Helium for Hosts.

New to Helium and considering hosting a Hotspot? Great.

Here’s a list of common questions and information to help educate you before you decide to join The People’s Network.

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What is an IoT device?

And what sort of data will be sent through my Hotspot?


IoT stands for “Internet of Things”. And “IoT Device” is commonly used to refer to a new class of connected device that sends small data (hundreds of bytes) over long ranges (miles) and that may require extended battery life (many months or even years).

So, IoT Devices are things like pet trackers, temperature sensors, motion detectors that are part of security systems, smart thermostats, ebikes, scooters, and much more. These devices tend to send small amounts of encrypted data every few minutes. And when they do this on the Helium Network in range of your Hotspot, you will be there to provide wireless coverage for them. It’s a beautiful thing.


How much power does the Hotspot require?

And what will it cost me to run?


There is nearly zero power cost. The Hotspot uses a small amount of power; roughly 5W at peak. This is less than a standard LED light bulb. In a city like San Francisco, it will cost you less than $0.05 a day to run. In the average US state, the total power cost of running a Hostpot for a full year is about the same as big Starbucks coffee - roughly $5 per year.


Why does the Hotspot need my Wi-Fi Network?

Will the Hotspot affect my internet quality and bandwidth?


No. The Hotspot uses very little data, and nearly zero compared to your other set of devices that are consuming 100s of GBs per month.

The Hotspot uses data to:

  • maintain a view of the global Helium Network
  • send and receive data packets for sensors that are in range and using 
your piece of the Helium Network

In both instances, the total amount of data usage is extremely small and will never affect your network quality.


How long does the Hotspot take to deploy?

Hotspots are ususally deployed in 10 minutes or less.

“Hosting a Hotspot is great. It took all of 15 minutes to deploy and at this point I have almost forgotten it's even in my apartment. But it feels good to be building out the Helium Network and earning HNT in the process is an awesome bonus.”

Don - Hotspot Host in Boston


What about Security?

Should I be allowing a random device access to home network?


This is the most common question. And for good reason.

Security of networks is our highest priority. Please refer to this Network Security overview for information on what we do to keep the Helium Network safe and protected.


Who else is operating Hotspots?

Is anyone else doing this?


Absolutely. By choosing to deploy a Hostpot, you are joining the thousands of people across the United States actively building the Helium Network.

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How do I maintain a Hotspot after it’s deployed?

There's nothing to do. Seriously.

Once it’s set up and added to the Helium Network, it will likely require zero maintenance.


What is HNT?

And why should I want to earn it?


Helium Token, known as HNT, is how Hotspot Hosts are compensated for building out the Network. HNT is a new cryptocurrency designed specifically to serve the needs of the Helium Network ecosystem.

HNT is your reward for being an active, valuable participant in the Helium Network. Soon, operators of devices and sensors on the Helium Network will require HNT to send data across the Network. And when that happens, you’ll have the chance to supply it.