With the development of IT technologies and the emergence of numerous devices and gadgets for various tasks, the life of a modern person becomes simpler, since automation of many processes saves time. A decade ago, such significant steps in technical equipment seemed something unreal or very distant. Today, no one will be surprised by a coffee maker, preparing their own coffee, or any fitness tracker, not to mention the usual smartphones, equipped with an incredibly broad functionality with great features. Manufacturers annually produce innovative wearable devices, and the development of the “Internet of things” is rapidly gaining momentum. The equipment in the house has become “wiser” and direct human involvement is no longer necessary, because home systems, household appliances and other benefits are able to interact with each other and with the outside world through communication networks, performing tasks in automatic mode. The smartphone becomes the control center, where data from various devices can flow. Today, a lot of wireless technologies are used, including well-known Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, there are also less popular, but quite promising, for example, ANT +, in a smartphone called ANT HAL Service. It will be about how this communication protocol is used and why it is needed at all with such an abundance of existing technologies.
The purpose of ANT + in the phone.
What is ANT +
Not all users are aware of the availability of the ANT + protocol and, acquiring a smartphone that supports the technology, may be puzzled by the question of what kind of ANT HAL Service is present in the device functionality. Innovations are introduced into familiar devices so quickly that ignorance of their existence and purpose is quite common. ANT + is a wireless secure data transfer protocol used on modern devices. The technology has found application mainly in the fields of sports and human health and his home. ANT + with a communication range of up to 30 meters provides for the collection and transmission of data from sensors to a control device, and in many ways now in a trend thanks to constant public calls for a healthy lifestyle, as well as all kinds of sports gadgets associated with this production. At the same time, such benefits are not only a fad, but in a number of situations and an urgent need. So, the technology will be useful for tracking the health of patients with heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses that require constant monitoring. The ANT protocol, the predominant feature of which is low power consumption, was developed back in 2004, it operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band. The ANT Plus standard, in turn, is a software extension that effectively performs the tracking, collection and transmission of information. The most common protocol is applicable in sports and medical equipment. So, ANT + is widely used for many devices:
- Fitness equipment;
- Speed sensors;
- Activity sensors;
- Temperature sensors;
- Cycling computers;
- Heart rate monitors;
- Glucose meters;
- Lighting control;
- Manage music players;
- Location tracking;
- Transport monitoring;
- Tire pressure monitoring system.
And this is far from an incomplete list, besides, it is constantly updated. A smartphone with a wireless communication module that supports the ANT + standard is capable of receiving data from such equipment. So far, not every device has such equipment, but, given the pace of production of devices with technology support (implemented through the integration of a special chip), the development prospects are quite good and in the near future, deeper implementation of the standard is likely.
Principle of operation
The protocol is able to provide communication between two components, where one device in the connection is a sensor, from where the data comes, and the other receives them. At the same time, any device supporting the standard can be a logical connection and transmitting information can receive it in another connection with another object. ANT + Plugins includes system elements that allow smartphone applications to access ANT + devices regardless of the Android OS version. On smartphones of well-known manufacturers Samsung, Sony, etc., the opportunity is already implemented, unlike the "apples", but this does not mean that the technology cannot be applied to them. It is possible to work with an adaptive standard even in the absence of integrated hardware support, through the OTG cable and USB ANT + stick through the ANT + USB Service application. So, for mobile devices with USB / OTG, computers and devices with MacOS you need a USB adapter.
To make it clearer what the ANT HAL Service program in a smartphone is, you can take as an example any system installed in the house with an electronic sensor, from where signals will be sent to the control center, that is, a phone with software using ANT + transmission. The technology is also convenient when used for medical purposes, for example, when a doctor who is at some distance from the patient (of course, within the radius of the standard) receives data from the patient's sensors about his condition.
Differences from Bluetooth
ANT + has similarities with the famous Bluetooth wireless protocol, and they work at a common frequency, but at the same time they have a number of differences:
- Different package structure;
- The interval between channels in the case of ANT + is 1 Hz, and in Bluetooth, LE is 2 Hz.
- The range of data transmission using ANT + reaches 30 meters, compared with 50 at the old Bluetooth resident, although in practice, if there is interference, the figure can be reduced threefold;
- The main advantage of ANT + is its low energy consumption (saving about 50-70%), which favorably affects the autonomy of the smartphone.
Information transmitted by the sensors of the equipment can be received by different devices; with the ANT HAL Service for Android, it is possible to simultaneously launch several applications with the support of a single communication module. The standard in question forwards a smaller amount of additional data with the same volume, and for each connection less transactions are needed.
Plus in favor of ANT + adds a small power consumption when scanning, as well as initiating a connection and other processes, so there are significant advantages in terms of charge savings on the Android device with ANT HAL Service. In some cases, data transmissions lose information packets due to connecting different devices to Bluetooth and ANT + simultaneously and using the same frequency. We are not talking about replacing Bluetooth, especially since the narrow focus of the ANT + standard should be taken into account, but many of the features inherent in the “experienced” protocol are quite feasible with the help of the new technology.