Read DeWi, a decentralized wireless network

Wireless networks are gateways to the internet, but they are not transparent, and that will soon change. Telecommunications services have controlled the communications stack for decades. As the internet transforms, hosting 4K video and millions of IoT sensors, some question whether the telecom industry can serve the next generation of internet users.

Traditional wireless networks are limited by bandwidth, congestion, service latency, and outages, and in addition to determining proper network coverage, users must deal with these complex and costly issues. Many others do not have access to the Internet at all. A Cornell University study found that “network coverage is nearly 15 percent lower in low-income areas than in wealthier areas,” leading to the differentiation of mobile devices. Since many people in low-income communities access the Internet primarily via mobile phones, adequate internet coverage is essential. As a result, Decentralized Wireless (DeWi) was born.

Decentralized wireless networks (DeWi) aim to revolutionize the way communications networks are built, operated, and owned by encouraging operators to deploy and maintain telecom hardware in exchange for token rewards.

Thanks to the popularity of mobile phones, 66 per cent of the world’s population has access to the Internet, up from 7 per cent in 2000. The connectivity and accessibility of the Internet continues to expand around the world, and the amount of data generated with it will only increase. The rise of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things, smart cities, and virtual reality has increased the global demand for higher bandwidth and lower latency networks. Traditional wireless (TradWi) network operators will not be able to keep up with this increased demand.

Before diving into DeWi, we should take a look at traditional communication infrastructure. It’s worth noting that telcos typically deploy new wireless networks every ten years. This process often involves the following aspects:

  • Tens of billions of dollars in debt to fund capital expenditures and operating expenses.
  • Purchase government spectrum licenses.
  • Leverage third-party manufacturers to manufacture proprietary hardware.
  • Identify owners who are willing to install towers and radios within their property rights.
  • Mobilize thousands of field technicians to install and maintain complex equipment.

The top-down network building model used by telcos is not suitable for next-generation wireless networks. New network technologies such as 5G require a much larger number of radios and antennas, which telcos cannot afford. Telecommunications models have historically prioritized coverage of densely populated areas, resulting in inadequate coverage in many rural areas with small populations.

There have been some exciting changes in the telecommunications services sector over the past few years. These three important shifts have laid the groundwork for today’s adoption of DeWi: eSIM going mainstream, open wireless spectrum, blockchain technology, and more advanced wireless hardware.

Apple released the iPhone 14 last month, with one significant difference from previous iPhones: no longer with a physical SIM card slot. The latest iPhones support a digital alternative called eSIM, where users can activate an eSIM by scanning a QR code. This is an important step forward for DeWi cellular networks as it reduces carrier switching costs to near zero. Because the iPhone 14 has 6 eSIM slots, users can install a DeWi eSIM alongside their existing legacy carrier’s eSIM and use both cellular networks.

The Helium network is a new decentralized network dedicated to solving these systemic, expensive, and unfair problems by introducing an overlay mode operated by a cluster of nodes, where each node emits radio waves from its location. Thousands of people can easily earn rewards for more reliable network coverage and contribute to building a strong network by allowing broad participation by all those who own a wireless hotspot.

While Helium offers an entirely new way of building the web and opens up space like the Internet’s open source initiative, it’s unlikely to be a technology that works for everyone.

Telcos are designed to cater entirely to consumers, increasing speed and coverage, but their contract terms are too restrictive and trustworthy. Telcos don’t offer flexible fees or coverage for businesses using IoT devices, as well as low-power and high-range services, which are where IoT is headed.

How does it all tie together?

The Helium network uses a proprietary algorithm called Proof of Coverage, which verifies where hotspots are located. Proof of coverage will always confirm that the hotspot is emitting wireless network coverage from a specific location. It uses radio frequency (RF) technology to generate confirmation messages to help the network operate. According to the company, proof of coverage is based on three key characteristics: RF distance, RF strength, and RF speed. They use a PoC challenge algorithm that checks hotspots to ensure coverage is broadcast from their declared locations.

A “challenge” consists of a hotspot that initiates the challenge, a hotspot that receives a challenge, and a nearby “witness” who reports the challenge to the network as real. The challenger hotspot first generates a public/private key pair for the challenge. The SHA256 algorithm is then submitted to the blockchain as a proof-of-challenge request along with the public/private key. If the request is valid, the blockchain receives the request and creates a new block using the challenger’s identity and public key hash. Hotspots issue proofs of challenge every 360 blocks and earn HNT (Helium’s token). Data from hotspots, once checked and verified, is stored in the Helium blockchain.

Nova Labs, Helium’s development company, has announced that they intend to transform Helium into a decentralized platform where any type of telecommunications network can be accommodated. This strategic change transformed Helium into a network in a network. On various networks such as 5G, WiFi, VPN, CDN, etc., the rapid expansion of the “long-range wide area network” (LoRaWAN) can be replicated.

With the success of Helium’s LoRaWAN network, Helium has inspired many new DeWi network projects based on the Helium model. There are more than 14 existing DeWi networks, including cellular, WiFi, LoRaWAN, Bluetooth, and hybrid networks:

  • 5G networks (cellular): The Helium 5G and Pollen Mobile networks use the recently deregulated CBRS spectrum and are two prominent networks in the 5G category. Compared to other network market sizes, the market opportunity for cellular networks is the largest.
  • WiFi network: The DeWi WiFi network aims to create a globally shared WiFi network that anyone can connect to for free. WayRu and WiFi Dabba are two early projects in this space.
  • LoRaWAN (Internet of Things): LoRaWAN is a low-power long-range wireless communication protocol that is ideal for sending small data packets (such as sensor data) over long distances, making it the network of choice for IoT devices. Helium and Foam also fall into this category.
  • Bluetooth low energy networking: Bluetooth low energy networks are ideal for low-power short-range applications. Nodle is a Bluetooth mesh network that uses smartphones and Bluetooth low energy routers to connect IoT devices to the internet.
  • Hybrid networking: Decentralized internet connectivity is performed through a hybrid network that combines various wireless technologies into a single solution. Althea and World Mobile Token are two examples of this.

Here we have a few examples of DeWi networks to explore and understand, and these networks are being developed to build their own products.


HNT: The token of the Helium network

At the time of writing, HNT is trading at $6.64, with a market cap of $1.5 billion and a circulating supply of $100 million HNT.

The percentage of reward distribution for HNT depends on whether the node is a challenger, challenged, or witness, and the type of work performed is verification, data transfer, or publishing a new block to the network. In addition, HNT mining is done using radio technology, while traditional mining uses energy-intensive GPUs.

The DeWi network, on the other hand, employs a new type of token distribution mechanism that rewards participants for performing verifiable work in the real world. This incentive system is responsible for the economic flywheel so that the network can be launched with the help of no centralized entity.

The protocol incentivizes participants to steer the supply side of the network until it is broad enough for end users to use. This allows the protocol to gain adoption and the initial momentum needed to compete with centralized telecommunications services. By building the supply side of the network, operators gain ownership of the advantages of the network, which motivates them to commit to the success of the network.

What are the advantages of De Wi over traditional wireless networks?

The most significant advantage of DeWi network deployment over traditional wireless networks is lower CAPEX and OPEX. Building a network the traditional way requires a centralized entity to spend tens of billions of dollars on spectrum licenses and vendor-specified proprietary hardware, lease land for deployment, pay thousands of field technicians to install and maintain equipment, and maintain a vast back-end infrastructure for planning, onboarding, billing, and customer support.

Operators can use DeWi to automatically enter into revenue sharing agreements based on the revenue generated by each hardware device. In a traditional wireless network deployment, the operator must pay a fixed fee to the landlord of the land for which it is deployed. Not only is DeWi’s revenue sharing model more efficient, it also allows landlords to verify the revenue from the hardware on their property and then share it.


Next-generation wireless networks require a non-traditional deployment model. Historically, macrocell radios mounted on large cell towers or masts have provided cellular networks that cover a wide geographic area. But the problem with macrocells is that they offer a low-frequency range, and 5G networks, unlike older generation cellular networks, require higher frequency bands to increase bandwidth. DeWi offers a more cost-effective solution for deploying 5G networks. DeWi will not replace traditional wireless networks, but can be used as a complementary network. DeWi allows users around the world to build networks in parallel, which is much faster than centralized methods. Participants who know their reach can focus on deploying infrastructure that meets local market needs. With the macro coverage of traditional wireless networks and the small cell coverage of DeWi, 5G networks will become more accessible worldwide.


Decentralized networks are the future of telecommunication services. Nova Labs is ready to expand and strengthen its reach. The DeWi space is still in its infancy, but its potential to transform the telecommunications industry is undeniable. A large number of fast-growing protocols are vying for share of the DeWi cellular market, showing the huge opportunity potential of this market.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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