While the Helium community often focuses the bulk of its attention on outdoor setups, the vast majority of hotspot hosts keep their devices inside. This could be due to the cost of outdoor upgrades, building limitations, personal preference, or anything in between. If you're like most Helium Hotspot users, you've probably been using your Indoor Setup for a while now and are looking for ways to improve it. Here are 5 tips & tools to help you upgrade your setup.
This might seem obvious to most, but the most important necessity for increasing your HNT earnings with an indoor Helium Hotspot is to strive for an optimal setup location or position. Regardless of if you live in an urban, suburban, or rural environment, there are several universal optimizations that can help you get more HNT rewards. To be sure, this could require a bit of testing, but we do have a few best practices that can help.
If you don’t have an extended ethernet connection or upgraded indoor antenna, then the placement of your actual hotspot device needs to be as close to a window as possible. If you do have those upgrades, then the same rule of thumb goes for your antenna placement. Ideally, this window should be the one in your home or building that has the least physical obstructions from the line of sight of your hotspot’s antenna. We won’t dive too far into radio wave physics here but put plainly, your antenna’s reach will be obstructed by trees, buildings, or anything that can physically block it from other areas of interest.
Most antennas experience optimal results when they have a clear line of sight to large hubs of activity nearby (i.e. a shipping port or downtown area). Still, if you’re in an area that doesn’t seem to have any nearby hubs, then don’t fret. There are many other ways that you can adjust your indoor hotspot setup to maximize your HNT earnings.
Use an Ethernet cable to connect your Helium Hotspot to your primary internet source. This will provide a more reliable and faster connection. Of course, it’s not always convenient to have your hotspot setup placed within the reach of an ethernet cable that’s hooked up to your router. Fortunately, we have a specific upgrade option that easily solves this problem.
To be clear, ethernet connectivity is not critical, but it does vastly improve your device's connection speeds and reliability. While Helium Hotspots utilize radio waves to communicate with each other, they rely on the internet to translate that data back to the blockchain. Delays or outages in connectivity can and will impact your HNT earnings. If you want a truly passive form of HNT income, then ensuring an ethernet connection is one of the easiest ways to check one more box off of your list. Staying connected is the best way to get rewarded.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to upgrade your hotspot antenna even with an indoor setting. Most out-of-the-box antennas range around 2.5 dBi in signal strength. Sure, that amount of power would be enough if there weren’t physical obstructions or other all-too-nearby hotspots to deal with. If you want to expand your antenna reach beyond your immediate vicinity, then we have a couple of options for you.
The first option is an 8dBi Whip antenna that connects directly with your hotspot. This solution works great if you already have a clear line of sight out of one of your windows and you just need an additional signal boost. This upgrade will surely get you further than your current out-of-the-box situation, however, it does insist that you can still place your actual hotspot device within the most optimal viewpoint.
The second option offers a slightly less powerful signal but does provide for a much more convenient installation. This accessory typically doubles your out-of-the-box antenna strength while also enabling you to place your hotspot device in a hidden location further away from the actual window or line of sight. This is our top-selling indoor antenna upgrade and for good reason. It’s simple, effective, and it sticks to the perfect part of your window for an easy way to get a clear signal path.
Be sure to monitor your device’s performance via the Helium app or the JAG portal (which includes real-time updates on hotspot activity). To be clear, there will inevitably be a lag time between performance updates and major device placement/upgrade changes (i.e. new locations, new antennas, etc…), but it’s safe to say that you can assess your alterations after 1-2 weeks. The most important things to note are always device connectivity (i.e. is it online or offline), reward scale (0.1-1.0), and rewards. If you’ve significantly altered your device setup and nothing has changed for over 2 weeks, then you can be fairly certain your upgrades aren’t working as planned.
If you’re still unsure how to upgrade your indoor hotspot setup or if you’re looking for other forms of upgrades or accessories, then please take our kit building quiz to determine the best possible solution for your specific requirements.