Helium’s 5G Network & the Next Generation of Blockchain Technology
How Helium is Demonstrating the Ideal Marriage Between Blockchain and 5G
Helium is currently at the start of its 5G rollout using the same implementation methods as their existing LoRaWAN, IoT-driven, revolutionary network. That means they’re offering HNT as an incentive to install 5G-enabled hotspots in your building(s) or residence(s) in order to rapidly establish a fully decentralized solution for fifth-generation wireless communication. It makes sense that a faster wireless internet would have enormous impacts on all digital technologies, including the world of blockchain, crypto, and DeFi. What’s even more interesting is the potential impact that blockchain and crypto will have on the future of 5G.
What’s Up With 5G?
At the end of the day, the internet as we know it and all digital networks are simply a means for device-to-device communication. Whether that communication is wired or wireless, it depends on some form of physical infrastructure. Be it dial-up, fiber optics, radio technology, or something else, communication networks offer a bit of magic in the form of practically instantaneous consumption and delivery of information at the expense of real, tangible hardware operating behind the scenes.
5G, or the 5th generation of wireless communication technology, is essentially an upgrade in the hardware (and software) that handle cellular device-to-device communication. In particular, 5G refers to the wireless communication network infrastructure that will dramatically improve our ability to rapidly send large amounts of data back and forth on mobile phones, IoT devices, and mission-critical devices (smart cars, remote medical devices, drones, etc…).
All mobile networks rely on radio waves to wirelessly send information to and from devices. 5G makes use of low, mid, and high band frequencies to ensure a wider range of carrying capacity. Relying on these frequencies isn’t new or innovative in itself, but the ways that 5G makes use of them is. With features like high precision transmitting and “network slicing”, 5G offers dramatic improvements in the number of devices and amount of information that can be communicated at once.
This increased capacity is hugely important considering data traffic grows at a rate of roughly 60% each year and the number of devices on a network continues to increase by 25% annually. With 5G, we can expect a 100x improvement in data rates with estimated speeds of 10 gigabits per second and as much as 1 million active devices per square kilometer. These mind-boggling metrics are achievable because 5G can “slice” up the network to essentially create segmented pathways that fit specific device needs.
For the average consumer, this means incredibly fast video downloads/uploads, better FaceTiming, improved mobile VR/AR capabilities, and all-around speedier and more efficient cellular communication. For larger organizations, this can pave the way for a much more robust and securely connected future of network-reliant innovations.
Sounds Great! What’s the Catch?
With the way that cellular communications are currently set up around the globe (centralized & costly), the implementation of 5G is astronomically expensive, difficult, and uncertain. There’s a reason we’ve been hearing about 5G for years now and haven’t really reaped much of the benefits, even as large-scale networks from the major carriers have been activated. Most of the current iterations of 5G are really piggy-backing on upgraded versions of 4G LTE infrastructure. As it stands, the major telecom providers are still struggling to identify the most efficient ways to meet the physical requirements that 5G creates within their existing centralized hardware paradigms.
There are a number of hurdles that have added to the slow rollout of 5G networks, but one of the largest involves the need for huge amounts of cell towers to facilitate high-band frequency communication in densely populated urban areas. High-band radio waves have the greatest bandwidth and speeds, but the shortest physical range for transmission, hence the need for a higher density of towers.
This has led many network providers to rely more on upgraded 4G LTE towers that can produce mid-range frequencies over a wider distance. The bulk of current networks are primarily using this method to deliver a version of 5G that most analysts say “is largely indistinguishable from 4G LTE service”. As Jared Council notes in his piece for The Wall Street Journal, “wireless services with speeds notably better than what’s available today may not reach most Americans until later this year at the earliest.”
The only feasible way for network providers to accomplish true 5G coverage with high-band frequency capabilities is through enormous “small cell” deployments. A “Small Cell” is essentially a radio access node that’s smaller and uses less energy than older cell towers. According to a 2018 report by Commscope, “40 percent of operators expect to deploy between 100 and 350 small cells per square kilometer (indoors and outdoors) in the areas they densify by 2020.” Each individual small cell requires some form of real estate, physical installation and a power source, making this a herculean task for most telecom companies.
Helium is sidestepping that entire fiasco by utilizing their now widely popular, crypto-incentivized, decentralized network implementation strategy. Rather than worry about building, owning, operating, and updating the infrastructure involved with the centralized ownership of a 5G network, Helium is placing the power into the hands of the people. Basically, they’re turning their individually owned hotspots into humble but powerful 5G small cell radio nodes. So, while companies like Verizon or T-Mobile will have to construct and manage thousands of 5G radio nodes and other costly setups within every single city, Helium can accomplish the same network communication by decentralizing and distributing the infrastructure at less than a fraction of the cost. And each owner of that 5G hotspot is subsequently and continuously rewarded in HNT for its activation and utilization.
Where Blockchain & 5G Meet
A faster cellular connection is better for pretty much all digital technologies. With 5G, blockchain-based networks and applications can have the capacity and speed to accomplish so much more than they currently do, particularly in the context of wireless communication. This is all pretty obvious to the average tech consumer, but the actual implications are far from fully realized.
What’s not so obvious are the ways that 5G networks can benefit from (and might even require) blockchain technology to properly function. Sure, we could probably live in a blockchain-free world with 5G cellular communication and achieve amazing results for the average Youtuber on the go. The thing is, massive IoT and mission-critical device networks don’t operate in the same vein. These types of networks truly require security, transparency, and decentralization when it comes to their real-world operational capabilities. Put more plainly, a 5G-enabled smartphone getting hacked or receiving corrupted data might end in a bad day for someone. On the other hand, a 5G-enabled smart car or remote medical technology having the same issues could be catastrophic.
This has always been the primary reason for big tech firms investing in blockchain technology, especially early on. While many might believe in the inevitable future of cryptocurrency, their focus has mainly been on the security and transparency that blockchain tech can provide within communication networks. 5G networks aren’t any more or less secure than 4G or below. They simply provide an avenue to produce and disseminate an exponentially larger amount of successfully connected IoT (and adjacent) devices. The more devices there are, the more necessary a blockchain-style infrastructure becomes, both for security and operational reasons.
Want to Join Helium’s 5G Network?
With the help of FreedomFi, their 5G device manufacturing partner, Helium will officially start sending out their 5G-enabled hotspots into the world as of this week. This is an incredible moment and the first step towards us all understanding the true benefits of decentralized, blockchain-based networks when combined with 5G technology. Helium has stated that their 5G network is meant to be utilized by both smartphones and IoT devices, but the true number of potential use-cases is still unknown. These are exciting times for two very exciting technologies.
Regardless of whether you’ll use the Helium 5G network or any other 5G network for that matter, you can still be a part of this new wave and earn HNT in the process. As we mentioned at the top, Helium is essentially copying its existing methodology for a decentralized network infrastructure implementation by incentivizing people with its native crypto token (HNT).
You don’t need to own IoT devices or have any particular interest in 5G communications to get rewarded in HNT (valued at ~ $18 at the time of writing). All it takes is installing a small hotspot (FreedomFi Gateway) in your home with a 5G radio attachment (CBRS small cell) that will function as both a LoRaWAN and 5G data transmitter. All communications to and from that device are entirely encrypted and contained via the Helium blockchain, so there’s no worry about your home network or devices having any interaction or conflict with the network. In essence, Helium is paying you in HNT to install a miniature 5G cellular tower (actually the size of the average modem or router) which will have practically no noticeable impact on your life, other than earning you a healthy passive income.
How to Join the 5G Helium Network “Risk-Free” with JAG
The only downside to the 5G Helium Hotspot situation is that the waitlists for getting a FreedomFi Gateway and CBRS small cell radio attachment are extremely long and the cost for procurement and installation is estimated to be $1,000-$5,000, depending on the capabilities of the device. Fortunately, there are options to sort of “test out” the idea of being a node in the Helium 5G network while earning HNT with significantly diminished wait times or financial risk. One solution that seems to stand out among the rest is a Helium device procurement and installation agency called JAG Industrials.
JAG works with Helium Hotspot manufacturers to secure and install devices into any home or building with zero upfront cost to the owner. They subsidize the cost of the device, installation, and management. In return, JAG simply takes a commission on your HNT earnings each month while helping you ensure that your device setup is as optimal as possible. This makes it easy for anyone who’s interested in earning HNT with either Helium’s LoRaWAN or 5G Hotspots. Rather than sit on an excruciatingly long waitlist so that you can spend over $1k (at least), JAG enables you to get started earning HNT faster and with a significantly reduced cost for the device or installation.
Earn HNT with Helium 5G Hotspots ASAP by Applying with JAG Today!
If you are not interesting in mining HNT and would rather invest in the token there are just a few major exchanges that trade hundreds of thousands of HNT daily. You’ll want to create an account at one of the below exchanges to set up a Helium wallet and make your first investment in HNT.