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Tech FAQ

Network Keys

  • What is a network key?
    • The network key is an 8-byte number that uniquely identifies a network and can provide a measure of security and access control.  Only channels with identical valid network keys may communicate with each other.

  • What is the difference between public/managed and private network keys?
    • The public network key can be freely used by anyone.  As this network is open to anyone, it offers no privacy: anyone can listen to data in a public network. It is ideal for development and evaluation.

      Managed network keys are intended for companies who wish to interoperate across an industry sector.  An example of a managed network is the ANT+ network.  Along with the use of a managed network key, devices in a managed network must conform to specifications of channel parameters and data format (device profiles), for interoperability.  A managed network key provides an added level of security, since only devices within the managed network are able to receive data from other devices in the network.

      A private network key provides the greatest level of security, and is suitable for proprietary applications where interoperability is not required or desirable. A private network key provides full control over who can join the network and who can not; it also offers flexibility in terms of defining your own channel parameters and data format. Anyone with a private network key has total control over the network and can select who gets the key.

      Both managed and private network keys are assigned by Dynastream and have an associated fee.

  • What is the difference between a network number and a network key?
    • A network number is an 8-bit number that identifies the available networks on an ANT device.   A network key is assigned to a network number using the Set Network Key  (0x46) message, and any individual channels assigned to a network number will be using the associated 8-byte network key.  You can assign multiple channels to the same network number, so a network key can be used by multiple channels without having to enter the key multiple times.

  • How many network keys can run on a single device?
    • The number of network keys that can run in a single ANT device depends on its capabilities; the most recent ANT devices can use up to 8 different network keys. Please refer to the datasheets for your specific ANT device for more details on the supported number of networks.

  • How do I get the public network key?
    • All ANT products ship as standard with the public network key, by default assigned to network number 0.

      You can also find the public network key here.

      Please note that the public network key is not 00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00, which is actually an invalid key.   Entering an invalid network key results in the last valid network key being used (which usually is the default public network key). See this FAQ for more details.

  • Where can I find the ANT+ network key and the ANT-FS network key?
    • The ANT+ network key and ANT-FS network key are available here: Network Keys

      Note that you need to be signed in as an ANT+ Adopter to access these keys, and that they should only be used on ANT+ devices (i.e. devices that comply with an ANT+ device profile). If you are simply using ANT to transmit data in a way that you have defined, then use the public network key which is programmed by default into ANT devices.

      For more information see: ANT+ Basics

  • How do I get a private network key?
    • Please contact us if you are interested in obtaining a private or managed key.

  • I would like my device to interoperate with other manufacturer’s devices. How do I achieve that?
    • The ANT+ managed network provides interoperability between various device manufacturers by defining a common data format, channel parameters and network key for various devices.  You can learn more about this here.

      The device profiles and ANT+ network key are managed by Dynastream, if you are interested in developing ANT+ interoperable devices, please contact the ANT+ Alliance.

      If you are looking for your device to interoperate with a non ANT+ device, your best option is to inquire directly with the manufacturer of the device.

  • If I enter a random network key on one node and a different key on another node, the link still works. Why is that?
    • A network key is not a random number; it can only be generated by Dynastream.  If an invalid network key is configured on a device, this will result in last valid network key being used instead.  Usually, this means that the default public key will be used, which makes it appear like devices with different invalid network keys are able to communicate.

  • Is there a fee for a network key?
    • There is no fee to use the public network key; it ships by default on all ANT products. The ANT+ network key is also available without a fee, but is subject to a licence agreement.

      Private and managed network keys have an associated fee.  Please contact us for details.

  • Can I generate my own private network key?
    • No.  Network keys are generated and allocated by Dynastream, to ensure network integrity as well as interoperability, in the case of managed networks.

  • Why does the public network key (00-00-...) not work when I set it?
    • The public network key is not "00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00", that is an invalid network key. Attempting to set all-zeroes as the network key will result in no network key being set at all, meaning whichever network key was originally set there will still remain. While on most devices the network keys are pre-set to the public network key, some devices may have the ANT+ or ANT-FS network keys also set by default instead.

      You may find the public network key here: Network Keys