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Data-Only Hotspots

Any LoRaWAN gateway can be used to transfer data through the Helium Network. Data-only Hotspots are eligible for network data transfer rewards but not Proof-of-Coverage rewards. This class of Hotspot offers a flexible path for companies and organizations looking to leverage the Helium Network for their IoT needs.

Since data-only Hotspots do not earn Proof-of-Coverage rewards, they may be permissionlessly added to the network. When added to the blockchain, they will earn IOT Tokens for transferring network data.

Basic Architecture

The gateway-rs client backs both data-only Hotspots as well as Proof-of-Coverage enabled IoT Hotspots. Gateway-rs is designed to run alongside a packet forwarder and handles communications with the Helium Packet Router.

The articles in this section will outline the 'Gateway' highlighted portion of the above diagram.

Packet Forwarder

Gateway-rs is designed to interact with the Semtech Packet Forwarder. If no packet forwarder is installed on the target hardware, follow the manufacturer's instructions using their documentation or one of the tutorials below.


Gateway-rs is the lightweight client that handles message signing and communications with Helium Packet Router, the backbone of the IoT Network.

Gateway-rs is designed to be installed directly adjacent to the packet forwarder on the gateway. For the latest releases and build notes, refer to the repository readme on GitHub.

For guidance on using gateway-rs, view the Data-Only Hotspot Onboarding section.

Transactions & Cost

A data-only Hotspot is capable of transferring network traffic without being onboarded. However, rewards for data transfer will not be issued.

To enable the Helium Network to reward a data-only Hotspot for network traffic and to report a location, two criteria must be met:

  1. The data-only Hotspot must be 'onboarded' to the network.
    The Add Hotspot transaction links the Hotspot's key (swarm_key) to a user's account and makes the Hotspot known to the network. This allows the Hotspot to be rewarded for data transfer.
  2. The specific location of the Hotspot should be declared.
    This allows the network define regional parameters and aids in location-solving for certain sensor applications. The Assert Location transaction provides the physical location (lat/long), elevation (in meters), and antenna EIRP (in dBi) data for the Hotspot. A Hotspot must be onboarded before its location can be asserted.

The network fees are as follows:

  • Add Data-Only Hotspot: 1,000,000 Data Credits (USD $10)
  • Assert Location: 500,000 Data Credits (USD $5)

These fees are paid using Data Credits.

Transactions are submitted using the CLI Wallet. The CLI Wallet should not be installed on the gateway, doing so could expose account keys to the open internet if the gateway is not properly secured. Existing accounts generated using the Helium Wallet App can be imported to the CLI.

For guidance on submitting these transactions, view the Data-Only Hotspot Onboarding section.