What is ANT Radio Service?

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Many people don’t understand what is ANT radio service.

And often they confuse it to be the Bluetooth on the phone.

Doesn’t come as a surprise as both are wireless systems and work in a similar fashion to the naked eyes.

But they aren’t the same after all.

The ANT radio service is more of something that comes pre-installed by the phone manufacturers. But for it to work and come into play, there is a need for some communication devices.

Sounds confusing!

I know, it is. But take some time and go through the content below, and it won’t be mind-bending anymore. I guarantee.

What is ANT Radio Service: Mystery Unveiled?

What is ANT radio service

Ok, last time I’ve talked about the fact that there is the need for communication devices to make the ANT work.

So, what does that mean?

It is nothing but an app that requires wireless connectivity. Take for the fitness app that connects your phone with some watch or a machine that use during exercise.

When the app connects with the device, that’s when the ANT is in action. You might think of it as Bluetooth connectivity, but it is a bit different. We will get to that later.

Where I was in the fact that the mobile app on your phone pairs up with a device. All that work because that device, may that be a watch or anything else, already has a hardware present inside it that uses the ANT communication. That’s why the mobile app the device can sync as they both have it.

Does this make sense?

What is ANT Plus?

By now, you’ve got some idea of what is ANT radio service. Still, there is much to explore about it.

But before that, there is another question that you might come across:

What is ANT+?

It is nothing but the system which allows ANT to collect and transfer data from the ANT+ products.

For instance, when you’re getting fitness data from the watch, that’s the ANT+ service in work that providing the real-time data on your mobile app from the device.

The third-party apps show you the data, but in reality, the ANT is working on background on your phone to make it all happen. There is no launch icon or anything to show you its existence. It is there working by connecting to the wireless components of your phone.

That’s where it is a bit different from your Bluetooth, where you have the icon and no when you’re using it or not. But can’t say the same for the ANT+ service.

Devices That Use ANT+

The thing is, not all devices would come with the ANT radio service. Many do like the Pixel, Nexus, and even the latest gen of Huawei phones have it. And don’t forget about the Galaxy series by Samsung that got the ANT+ pre-installed.

Still, it is missing from many devices.

Thankfully, you can install it. For devices with USB functions, you can get the ANT radio service, ANT+ plugins, and something called the ANT USB service.

For others without the USB host capability, there are Android ANT+ accessories. But the first thing that you need is the support for the Android protocol. Using apps like self-loop ANT you can see the device whether supports the protocol or not.

However, besides the self-loops ANT service, there is a need for a USB A and USB B micro-cable to make it work.

How ANT Radio Service Came To Existence?

How ANT 
Radio Service Came To Existence

ANT+ or ANT radio service, whatever you call it, came to existence with the idea to be an alternative to Bluetooth. Using Bluetooth was the way to transmit data to track between devices. But it didn’t offer to track data for long periods as it drained power real quick.

So, Victoria Brilz, one of the creators of the ANT+ comes with a wireless frequency in 2003 that becomes widespread in cycling devices. The first implementation of the new tech was with the Nike foot pods. The collected data from the pods got sent over the ANT to the running watches. And doing that, the power consumption was lower than the usual Bluetooth device.

Impressed by the promise of the ANT radio service, Garmin came in 2006 and bought the tech. And since then, in all their products, they are using it to track real-time data.

But there is more to the Bluetooth vs. ANT+ conversation that we will look into next.

How ANT+ Is Different From Bluetooth?

Besides the lower power consumption, there is a fundamental difference between ANT+ and Bluetooth that gives a real idea of why they are different.

Yes, both technologies can manage to connect with devices. We call it pairing up. However, where ANT+ allows you to connect a thing to multiple things, Bluetooth only makes a one-to-one connection.

Let’s say, you’ve got an ANT+ heart rate monitoring system. You can connect with your smartphone or PC and see real-time data on those devices collected by the heart rate monitor. But if you get another PC or smartphone in the equation and try to do the same, you can do that too. Add another, still, you’re ok to do it. And so on.

That’s what ANT+ offers you.

With Bluetooth, that’s not the case. You can have just one PC or mobile to connect with it to monitor the data. To connect another one, you’ve got to disconnect the previous connection and then use it.

You can see how ANT+ liberates you as you can use it with any other system that uses the ANT radio service. No matter the brand or device. But for Bluetooth, you’ve got to buy into an eco-system. To play music from your phone on the Bluetooth speaker, you’ve got to first have the earlier Bluetooth connection disconnected. Otherwise, you can’t use it.

Not the case for ANT+.

That’s where ANT radio service has an edge over the Bluetooth. Imagine, you’re a football coach and tracking the condition of all the players, using some device on them. Do you want to connect to each of those devices with a particular device to track their real-time data, or just use one computer to get all their information there?

The second one seems more reasonable and easier to do, and that’s what ANT offers to you.

Using ANT Service: What’s The Benefit?

We’ve talked about some basic benefits of using the ANT service. But that’s just like the tip of the iceberg. There is more underneath the surface that still hadn’t been scratched. So, let’s take some time and look into the real benefit of using the ANT.


One of the major selling points of ANT service is the fact that it works with almost everything that uses ANT+. Any device with the service in its hardware will be able to use it. The universal compatibility between any two ANT devices is what makes it so unique from Bluetooth.


Being on the subject of it being universal, the open to all nature of the technology allows it to connect with other smartphones. The inter-connectivity between many displays and sensor is something that makes ANT service so important for users to have.

Real-time monitoring:

It is possible to know how many steps you’ve taken, or the calories you burned walking or running right at the moment doing it. That’s the power of ANT service. It offers you to track those data in real-time from the sensors to the app interface for you to see and make changes in your workout to get better results.

Using other services:

An advantage that ANT service offer over its counterpart Bluetooth connection is that you can use it with many devices at once. While using the ANT service to monitor real-time fitness data, you can use it to connect with another device, let say a computer, and share data during the same time without any problem. It is something you can’t imagine to do with Bluetooth.

Ease of use:

There is no learning curve or anything to use the ANT+ technology. You don’t have to anything as everything gets taken care of in the background. No installation or launching an app to use it. Nothing. You simply use it.

The Drawback of ANT Service: Untold Secrets

While ANT service is quite a revolutionary technology, it has its drawbacks too that needs to be talked about too. Here are a couple of things that you might want to know.

Battery consumption:

Sounds contradictory! The reason to adopt this tech was to save power, then how does it has a battery consumption issue. The fact is, not every device might use the service. Sometimes it might be working in the background and drain the battery without being used at the moment. Now, that’s a problem.

Signal interruption:

As it is a wireless technology it requires an antenna to work. And mobile devices got that internal antenna that you might not see, but in action to make the ANT service work. However, these antennas can face a lot of interruption which might cause a performance issue with the ANT service. So, there is some stability issue that might be concerning for some.

Compatibility issue:

Yes, it is a compatible service with many devices and that is one of its strongest suits. But there is the other side of the coin. When you upgrade to a new version of the Android, there is often the complaint of the service not work with the latest android versions. That is quite a big downside that you can’t ignore.

How To Use ANT Service?

If you want to see ANT services in action and send data from the ANT+ devices to the Android then you’ve landed in the right place.

Let’s see how we can use ANT radio service for real.

  • The first thing you will require is an Android environment. And that needs to be version 3.0 or above. Also, make sure the device got USB host capabilities.
  • Next thing you will do is take the ANT USB stick and connect it using an OTG.
  • Now, install the ANT service, plugins, and ANT USB service on the device. It should already be in a smartphone as a system application. But if the device you’ve got no support for USB host capabilities, then use Android plus accessory.
  • For the next part download some ANT service from Google Play Store.
  • It will make sure that the device now supports the Android access protocols for the ANT+.

How To Remove ANT Radio Service?

Maybe there is no need for an ANT service radio for you anymore. You want to remove it to save the battery. To disable it, you’ve got to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Or you can simply uninstall them, as it is nothing but standard software. Don’t be afraid of thinking it might cause some issue on the phone because it won’t. You can install the ANT plus service later again and use it by enabling it on the phone whenever you want.

The protocol is there for users to use. The thing is, whether you want to use it at the moment or not. That’s all.

ANT+ vs Bluetooth:

You’ve already got a peek at the difference between the two services before. Now, let’s take a look at some other things where the ANT+ and Bluetooth service differs from each other.

Bluetooth has been a standard for many years in mobile devices. On the other hand, ANT isn’t standard in devices.

With Bluetooth, you get a power meter app. That gives you an idea of how much power it’s drawing while in use. Though ANT plus draws less power, the lack of a power meter doesn’t allow you to regulate power like Bluetooth.

ANT power meter got 2-sensors. These power sensors connect with one another. And then they link up to the main bicycle computer. However, before connecting to the computer itself, the slave sensor links with the master sensor. So, there is a need for maintaining the level to send and receive data within the service.

With Bluetooth, however, there is no such thing. The power meter on each Bluetooth connects with a computer directly. No middle linking up between two sensors before connecting to the main computer.

Do You Need ANT Radio Service?

Now you know what is ANT radio service. But the question now that might arise is whether you need it or not?

It depends on how you use the phone you’ve got. For those who love to treat the body as a temple and have to track the condition at all times, they can benefit from the service as it allows the phone to connect with wearables to get data fast.

Why Use ANT Plugin’s Service?

Getting the ANT plugin’s service on the phone only improves the ANT’s efficiency. You will be able to get better communication between compatible products using the plugins. Just update the Android version as often as possible as most of the time the carrier manufacture provides the latest plugin service.

Also read:

1. How to Install Sirius XM Radio in Car


So, what is ANT radio service?

It is nothing but a wireless technology similar to Bluetooth but has its protocol in use. When you use Bluetooth, you might have started the ANT+ service alongside it, but you don’t know the difference.

Only the Android devices that support it, using it in the background with many fitness tracker devices to get real-time data from them.

For you, it might not be easy to understand. But after going through the article, you get some idea of how the whole thing takes place while using Bluetooth as the front.

Leave a comment if you’ve any more questions about it. I’m happy to answer them.

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