Helium Coverage Map — Internet of the Things

Internet of the Things (IoT) market analysis

The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic caused worldwide spending in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector to take a significant dip but thankfully, double-digit rebounds are expected soon (IDC, 2020). These rebounds are expected to put us back on track with pre-COVID 2025 IoT device connection estimates.

IoT device connections refer to the vast network of digital sensors that relay data over internet networks to give us real-time data analytics.

There are currently more than 27.1 billion connected IoT devices worldwide today (Cisco, 2016) and this number is expected to grow to 30.9 billion by 2025(Statista, 2020).

Cellular-based IoT vs LPWA IoT

In many ways, noncellular low power-wide area networks are the answer to the high barrier to entry placed by Telco's over the IoT industry with satellite-based cellular IoT connectivity.

A low-power wide-area network is a type of wireless telecommunication wide area network designed to allow long-range communications at a low bit rate among devices, such as digital sensors operated on a battery.

With so many IoT device connections, there are multiple technologies present in the LPWA IoT market.

Current LPWA IoT technologies are broadly classified into two categories:

  1. Massive Machine‐type Communications in 5G
  2. Noncellular LPWA technologies

Massive Machine‐type Communications

Cellular companies in the 5G LPWA space have narrowed down to two technologies that operate in the licensed spectrum: NB-IoT and CAT-M1 or LTE-M.

Narrowband — Internet of Things (NB-IoT)

NB-IoT is a narrowband radio technology that allows for M2M (Machine2Machine) communication and Internet of the Things (IoT) wireless data transmission over an extensive range at a relatively low cost and with battery life expectancies averaging of more than 10 years for constrained digital sensors.

CAT-M1 or LTE for machine-type communications (LTE-M)

CAT-M1 is a low bandwidth option available for existing cellular LTE networks. This IoT technology is best for battery-powered devices that can save power by sleeping between connections.

Noncellular LPWA technologies

Several noncellular technologies are operating in the non-licensed spectrum.

LoRaWAN Communication

LoRaWAN is a proprietary low-power wide-area network modulation technique. It is based on spread spectrum modulation techniques derived from chirp spread spectrum technology.


A low-cost, global wireless network with out-of-the-box connectivity along with low and predictable power consumption.

Nodle — Polkadot’s Decentralized IoT Network

Decentralized wireless network powered by millions of smartphones & BLE-enabled devices.

Nodle — Crypto

The Nodle Network is a global network, with 5 million daily active nodes and 100 million devices connected every week across 100+ countries.

You’re able to earn Nodle Cash by connecting to nearby IoT devices.


The Helium network is a decentralized wireless network that is powered by Helium Hotspots.

Helium Hotspots

Helium is attempting to build a global non-cellular LPWA network by asking normal people to buy and operate Helium Hotspots for them.


Helium ‘LongFi’

Similar to LoRa’s proprietary network LoRaWAN, Helium LongFi is a proprietary wireless protocol created by Helium to connect to IoT devices.

On one hand Helium’s LongFi connects to IoT sensors, and on the other, it rewards Helium nodes with its blockchain technology. Helium blockchain is based on a new, novel work algorithm and rewards miners in HNT.

Photo by Helium on Twitter

However unlike Bitcoin which will require ‘more electricity than Argentina’, Helium uses an innovative proof-of-work model called Proof-of-Coverage, this results in the Hotspots only requiring 5W of energy.

People connect the Hotspot to their WiFi and put it in their window so the devices can pull in data from Helium’s IoT sensors over its open-source LongFi protocol. The Hotspots then encrypt and send the data to the company’s cloud that clients can plug into to track and collect info from their devices.

Only 150–200 Hotspots are necessary to blanket a city in connectivity. Not because of range limitations but because they need to be distributed across the landscape, so a client can’t just fill their warehouse with the Hotspots.

The greatest attraction of owning a Helium Hotspot is that it acts as a cryptocurrency miner.

Helium IoT Miner Price

Hotspots provide miles of wireless network coverage for millions of devices around you using Helium LongFi, and you are rewarded in HNT for doing this.

Photo by Helium on Twitter

Hotspot rewards depend on quite a few factors, from the total amount of Hotspots online to share in the monthly pool of rewards, the number of nearby Hotspots for Proof of Coverage, and how high of an altitude and clear view you have for your Hotspot. Helium Docs shows a full breakdown of token rewards.

Check out Helium Explorer to see current and historical rewards for Hotspots around the world.

There’s a range of distributors and places that authorized Helium Hotspots are currently available from worldwide.


Nebra is an industrial and IoT solutions provider and reseller based in the United Kingdom.

Nebra Hotspots are available in all regions:

Indoor Hotspot: [http://nebra.io/hntin]

Outdoor Hotspot: [http://nebra.io/hntout]

Helium Store

Browse compatible Helium Hotspots available in your region from the Helium Store:

All compatible Hotspots: https://www.helium.com/store

LPWA Market Forecast

Cellular IoT (NB-IoT and LTE-M) technologies are forecasted to have spiraling growth after 2022. So much so that by 2026, cellular IoT technologies will account for two-thirds of all LPWA device connections.


If current market forecasts are to be taken into account, the IoT market is set to experience consistent growth in all sectors over the next several years.

Cellular IoT device connections will see a steep as commercial manufacturing processes start relying more heavily on IoT sensors.

This isn’t a result of non-cellular IoT technologies becoming obsolete. Rather this just goes to show the vast number of Telco’s involved in the space. As well as their ability to scale operations over a short period.

Noncellular LPWA IoT can and will be used for the same use cases as cellular IoT provided that there is available coverage.

The Helium Network is still in its infancy and as time progresses we’ll see more use-case applications developed on the Network using its available functionalities to perform asset tracking, building monitoring, sustainable agriculture, health monitoring, and a lot more.


Cisco, _Global — 2021 Forecast Highlights,_ PDF release, viewed 20 April 2021, (https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/m/en_us/solutions/service-provider/vni-forecast-highlights/pdf/Global_2021_Forecast_Highlights.pdf).

International Data Corporation (IDC), _Worldwide Spending on the Internet of Things Will Slow in 2020 Then Return to Double-Digit Growth, According to a New IDC Spending Guide,_ website, viewed 20 April 2021, (https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS46609320).

Statista, _Internet of Things (IoT) and non-IoT active device connections worldwide from 2010 to 2025(in billions),_ website, viewed 20 April 2021, (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1101442/iot-number-of-connected-devices-worldwide/).



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store