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Suddenly lost contact to spot - long range
#1

After update 10/02 noticed earning dropped off. My only current spot neighbor is 5+ miles away.

https://engineering.helium.com/2020/10/0...s-poc.html

Spreading factor changes and how they may affect Proof of Coverage

In order to comply with local North American and European regulations, we added an undocumented update to PoC to correct the spreading factor used by PoC packets.
This change was deployed along with a recent maintenance update, but was not communicated. We’re sorry about the late communication, but given the importance of complying with regulations we wanted to deploy this as quickly as possible.

Why was this change made?
Thanks to testing and verification of members of the community, we realized that PoC packets were being sent with the longest range possible in all cases. Instead, we needed to set the spreading factor based on the size of the packet (which is directly correlated with the number of Hotspots in the challenge path).

What is spreading factor and why does it matter?
There are resources online to learn more about data rate and spreading factor if you want to dive into the specifics of how LoRa works, but here’s a high level overview.
LoRa uses what is known as a “chirp” protocol and spreading factors are the duration of the “chirp”. Typically you’re looking at a range of SF7 to SF12 where the 7 is the shortest time on air. Each step up doubles the time on air to transmit the same amount of data and increases the range. Due to local restrictions, we are limited by max payload sizes to certain spreading factors, usually SF8 and SF9 for most packets.

How does this affect currently issued PoCs?
Because we are now dynamically adjusting spreading factor based on packet size, PoC paths with a larger number of Hotspots and over longer distances may not complete. There are a variety of things that we could have considered including forcing all witness lists to reset over a shorter interval temporarily but we decided not to do that since it would create other disruptions.

Does this impact my earnings?
Possibly. This change can impact earnings for some Hotspots if the newer spreading factors result in existing witnesses being out of range. If the Hotspot isn’t able to complete a PoC challenge with a witness that it was able to reach earlier, the failed challenge will not earn HNT.
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