Nebra Miner Update - Shipping Update, ROCK Pi Miner status, Light Hotspot, 5G and more
Happy New Year! 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.
Parley Labs Orders
Unfortunately Parley Labs are having problems with their payment processor and as such are unable or unwilling to pay us for their batch 4 and batch 5 orders as per our agreed order terms. This means that effectively the orders from Parley to Nebra are now cancelled.
If you ordered a Nebra product from Parley Labs, you should have already received correspondence from them about them refunding your batch 4 and 5 orders in full.
However, we appreciate that there are a lot of customers that do not want to have their orders cancelled and lose their place in the queue and we are committed to making sure every customer who has waited for product during the delays and supply shortages we have had does not miss out because of this unfortunate situation. So our intention is to service these orders either directly via Nebra or by working with another partner distributor to fulfill these orders on our behalf.
The exact process for moving these orders over to Nebra is still being confirmed, and we are still waiting for the list of these orders from Parley Labs, which we will need to confirm orders are valid.
We just wanted to keep everyone in the loop about these orders and as soon as we have more information on the process going forward we will post instructions. But until then you can rest assured that you will not have lost your place in the queue and your orders will still be serviced prior to any new orders being taken through our website.
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.
Nebra Dashboard & Software
Throughout December, we’ve been focussing on keeping up to date with the POC11 rollout. Many of you have been experiencing flatlining with your earnings and no beacons. We’ve been staying up to date as much as possible with the Helium upstream updates aimed at addressing these issues and have rolled out these updates as quickly as possible as we know how frustrating these issues are.
The reward splitting feature we mentioned in our last update should be rolling out within the next two weeks. Other improvements made include improving the reliability of the QR code scanner in the Nebra Dashboard.
One of the latest features we've added are improvements to the Device page. By clicking on the Gears icon in the right hand corner you're now able to enable/disable certain filters. For example, if you want to sort by all Miners that are offline you can select Helium Status.
Or if you want to sort by the rewards in the last 24 hours, select Rewards 24 Hours.
We will also shortly be moving to our own private Helium API instance (instead of using the public one) in order to have better uptime and data. You may have noticed that sometimes your Hotspot earnings don’t match up with the Helium Explorer. The API is not being refreshed often enough and therefore it is showing outdated earnings. The move to our own private API instance should correct this.
We also would like to reiterate a few points we made in our last post….
Compute Module, Software & eMMC user changes
We’ve had a small number of customers try to change or upgrade the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and/or the eMMC module and/or the concentrator (for example, to try and change frequency). We have also had some people trying to make customisations to the software/firmware on the device to try to enable things like SSH access. Please note that the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and eMMC Card are unique for each Hotspot and can not be interchanged between different Hotspots without our support team - it may appear to work; however, it will no longer get updates and will likely therefore also have issues connecting to the Helium Network. Making software/firmware modifications can also prevent updates, cause unintended software bugs or in extreme cases could render the devices entirely unusable.
Please note: any self-driven test or any modification (hardware or software) on your Hotspot will void the warranty, our tech support will not be able to support you, and any repair request will be at your own cost. Please contact email@example.com for tech support before taking any self-initiative and only proceed with any of these modifications if expressly told to do so by a member of our support team.
IPv6 Issues with Balena and Helium Network
We’ve received support tickets where hotspot owners using IPv6 exclusively have issues with either not being able to sync correctly to the Helium Network or getting updates from our update server, which runs on balenaCloud.
Please note that neither our update server nor the Helium Network currently has support for exclusive connection over IPv6. So we would highly recommend using a network that has support for IPv4. Using an IPv6 network with an IPv4 to IPv6 reverse proxy may be workable and still get the updates and sync to the network. Still, you will likely need to thoroughly test your setup first and monitor it regularly, at least in the initial stages. Balena has told us they are working on IPv6 support for the update servers and should have something soon. Until all hotspots move to gateway-rs (light gateways) software in the future, the Helium Network will not support IPv6 anyway.
Courier weight limits from China & Hong Kong
As some of you will already know, unfortunately, for the last couple of weeks, we’ve been struck by courier weight limits by our 3rd Party Logistics provider (Floship) caused by increasing shipping demand around the Christmas period, which has caused delays with shipments. DHL has had 100kg restrictions in place. Several other couriers we use have done the same (UPS etc.), which is why some of you may have received a tracking number from Floship or directly from Nebra that hasn’t shown any movement, or in some cases where tracking numbers have been entirely cancelled and reshipped under a different courier/tracking number.
Just today, we've been notified of a number of new restrictions with shipping items from Hong Kong. You can learn more here.
We are working closely with the couriers and Floship to minimise the impacts of this and, where possible, looking for other carrier options to spread the load across multiple channels. Either way, our Supply Chain Team will be monitoring the situation over the coming weeks and aiming to push out as many shipments as we possibly can. If you have any questions regarding a shipment or tracking number, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re continuing to grow & expand our team. If you see a role that suits you, please apply on one of the links above :) If you can't see your ideal position, feel free to reach out. We can explore and see if you have a role within our growing team