What is Helium PoC v11?
Glad you asked!
PoC v11 is a Helium Improvement Proposal (HIP) that brings a few improvements to the Proof of Coverage protocol. These changes are, in a nutshell:
- Reduce maximum witnesses for a beacon (25 > 18)
- Randomize the witnesses (factor out latency/internet speed)
- Bring all Hotspots down to legal limits.
We will discuss the final bullet point here, as this is the most important and significant change, because it will require you to do some tweaks to your setup to maximize your earnings.
To comply with European laws, the radio chip inside all hotspots will be down-tuned, according to your antenna settings.
Which antenna should I use now?
An antenna has a few important specifications and characteristics.
- TX (transmission power)
- RX (reception power)
- Signal shape
In the past, higher gain antennas were preferred because your Transmission Power (TX) would be higher, thus your signal would reach further. The drawback however, is that the higher your antenna gain, the more focussed your signal shape would become. Think of a laser beam, overshooting or undershooting nearby hotspots. See the image below for an illustrative explanation.
As you can see, higher gain antennas reach further, but have a more narrow signal shape. Now, imagine that all these shapes cut off at the same distance. You are restricting yourself to a more narrow signal shape, while no longer having the advantage of a longer range.
However, as mentioned above there is another important characteristic, other than TX.
Reception Power (RX)
While your actual range may be limited, a higher gain antenna will still have more Reception Power. This means you may not reach hundreds of kilometers on your beacons anymore, but you may witness hotspots from further away using a slightly higher gain antenna. Since ~80% of all earnings are generated from witnessing other hotspots, it might be worth it for you to use a higher gain antenna.
There is not one answer to every situation, as every location is unique and there are many factors at play that may or may not impact your earnings, but in 95% of the situations, this is our recommendation:
- From 1 - 10 meters high, surrounded by taller buildings or obstructions: 3 or 4 dBi antenna
- From 5 - 50 meters high, free line of sight: 6 dBi antenna
- From 50+ meters high: 3 or 4 dBi antenna
We recommend you to always go for a Premium Tuned antenna as these are by far proven to be the most efficient, as they do not pick up a lot of noise from neighbouring frequencies.