IoT M2M blog

The home of free hints and tips about wireless IoT / M2M

Bluetooth Low Energy versus ANT+

ANT+, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, ZigBee – each technology has it market

First of all I would like to mention, that I am supporting all RF technologies (Buetooth,Bluetooth Low Energy, ANT+, Gazel and ZigBee) mentioned in the text as below. Every technology has its market.

1. Qualification cost comparison ANT+, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, ZigBee

http://www.gsm-modem.de/M2M/m2m-faq/qualification-cost-comparsion-bluetooth-bluetooh-le-zigbee-ant/
Please note that the graph is old. The ANT+ fee has changed from once a time USD 500 to USD per year. Anyhow, this is still much cheaper than all other mentioned technologies in the graph.

2. Sell what you have – take market share on technology that you can order

ANT is on the market for years. ANT is a field approved ultra low power RF technology. If you place an order for a Bluetooth Low Energy evaluation kit with me, then you get Bluetooth Low Energy chips that will work on a proprietary profile because the Bluetooth Low Energy profiles promised for December was not launched.

3. Basic products with ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy on the market

3.1 ANT+

  • Android Smart phone = Yes, with chip inside the phone and Android API. Sony Ericsson is helping with 5 different smart phones.
  • IPhone = Yes, with dongle for extension port
  • USB dongle = Yes, with drivers for several operating systems up to open source projects and DLLs and code for LabView even in German language
  • Micro and mini SD card = Yes
  • Adapter boards for open source micro controller = Yes, already on the move

3.2 Bluetooth Low Energy

  • Android Smart phone = Not supported yet
  • IPhone = Not supported yet
  • USB dongle = Not supported yet
  • Micro and mini SD card = Not supported yet
  • Adapter boards for open source micro controller = Not supported yet

4. Pin compatibility of ANT chips to other ultra low power technology

Nordic nRF24AP2 versus Nordic nRF24LE01+
Both modules are in package QFN32. The nRF24LE01+ you can get in a Flash and OTP version. For nRF24LE01+ you can get Open Source and licence free protocols like Gazel. If there is no need for interoperability with smart phones or tablet PCs, then Gazel is an option as well. Anyhow, the decision you can make later or even support both technologies in same PCB layout.

4.1 Examples for requests on Bluetooth Low Energy or plain ultra low power 2400 MHz technology and recommendations of mine

4.1.1 Access to machines by remote control

http://www.gsm-modem.de/M2M/m2m-faq/ant-antplus-smart-phone-control-machines/

With using of an ANTplus (ANT+) powered Android smart phone they will save on

  • Qualification costs for Bluetooth LE or ZigBee, because the ANT+ qualification is much less
  • Development of a hand held remote control on ZigBee, because the remote control is already inside the smart phone
  • Costs for RTTE, FCC and other certifications in further countries (e. g. Russia) for the remote control because the smart phone has already the approvals

Summary = saving of ten thousands of USD

4.1.2 Access control to buildings

By using of ANT they can use Android Smart phones to open the doors by smart phone and with their ANT Smart card as well. If they do not need the option on smart phones, then they can go ahead with a license free protocol. Even if they are not sure which technology to use, I am able to show them a solution that will support ANT and the open source protocol.

4.1.3 Access control to buildings (further request)

This customer planned to use Bluetooth Low Energy to lock/unlock the door lock. There was just an ultra low power 2400 MHz link between access control systems to the door look necessary.  The customer of the customer heard about Bluetooth Low Energy, never heard about ANT and never thought about that they use ultra low power 2400 MHz technology on an open source radio link protocol daily with the wireless mice, keypads and USB dongles at their laptops and notebooks daily.

5. Conclusion

– Bluetooth Low Energy is shipping Armadas of sales leads in the harbor called ANT on Nordic nRF24AP2 and Nordic nRF24LE01+ with open source protocol called Gazel.

Nevertheless, why people shall burn money for an amount of USD Bluetooth Low Energy license fee if they can get a better field approved technology like ANT on Nordic nRF24AP2 or Nordic nRF24LE01+ for less or even for free?

What will be your application? What will be your quantities? Who will be your competitor?
If you are interested in Bluetooth Low Energy, ANT+ and Gazel, I can help with an offer for a bundle of evaluation kits that will support all three technologies, including antennas and design in aid for the ISM chips and antennas to your design.

Just send an e-mail by using the form here or by e-mail to harald.naumann (at) gsm-modem.de .

First of all I would like to mention, that I am supporting all RF technologies (Buetooth,Bluetooth Low Energy, ANT+, Gazel and ZigBee) mentioned in the text as below. Every technology has its market.

1. Qualification cost comparison ANT, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, ZigBee

http://www.gsm-modem.de/M2M/m2m-faq/qualification-cost-comparsion-bluetooth-bluetooh-le-zigbee-ant/

Please note that the graph is old. The ANT fee has changed from once a time USD 500 to USD per year. Anyhow, this is still much cheaper than all other mentioned technologies in the graph.

2. Sell what you have – take market share on technology that you can order
ANT is on the market for years. ANT is a field approved ultra low power RF technology. If you place an order for a Bluetooth Low Energy evaluation kit with me, then you get BT LE chips that will work on a proprietary profile because the BT LE profiles promised for December was not launched.

3. Basic products with ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy on the market

3.1 ANT+

- Android Smart phone = Yes, with chip inside the phone and Android API. Sony Ericsson is helping with 5 different smart phones.
– IPhone = Yes, with dongle for extension port

- USB dongle = Yes, with drivers for several operating systems up to open source projects and DLLs and code for LabView even in German language

- Micro and mini SD card = Yes

- Adapter boards for open source micro controller = Yes, already on the move

3.2 Bluetooth Low Energy

- Android Smart phone = Not supported yet
– IPhone = Not supported yet
– USB dongle = Not supported yet

- Micro and mini SD card = Not supported yet
– Adapter boards for open source micro controller = Not supported yet

4. Pin compatibility of ANT chips to other ultra low power technology

- Nordic nRF24AP2 versus Nordic nRF24LE01+
Both modules are in package QFN32. The nRF24LE01+ you can get in a Flash and OTP version. For nRF24LE01+ you can get Open Source and licence free protocols like Gazel. If there is no need for interoperability with smart phones or tablet PCs, then Gazel is an option as well. Anyhow, the decision you can make later or even support both technologies in same PCB layout.

4.1 Examples for requests on Bluetooth LE or plain ultra low power 2400 MHz technology and recommendations of mine

4.1.1 Access to machines by remote control
http://www.gsm-modem.de/M2M/m2m-faq/ant-antplus-smart-phone-control-machines/

With using of an ANTplus (ANT+) powered Android smart phone they will save on

* Qualification costs for Bluetooth LE or ZigBee, because the ANT+ qualification is much less

* Development of a hand held remote control on ZigBee, because the remote control is already inside the smart phone

* Costs for RTTE, FCC and other certifications in further countries (e. g. Russia) for the remote control because the smart phone has already the approvals

Summary = saving of ten thousands of USD

4.1.2 Access control to buildings

By using of ANT they can use Android Smart phones to open the doors by smart phone and with their ANT Smart card as well. If they do not need the option on smart phones, then they can go ahead with a license free protocol. Even if they are not sure which technology to use, I am able to show them a solution that will support ANT and the open source protocol.

4.1.2 Access control to buildings (further request)

This customer planned to use Bluetooth Low Energy to lock/unlock the door lock. There was just an ultra low power 2400 MHz link between access control systems to the door look necessary. The customer of the customer heard about Bluetooth Low Energy, never heard about ANT and never thought about that they use ultra low power 2400 MHz technology on an open source radio link protocol daily with the wireless mice, keypads and USB dongles at their laptops and notebooks daily.

5. Conclusion

- Bluetooth Low Energy is shipping Armadas of sales leads in the harbor called ANT on Nordic nRF24AP2 and Nordic nRF24LE01+ with open source protocol called Gazel.

Nevertheless, why people shall burn money for an amount of USD Bluetooth Low Energy license fee if they can get a better field approved technology like ANT on Nordic nRF24AP2 or Nordic nRF24LE01+ for less or even for free?

What will be your application? What will be your quantities? Who will be your competitor?
If you are interested in Bluetooth LE, ANT+ and Gazel, I can help with an offer for a bundle of evaluation kits that will support all three technologies, including antennas and design in aid for the ISM chips and antennas to your design.


4 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Hi,

    Are the smartphones (or PDA without a phone) available with Bluetooth Low Energy yet?

    Feel free to email me directly too.

    Thanks,
    Gil

  2. Hi Gil, there are no smartphones yet. In the ANT+ user forum you can read:
    “ANT for free and has a very large share of the smart phone market with Sony Ericsson being the first to commercialize a family of products (Xperia). Many more brands are expected to release ANT+ phones this spring. To date I have not heard of an commercially released BLE phone. ”
    I made a research on Bluetooth Low Energy accessories last days, because I was speaking about Bluetooth Low Energy on a Bluetooth event on 19th. of May. I found the Bluetooth Low Energy Watch of Casio based on Nordic Semiconductor nRF8001 only. Last week I was with the Vodafone Bluetooth Roadshow in Duesseldorf. Nordic Semiconductor presented a proximity key-fob to lock you PC automatic as soon the distance is to high. I made a video and ask for permission to make it public. My proposal is to start with an eval-kit for Bluetooth Low Energy now and parallel to use an ANT+ eval-kit, because the ANT+ modules and ICs you can connect to your Android smartphone. For a few coins more you can upgrade it to proprietary Gazell on nRF24LE1. Gazell is a license free radio protocol.
    See example trailer detection http://www.gsm-modem.de/M2M/m2m-faq/trailer-detection-active-rfid/

  3. Hello,

    You talk about access control, is there a way to authenticate a user securly with his phone without a dedicated app, just like the car hands free that is paired once and the communication is automatic once the car is started without any action on the phone.

  4. Yes there is. You can use Bluetooth Low Energy for this feature. Samsung S4 , iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 … all the new smartphones support Bluetooth Low Energy.

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