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Understanding Witnesses and Relayed Hotspots

Witnesses on the Helium network are Hotspots that have seen (or witnessed) a Proof-of-Coverage packet from a Hotspot. This single-stage Proof-of-Coverage challenge is also known as a "Beacon".

Witness lists used to be used to construct multi-hop challenges, but since the network moved to use single-hop challenges (or beacons), it is no longer used and only exists for informational purposes only.

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Beacons happen automatically, and Hotspots witness automatically. Successful Witnessing, Challenging, and Beaconing relies on a stable and fast internet connection. This means relayed Hotspots will often fail these tasks. More below.

Witnessed List in Explorer and Helium App

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As of January 2022, Witnessed Lists in both the App and Explorer reflects the list of Hotspots that your Hotspot has seen beacon. This is an improved change from displaying a list of Hotspots that has witnessed your Hotspot as the new list directly correlates with mining rewards.

The list you find in explorer.helium.com and the Helium app are a historical, cumulative set of Hotspots that your Hotspot has seen beacon. This list is based on 5 previous days of Proof-of-Coverage receipts.

Here is an example:

January 1January 2January 3January 4January 5
13451010

Total: 42 Witnesses

The following day, the witnesses from January 1 is rolled over and a new day's worth of data is added.

January 2January 3January 4January 5January 6
4510108

Total: 37 Witnesses

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Witnesses are historical and informational only. It is not indicative of future earnings.

Transmit Scale and Witnessed List

Typically, the more Hotspots in your witnessed list, the more likely you'll have higher mining rewards. This is heavily influenced by the transmit scale of the Hotspots you witness.

In the App, for any Hotspot, tap on Hotspots Witnessed and you'll find the average transmit scale of all Hotspots in that list. The higher the transmit scale, the higher the rewards. This is why it's important to optimize your antenna placement so it can witness Hotspots in lesser populated areas and higher transmit scales.

Witness List Resets

Any time a Hotspot updates its location, antenna, or elevation, the list automatically resets. This does not affect earnings.

FAQ

My Hotspot went from x witnesses to y! What's wrong? I didn't do anything!

This is normal! The witnesses in the list is a historical summary of who your Hotspot has witnessed. This number can vary day to day and only Hotspots that sent receipts back to the challenger in a timely manner is included.

My witnesses dropped to zero! Will this affect my earnings?

Witnesses reset when a Hotspot updates its location, antenna dBi, or elevation. There is nothing to be concerned about and this will not affect your earnings. Keep in mind that as the network grows, the rewards going to each Hotspot goes lower day over day.

However, if your Witnessed List is consistently zero without updating your location, antenna gain, or elevation, check your internet connection, that the Hotspot is online, and that there are no obstructions in the way of the antenna.