LoRa antenna

The future of LoRa antennas

Some churches have a very surprising source of income: cell phone towers hidden inside their tall steeples. In many towns, church steeples are the tallest structure around, especially because churches are often exempt from height restrictions.

Telco companies like Sprint will even approach churches that don’t have steeples and offer to foot the bill to build a tall new one. One church administrator remarked, “We were basically a square box before. Now we look more like a church”. And for churches–which are always in fundraising mode–the money isn’t bad: One of America’s most famous churches, The National Cathedral in Washington, is paid roughly $100,000 per year by Motorola for access to its 234-foot tower.

A new crypto project, Helium, is building a ubiquitous WiFi network—and in the process, offering the same kinds of financial incentives to individuals in exchange for deploying small antennas in their homes. The project offers stock hardware that people can use to create a locally-accessible WiFi network, but some ecommerce sellers are offering more powerful antennas that help miners increase their income.

The Helium structure

While the crypto market is valuable, with the top four coins worth over a trillion dollars, it hasn't produced many physical, as opposed to virtual, goods. The Helium protocol requires both online and real-world interaction; it's a cryptocurrency that can be traded like others, but the way users mine it is by providing WiFi connectivity to other members of the network.

Some users who work in physical offices will buy one antenna for their home and one for their office, to maximize earnings—but unlike many other crypto projects, Helium's structure makes winner-take-all dynamics difficult, and encourages there to be a more distributed, small number of users in every location rather than a large number of centralized ones.

LoRa (long-range) antennas are early in their cycle; the Amazon listings for LoRa antennas have just a few dozen reviews apiece. But they're going after a massive industry: two different cell tower companies, American Tower and Crown Castle, are on the Fortune 500 list of the US's largest corporations.


(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)