It is no secret that we, here at RAK, are big supporters of Helium and the growth of The People’s Network. What one might see as a gamble turned out to be a clever partnership opportunity leading the way to building something truly grandiose with infinite potential.

Helium introduced an incentive-based system for providing network coverage. Hotspot owners were rewarded for their contribution to the People’s Network in the form of crypto tokens ($HNT). It was the tool that enabled the rapid growth of the network worldwide.

Mining $HNT might have been what drove the adoption of the technology, but it was not the sole purpose of creating the network. On the contrary, the potential that The People’s Network has in the field of Internet of Things (IoT) applications is far greater and more interesting.

Developers and IoT enthusiasts all over the world now have at their disposal something that was just wishful thinking till recently – a network accessible by everyone, backed by a blockchain that can support data transactions, payment, earnings. Now as the network is shifting towards practical applications and is becoming less about providing coverage and more about end-node data transfer capacity, we are seeing data-only hotspots getting integrated into the network more and more!

What is a data-only hotspot, you may ask? These are hotspots that don’t participate in Proof of Coverage (PoC) and do not earn $HNT for it. They do however earn rewards for data transfer. Now, that the network coverage is quite good, a new phase is beginning where the value shifts from just participating in PoC to data transfer with actual practical purpose and application. It is the thing that will transform The People’s Network from a crypto mining platform to a globe-spanning IoT solution platform!

We have already talked about The Convergence of IoT and Blockchain Technology so we won’t be diving into it again, it just needs to be mentioned as we believe that is what the feature holds for both technologies.

The actual purpose of this article is to showcase the data-only hotspot and how you can make one yourself. How do we plan to do that? By showing you a real setup, of course, introducing Paul Pinault’s Helium Data-Only Hotspot solar setup!

He is using our WisGate Edge Lite and the Fiberglass Antenna Kit for Helium Hotspot to make a data-only hotspot that is outdoor capable and can transfer data from any LoRaWAN® compatible end-node device. Paul is sharing with the world a detailed guide with all the needed components and steps for the setup. It is a piece worthy of reading for everyone that thinks of making their own data-only hotspot.

Or you could read our piece on creating a Helium Data Only Hotspot Setup with RAK Concentrator + Raspberry Pi, if you want to build a more open-source solution based on the popular Raspberry Pi platform.

Helium rewards can subsidize an IoT solution rollout, this was the main mechanic behind building the initial network coverage, it is not, however, the long-term end-goal. Data-only hotspots are the next stage, where dead spots are filled and rewards shift more towards transferring traffic than just providing coverage.

Utilize the Helium network, take advantage of its worldwide coverage and start developing! We encourage you to do so with the Helium Developer Kit and all the support and ideas we can give you! Bring the People’s network to the next level.