone 2 is a big step towards Light Hotspots. Milestone 3, the next step of the roadmap, will include Proof of Coverage participation for HIP-19 approved Light Hotspots. The final development, Milestone 4, converts all current Full Hotspot options to Light Hotspots, with Proof-of-Coverage Challenges and Witness Receipts run by Validators. This final milestone has an estimated completion of Q1 2022.
During this process of enabling Light Hotspots (by rewriting Proof-of-Coverage compatibility from Erlang to Rust), the core developers are simplifying how current Full Hotspots can move towards using GRPC to communicate (instead of libp2p), delegating ledger sync to Validators. Subsequently, as a result of these efforts, Full Hotspots will no longer keep a local copy of the Helium Blockchain upon Milestone 4 completion.
Development of this code takes place in the above gateway-rs GitHub repo, as well as at the
#gateway-developement channel on the Helium Discord Server. Stay tuned for the latest development milestone status updates here on the Helium Blog, as well as on Helium Docs.