Tech FAQ
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Tech FAQ

General

  • Can I download my firmware to the ANT MCU?
    • Yes, if you are using an ANT SoC solution, such as the Nordic nRF51422 SoC. Your application firmware is downloaded to the system's MCU and shares the system's resources with the ANT protocol (which is downloaded in the form of a Nordic SoftDevice).

      No, if you are using a standalone ANT Network Processor Chip, such as the C7 and AP2 Modules. In that case the ANT MCU is a baseband processor that handles the ANT protocol only and cannot be reprogrammed. An external MCU is required to be programmed with your application firmware and communicate with the ANT Chip using a serial interface.

  • Can I set different parameters for each ANT channel?
    • Yes. There are no dependencies between channel parameters – each channel can be a master or a slave, and can have different channel periods, frequencies, networks (up to a maximum of 3 networks per device), etc.

  • What is the data throughput?
    • Message rates are generally in the 0.5 Hz to 200 Hz range (8byte data payloads) for broadcast/acknowledged messaging. Using burst transfer mode, a maximum true data throughput of 20 to 60 kbps can be achieved depending on the ANT chip used.

  • What technical support can I expect if I buy a development kit?
    • As a registered development kit owner you will be supplied with sample source code, embedded reference designs, technical documentation, and up to 20 hrs of technical support from our Applications Team. As a registered member on the ANT website you can post on the ANT forum and you have ongoing access to all current Development Kit downloads, which you can find under the Documentation tab of the Downloads page.

  • What is the maximum range?
    • The range depends on a variety of factors including RF design, enclosure, RF environment, etc. In general ANT modules have been designed to work for 30 m line of sight. It is also possible to extend the range by including an external power amplifier, linear noise amplifier, directional antenna, etc.

  • Who are the vendors of ANT chips?
    • Publicly announced ANT chip solutions are currently provided by Nordic Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.

  • What ANT module or chipset should I use in my application?
    • There are many different ANT chipsets and modules available for development which can fit many different use cases. Factors to consider include current consumption, range, cost, number of channels needed, time to market etc.

  • Can I get the source code for the ANT stack?
    • No, the ANT stack source code is unavailable to public or registered users.

  • Is there reference source code available for developing with ANT?
    • Reference source code is available to registered members on the downloads page. In order to view ANT source code, you will need to become an ANT+ Adopter which is free of charge. Please refer to the ANT Licensing section for more details.

  • What is the best way to get started with ANT?
  • How do I find out my Manufacturer ID?
    • If your company has already been assigned a manufacturer ID, then you will be able to find it in the FIT SDK.

      Download the latest FIT SDK, then open the ‘Profile.xls’ file. Within this file, look at the ‘Types’ tab, and search for 'manufacturer' in column A. You’ll see the list of assigned manufacturer ID values there.

  • How can my company be assigned a Manufacturer ID?
    • If you would like to be assigned your own manufacturer ID, then you will need to become an ANT+ annual member, then request a specific manufacturer ID (no additional fee) through the manufacturer ID request form.  Alternatively you may use the development ID: 255.

      The development ID can be used in released products. There are a couple of disadvantages to only using the developer ID though:

      • Displays or online systems will not be able to show your company name when they find your sensor.
      • Manufacturer specific page numbers should not be used because of not being able to identify the specific manufacturer.Bulle

      Please review our Manufacturer ID Tech Bulletin for more information.

  • Can I send acknowledged messages from one master channel to multiple listening slave channels?
    • Yes but with caveats. If multiple slave channels attempt to acknowledge a message from the master, they may interfere with each others transmission. Even if the master does successfully recieve an acknowledgement, it will not know which slave channel sent that acknowledgement. If you require acknowledged or burst messaging from a master to multiple slaves, you must use shared channels to ensure only the intended recipient responds to the message.

  • I’d like to try and save on BOM costs, do I need an external crystal in my hardware design?
    • An external 32.768 kHz crystal with +/- 50 PPM accuracy or better should always be used for optimum functionality.

      Some ANT capable devices include an internal 32.768 kHz oscillator with accuracy worse than +/-50 PPM. While this internal oscillator may appear to work under ideal, quiet wireless conditions for a single ANT channel, the channel will be far less robust in real world environments as compared to running with an external crystal.

      1. An internal oscillator can be sensitive to temperature changes, so calibration would need to occur more often when the error spikes due to changes in the environment, causing timing issues and increased power consumption.
      2. An error greater than +/-50PPM will mean that ANT channel transmissions could always fall outside of the normally expected timing window, which is conceptually reserved for ANT channel coexistence. While for a single ANT master channel in a quiet environment this would appear to work fine, this means that in noisy environments (or environments with many active ANT master channels like ANT+ in a training gym), the transmitter(s) would interfere with one another far more often, and cause issues with timing collisions over the air.
      3. If the PPM happens to skew fully in opposite directions on the transmitting/receiving devices, then the channel may drop periodically as well, and search period durations could also be extended.

      This ANT Application Note goes into some further discussion on the detrimental effects of poor clock accuracy, as well as a tool to help test the accuracy of your existing hardware.