Pocv11 and Its Implications for Helium Antenna Parameters

The Helium Network Proof of Coverage (PoC) algorithm is due to be updated by October 18th, 2021. This upcoming PoC system is known as PoCv11 and is a significant upgrade to the Helium blockchain. The implementation of this upgrade will have implications for Helium miners that are used with external antennas. In this short article, we will explain what Pocv11 is and how it can affect the use of an external Helium antenna.

About PoCV11

PoCv11 is an update to the Helium Network proof of coverage algorithm that is used by the Helium blockchain. Proof of coverage is at the core of how a decentralized network like Helium is able to work in a compliant manner. PoCv11 adds additional regulatory and configuration data for utilization by the Helium blockchain, providing the Helium network with governance and accountability to national communications regulators like the FCC.

Key takeaway for Helium Hotspot owners: the location and gain of your antenna and hotspot will count!

It is essential that Helium hotspot owners familiarize themselves with the requirements of PoCv11 as failure to take action may adversely affect PoC activity and HNT rewards. You will need to:

  • Make sure that you have provided an accurate location for your hotspot. Helium hotspot owners who have asserted their hotspot to an incorrect location will be affected by the implementation of PoCv11. Re-assertion will cost US$10 (or an equivalent deduction in HNT) paid in data credits as a fee to the blockchain.
  • Antenna gain must be asserted. Hotspot owners must assert the gain of an external antenna. Helium allows antenna gains between 1.0 and 15.0dB. Helium may use PoCv11 to scale down transmission power to comply with any regional or national regulations, so they want to know your precise antenna gain and transmitting power. There is a custom antenna option where custom values that take into account external antenna specifications, cable losses, and connectors can be added. Re-assertion of antenna gain will cost US$5 (or an equivalent deduction in HNT) paid in data credits as a fee to the blockchain.
  • There is also the potential for the antenna elevation to be disclosed in the future.

All updates can be completed via the Helium Network smartphone app. 

Why are the PoCv11 changes being implemented?

These changes are being implemented to ensure that PoC events which are rewarded with HNT are accurate and fair. If there is an inaccurate record of an antenna location or gain the blockchain will interpret and make calculations incorrectly, potentially penalizing witness hotspots or unfairly awarding others. As Hotspot owners can claim that their location is anywhere, the PoC system is used to continually verify the location of hotspots by other network participants so blockchain rewards are distributed accurately. PoCv11 now makes the blockchain region-aware.

The asserted antenna gain supplied will be used by the blockchain to consider when making PoC receipt and witness validation decisions.

Prior to PoCv11. A default gain of 1.2dBi was assumed when validating receipt and witness transmission. Now the blockchain will utilize equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) that is region-specific to factor witness/receipt transmissions correctly. The Helium antenna transmission power must comply with local or regional limits. In the US this is currently a maximum EIRP of 36 dBm. Transmit power will be reduced to comply with local limits. A 9 dBi antenna can be asserted without any transmission power loss.

How will PoCv11 affect Helium cryptocurrency rewards?

This move will make sure that illegal transmissions do not earn any cryptocurrency rewards. If the transmit power of an external Helium antenna exceeds local regulations, it will be considered invalid, earning no rewards.

Transmissions that go beyond region boundaries also will not earn rewards.

Posted by George Hardesty on 15th Oct 2021

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