What is the Speed Test for Helium 5G Miners?
The speed test is a program that automatically runs on all Helium 5G gateways in order to measure backhaul speeds - i.e. the speed of the gateway's internet connection. The tests also measure other metrics such as latency and uptime. Speed tests do not measure the connection speed of attached radios or the speed a device would experience while connected to a radio and only measure the speed of the connection from the gateway to the internet.
Why is Speed Being Tested?
In order to ensure the quality of service level for users connecting to Helium 5G radios, gateways must provide at least the minimum internet connection speed to ensure data offload from phones operates smoothly. If gateways are allowed to operate with too low of speed for backhaul connections, this will negatively impact the experience of anyone connecting to these radios and as such, will negatively impact usage of the Helium 5G network.
Why are gateways without high speed connections being rewarded at all? Many locations where CBRS connectivity is being deployed, including some rural areas, do not always have the high-speed Internet connectivity needed to meet the acceptable Internet requirements for Genesis rewards consistently. Often these areas don't have good cellular coverage either. Nova Labs believes it is essential to still incentivize Helium deployments in less well-connected areas.
How are Speed Test Results Calculated?
Detailed information on how speed tests operate can be found on the MOBILE Proof of Coverage page of the Helium Docs. Here's a quick break down:
- Speed tests are run randomly twice each 24-hour period.
- Newly onboarded hotspots will run their first speed test at a random time within the first 12 hours of onboarding.
- If when running a speed test the system is unable to get results, the test will re-run every 30 minutes until able to get results.
- Speed tests measure download speed, upload speed, and latency (response time).
- The speed test results shown on Helium Explorer and used for calculating rewards are a rolling average based on the previous two to six speed test results. This means any changes to results (both good or bad) will not have an immediate full impact as they will be averaged with older test results.
- The poorest result of all measured metrics is used as the overall speed test tier rating for the gateway. This means if all other results are "Acceptable" but latency is "Degraded", the speed test results for your gateway will be "Degraded".
What are the Speed Test Tier Levels?
Each of the speed test metrics (download speed, upload speed, and latency) is rated according to a minimum result which can be found in the chart below:
The lowest metric result is used as the overall speed test rating for the gateway.
How Does the Speed Test Affect Rewards?
Speed test results are averaged for up to 6 previous speed tests. The lowest metric result of this average is then assigned as the overall speed test rating for the gateway.
Radios operated by the gateway are assigned a radio coverage weighting based on the type of radio/expected amount of coverage provided:
*Currently, the only High-Power Outdoor Radio is the
The overall gateway speed test rating is applied with the radio coverage weighting for each specific radio to give final reward multiplier earned by that radio:
In order to earn the maximum amount of MOBILE rewards for each radio, you should strive to meet or exceed the "Acceptable" rating level on all metrics - 100Mbps download, 10Mbps upload, and under 50ms latency.
How Can You Test Your Speed?
At this time there is no way to manually trigger a speed test or to view the results of a specific speed test locally. Check the Helium Explorer 5G Statistics tab or the Bobber App/Cloud Dashboard for information on your current speed test rating based on the rolling average.
The most effective way to troubleshoot speed issues when the internet connection should be sufficient is to disconnect the Ethernet cable from the WAN port of the Bobber 500 gateway and connect it to the Ethernet port of a PC or laptop. On the PC or laptop, use a web browser to run a speed test using a website such as Ookla's speedtest.net and examine the results. If the results are not up to expectations, the issue lies somewhere downstream from the Bobber 500 unit - from the Ethernet cable to the router/ISP connection.
How Can You Improve Your Speed Test Results?
The most frequent cause of speed tests being lower than expected is the use of older "10/100" networking equipment. Ethernet ports on routers, switches, and other equipment function at either 10/100Mbps OR 1000Mbps (gigabit). If your speed tests are routinely in the high 90Mbps range, this is a likely cause. Any equipment between the Bobber 500 and the ISP router (up to and including the router itself) will need to be upgraded if it is using legacy 10/100 hardware.
Ensure all Ethernet cabling in use is Category 5e or higher. Category 5 cabling supports a maximum bandwidth of 100Mbps, while Cat5e and above support gigabit+ speeds. Ensure all Ethernet cable runs are under 100 meters maximum length as any additional length can attenuate the signal and cause transmission issues and reduced speeds.
Ensure the ISP connection utilized by the Bobber 500 supports the required speeds. For example, if your ISP connection supplies 30Mbps download and 5Mbps upload, you will need to pay for a higher tier plan with additional speed to qualify for maximum rewards.
If you make an improvement to networking cable, equipment, or ISP connection speed it can take up to three days to see the new speed fully reflected in the speed test rating. This is due to the speed test being a rolling average of the previous 6 speed tests, and the fact that two speed tests occur per 24 hour period.
How Can You Monitor Your Speed Test Results?
The Helium Explorer 5G Statistics tab shows the most up-to-date rolling average speed test result and can help pinpoint which metric is lowering your score if there are issues.
You can also use the Bobber App/Cloud Dashboard to remotely view current speed test data and identify a metric impacting your score. The Bobber App dashboard will show many useful data points including:
- Last heartbeat recorded for your gateway/radios
- Number of radios attached to the gateway
- Date and time of last recorded speed test
- Results of latest speed test rolling average, including download, upload, and latency
- Speed test reward multiplier from 0x to 1x (this is not the radio type multiplier, that can be found by expanding the gateway information and is listed under each radio)
- and more!
Hovering over or tapping on any specific reading will give more detailed information, such as the minimum speeds required for full rewards.
The Bobber App dashboard also contains a handy breakdown chart explaining the speed test results and showing the rewards associated with each result.