We know that rewards have been extremely hit and miss for this past month. We also know, to some extent, why. The interval for challenges and beacons has been increased exponentially to try and cope with the rapid expansion of the network in it's current form. Many hotspots have gone from beaconing multiple times per day to sometimes only once a week. This in turn directly affects witness counts and therefore, rewards.
HIP 55 and the relevant changes that it brings to the network should solve this issue, and get everyones rewards back to where they should be.
The core developers have tagged a new 2022.04.19.0 miner release. This release is mandatory for all Hotspot Makers. This update contains Light Hotspot software, and when activated via chain variable on May 3 2022, will change how Hotspots receive challenges, remove block sync from Hotspots, and stabilize Hotspot performance.
This will allow the approved HIP 55 chain variable to be activated and prepare for the activation of Light Hotspots.
What is a Light Hotspot?
Light Hotspots are the evolution of how LoRaWAN gateways will interact with the Helium blockchain. Since the genesis block, the Helium blockchain has run entirely on the physical Hotspot itself. As the blockchain network grows, each Hotspot running a full node undergoes increasing load and are starting to fall out of sync due to the higher compute requirements.
To mitigate this, the Hotspot's consensus work has been moved off of physical Hotspots and onto Validators. This simplifies the architecture and enables us to grow the Network exponentially while keeping blocktimes and epochs stable.
As all approved Hotspots transition to a Light Hotspot architecture, Helium will also introduce a new type of Hotspot known as Data Only Hotspots, to satisfy the increasing demand and continue to expand network coverage.
What to expect on May 3 (activation day): Hotspots will stop following the chain. Hotspots will connect to a Validator. Hotspots will receive challenges from Validators. Hotspots will beacon, witness, and transfer packets.
In theory, this is the future proofing that the People's Network needs to keep pushing forward and expanding, whilst making it a worthwhile venture for Hotspot Owners and investors.