Here’s our latest update on production, ROCK Pi miner status, the Nebra Light Hotspot, 5G, Nebra Dashboard updates and more plans for 2022!
In our last update you will remember we mentioned shipping 6k outdoor miners. Those have now all been shipped out, taking our total number of shipped units to over 50k pcs. We have just under 30k units “on chain” that have been onboarded to the network. We are this week working on reprogramming and retesting some miners that did not pass testing the first time round but have been reworked with new parts. This is about 2k units of indoor that are undergoing this process as we speak. We also have received shipments of lots of parts for the ROCK Pi miners (more on that below) and have started the assembly process for those already.
As mentioned in the previous update, we currently anticipate that all existing pre-orders will be fulfilled by the end of Q1. We will keep you updated with further progress as we move forward.
ROCK Pi Indoor Miner progress
FYI – to learn more about our change over to the ROCK Pi miner, please refer to this update.
We’re happy to announce that the ROCK Pi Indoor miner has passed the initial audit tests from DeWi. All that remains is for the device to get the CE/FCC certificates.
We have units currently with the certification test house, and they should hopefully be approved by the middle of January. The testing shouldn’t take too long because many of the components that make up the miner (ROCK Pi & LoRa Concentrator) are already CE/FCC approved. The only piece that isn’t CE approved is the board connecting the ROCK Pi and LoRa Concentrator and that does not have any additional radios on it. We’ll let you know as soon as we have news on this as we’re expecting the results any day now.
In tandem, we’re prepping our manufacturing to hit the ground running this month to start producing thousands of ROCK Pi miners.
Here’s a sneak peak at the final design of the packaging:
When will the ROCK Pi miner start shipping?
We started receiving regular drops of ROCK Pi miners during December, which will continue throughout 2022. We have enough components to produce 13,000 units in January, then 30,000 in February & March. The reason we’re producing a lower number in January is due to Chinese New Year which runs from the 25th January to the 8th February.
We have scheduled components orders that could add to this 30,000 number, but we’ve had many component deliveries slip this year due to the global chip shortage. Therefore we’re being cautious and waiting for components to arrive with our factory before letting you know. This production schedule will clear our entire backlog plus have units left over to sell.
Nebra Light Hotspot
As many of you may know, all miners at some point will be switching over to Light Hotspots. Please note that all current “full” miners will automatically switch to the Light Hotspot protocol with an over-the-air software update. There’s nothing you need to do to make this happen. Please head over to the Helium website if you want to read more about the Light Hotspots and Validators.
During the Holidays, we received notice from DeWi that our Light Hotspot will be audited between the week of January 10th and January 17th. As soon as we know the outcome, we’ll let you know. Similar to the ROCK Pi miner, we expect the audit to go smoothly. It will still require the CE/FCC tests before we can entirely pass…these are underway as we speak also.
The case, antenna, and power supply will be in a special edition Nebra blue colour for our first batch of Light Hotspots. We’ll provide more info on this product as soon as the audit is complete.
Nebra 5G Ready Hotspot
As you have probably seen Helium are adding a second wireless network protocol to the Helium Network – this is 5G (also will work with LTE). This works via CBRS (citizen’s broadband radio service) which is a portion of radio spectrum around 3.5GHz frequency which can be used unlicensed by operators of approved LTE / 5G small cells to provide coverage indoors and in high volume areas or areas with no coverage at all. In the future, similar devices will be able to route paid traffic over WiFi as well.
This brings a huge amount of potential new opportunities and players into the Helium Network and this kind of development is fantastic to see. Worldwide, governments are looking at approving CBRS-like opportunities in spectrums that make sense in those jurisdictions so whilst only currently possible in the USA this should roll out to more destinations as time goes on.
On that note, our hardware and software teams have already got started on 5G ready hotspots and you can see the first production prototypes in the images below:
The Nebra 5G Ready Gateway uses an Intel Quad Core processor, has 8 GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. It can connect to up to three 5G/LTE small cells, has optional WiFi and Bluetooth capability and a built in LoRa radio and GPS/GNSS as well (so it will work as an ordinary Helium hotspot as well as over 5G/LTE). We are targeting a price point for the gateway of around £850.
Currently the plans for 5G and LTE from Helium and DeWi are not entirely finalised, however pending their plans being announced our expectation is that we will get this working initially using the standard Helium Network LoRa protocol and miner and retail it as “5G ready” hardware – where we can push out a software update to upgrade it to the 5G capability when the time comes.
We plan to have this ready around the beginning of Q2. We will at that point get it audited by DeWi for use as a “full miner” whilst concurrently working to finalise the 5G/LTE software side and would aim to push out that functionality via a software update by the beginning of Q3. At this point, these are just rough estimates, but we know lots of people are very excited about 5G/LTE coverage opportunities so we wanted to share our plans with you.
If you would like to join our mailing list for further updates and news about our upcoming 5G products you can sign up for notifications on the 5G miner product page.