How does the 'Helium' Network work?

In summary: I can't see how this could work in my town. There just isn't enough traffic.In summary, my neighbour has installed a 'Helium miner' on his chimney and claims to be making money from it. However, the article seems to be full of buzzwords and there is no evidence that this system actually works.
  • #1
sophiecentaur
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TL;DR Summary
My neighbour has installed a 'Helium miner' on his chimney and claims to be making money from it.
The Helium Network describes itself as a Community network of hotspots and claims to be a source of revenue for members. The literature (example here) only seems to talk in vague terms of providing connectivity via hotspots. I can see my neighbour's box on his chimney but I can't find any mention of a Hotspot in my list of available WiFi connections.

How could someone like me connect to his system and earn him any money? Descriptions of the Helium system use the terms like 'Crypto' and 'internet of things' but what 'things' would my other neighbours have today that could talk to his box?

Is this real or just snake oil? He is convinced that he is making money.
 
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  • #2
sophiecentaur said:
Summary:: My neighbour has installed a 'Helium miner' on his chimney and claims to be making money from it.

Is this real or just snake oil? He is convinced that he is making money.
Understand your trepidation. Only read the attached blurb, but it reminds me of every pyramid scam going back to Ponzi, flavored by Amway 'at least you have cleaning supplies under the sink' or, in this reincarnation, a box on your chimney. Or in your basement? Elevation immaterial?

The article seems all buzz words with no network science. Has your neighbor accrued any real benefit other than feeling good? Some 'bitcoins' sure to rise in value? Good scammers make victims feel clever, ready to rope in more rubes associates. Caveat emptor, as always.
 
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  • #4
caz said:
NYT subscriber here, sometime contributor to literary discussions. I swear I did not read this tech post before responding to @anorlunda. The author connects to readers already 'mining bitcoins' and makes sense about Wi-Fi connected devices in large city environments. However,

It’s a gold-colored box, about the size of a thick deck of cards, with a long antenna on top. ...
Why gold? Darn, my Wi-Fi box is dull gray.
...
Participating in the Helium network, even in such a small way, feels good.
Yep. Or in Latin quod erat demonstratum. QED.
 
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  • #5
Just looking at the linked page, it looks like you get to pay $400 for the privilege of letting someone else make use of your CPU cycles and potentially opening access to your computer/LAN to unknown entities.

--diogenesNY
 
  • #6
And it’s a lot more than £400 total these days, according to my neighbour.
 
  • #7
I’m just waiting for a post from an an established PF member, telling us just how fab the scheme is and that she/he has actually been spending the profits on actual stuff.
Still waiting.
 
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  • #8
Have your neighbor show you the check or bank statement. In lieu of that, search their garbage. :-p
 
  • #9
Haha. I put my jackboots on and burst through his door.
 
  • #10
sophiecentaur said:
...but I can't find any mention of a Hotspot in my list of available WiFi connections.
It's not wifi, it's a different system called LoRa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LoRa

It sounds like the goal is to use Blockchain! as an advertising ploy to try to entice people to buy and install the network hardware for them.
 
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  • #11
russ_watters said:
It's not wifi, it's a different system called LoRa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LoRa

It sounds like the goal is to use Blockchain! as an advertising ploy to try to entice people to buy and install the network hardware for them.
Yes - I found that eventually. But the scheme seems to be very artificial and aimed a getting people to pay money (and electricity) to run a system. The blurb is all so full of buzz words. Jim couldn't actually explain anything about it without using them.
So far, he has only spent £300 and climbed up onto his chimney, risking life and limb. I'll try and dissuade him from spending any more without being too down on the idea. It was certainly the 'Blockchain' idea that did it for him and that seems to be totally irrelevant to the nature of the LoRa network.
We're semi rural here so I can't see a lot of potential traffic for it.
 

Related to How does the 'Helium' Network work?

1. What is the 'Helium' Network?

The 'Helium' Network is a decentralized wireless network that uses a blockchain-based infrastructure to enable low-power Internet of Things (IoT) devices to communicate with each other and the internet.

2. How does the 'Helium' Network differ from traditional networks?

The 'Helium' Network differs from traditional networks in that it is completely decentralized, meaning there is no central authority controlling the network. It also uses a unique proof-of-coverage consensus algorithm, where nodes earn rewards for providing coverage to IoT devices.

3. How do devices connect to the 'Helium' Network?

Devices connect to the 'Helium' Network by using a small, low-power radio called a 'Hotspot'. These hotspots create a wireless network that allows IoT devices to securely connect and communicate with each other and the internet.

4. How does the 'Helium' Network ensure security and privacy?

The 'Helium' Network uses end-to-end encryption to ensure the security and privacy of data transmitted between devices and the network. Additionally, the use of a decentralized blockchain-based infrastructure also adds an extra layer of security.

5. Can anyone join the 'Helium' Network?

Yes, anyone can join the 'Helium' Network by purchasing a 'Hotspot' device and setting it up in a location with good network coverage. However, only approved devices and applications can access the network, ensuring the integrity and security of the network.

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