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Since ANT+ and Bluetooth/BLE all use 2.4 GHz radio-waves, and most Raspberry Pi models can use Bluetooth, is it possible to communicate through the ANT+ protocol from a Raspberry Pi without adding any additional hardware? If so, what ANT+ software (equivalent to bluez for Bluetooth) is available to get started doing this?

I've seen at least one project which uses a plugin ANT+ dongle to communicate with ANT+ devices, and I wonder why they need extra physical component.

  • "I wonder why they need extra physical component" -> Just a glance at thisisant.com screams proprietary tech to me. While the fact that they have an ANT+ Android API implies it can be done with a bluetooth or NFC radio, there's licences and such involved, ie., if you don't have one, other devices won't speak to you. Probably the dongle is a much easier route. – goldilocks Aug 29 at 15:44
  • And at second glance I'm wrong about the Android thing: You need either a device with it built in or you need a dongle. What this almost certainly means is the low level protocol itself is not public. You have to buy a product from someone who has a licence to produce them. – goldilocks Aug 29 at 17:28
  • So to conclude, it's probably a software thing, but ANT keep their software to themselves so we probably can't get a pi to do ANT without adding additional hardware. Is that right? – Harley Day Aug 30 at 10:52
  • I'm not an electrical engineer, but wireless protocols can operate on a number of levels, and there is almost certainly hardware involved. There is with regard to wifi, cellular, and (I'd presume) bluetooth. It isn't as simple as tuning an analog radio to a specific frequency, where you have only one effective broadcaster at a time and any number of receivers. Some pretty complex techniques are involved in making it possible for numbers of peers broadcasting and receiving simultaneously on the same network at the same frequency. Some of those techniques require implementation in hardware. – goldilocks Aug 30 at 12:36
  • Okay great. Thanks for your help! I'll either stick with Bluetooth low-energy, or just get a small dongle. – Harley Day Sep 3 at 10:17
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No you can't use the built in WiFi or Bluetooth radio to communicate with ANT!

WiFi also can't emulate Bluetooth or ANT as they all use the 2.4GHz ISM free frequency band.

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