Looking for real Helium hotspots in Hong Kong, i started to wonder how much real data traffic the Helium network is seeing around the world. With a simple script accessing the Helium blockchain API i found out that out of the more than half a million hotspots reported on Explorer, the most active 7,000 hotspots are handling 90% of all data traffic. The top 20 of those are probably probably related to testing because they see 10 to 60 packets per minute and are concentrated mainly in Taiwan, with a few in Germany too.

Here is an interactive Google map of the 2,000 most active hotspots, in term of real data packets, in the week 9-16 Feb 2022. This set represents 70% of the total real data traffic on the Helium network in that week (note: Google does not allow more than 2,000 points in 1 layer). There are about 20 hotspots that do not show up because the API failed but that’s only 1%, so doesn’t change the picture much and i didn’t bother to fix it.


We can see that, as expected, real use of the Helium network is mostly in Europe (around 60%) and the USA (around 10%). For a full list of countries, see Github.

But as everybody involved with the Helium network knows, something fishy is going on in China; thousands of hotspots in Explorer, but none of them see any real data traffic, except maybe a few test devices

China hotspots on the Explorer, looking good from afar
Explorer zooming in on China hotspots, looking slightly suspicious but apparently too difficult for any algorithm to spot large scale location spoofing

Helium LoRaWAN network – most active hotspots mapped (data packet traffic)

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