Arduino WAN, Helium network and cryptographic co-processor

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2022-01-13 14:30:06

I was recently interested in the intersection of Machine Learning and RF and I was taking a look into LoRa modulation, which is based on Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS), and ended up getting to know more about the Helium network. I still think that the most stupid piece of technology behind crypto mining is spending GPU/CPU/ASIC cycles to do proof-of-work (PoW), but in the Helium network, they did something quite interesting, which was to switch to something useful such as the proof-of-coverage instead of generating heat and burning energy. Therefore we can say that the miners are doing something useful by providing radio coverage, instead of purely generating heat.

It is impressive how many devices were already deployed in many countries, Helium network has now almost 500k devices providing RF coverage, which is quite nice. I’m based in London and here is the coverage map:

As you can see, there are a lot of hotspots already covering practically the entire city. Another quite interesting aspect of the Helium network is that they use H3 cells, which is very similar to the S2 cells I wrote about some time ago.

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