ANT+ is an ultra-lower-power (ULP) wireless protocol created and maintained by the ANT+ Alliance, which is part of the Garmin corporation. ANT is an acronym for Adaptive Network Topology, and the ANT+ protocol allows for devices to exchange and interpret sensor data related to health and fitness. In a nutshell, this means that compatible smartphones, wearables, and other products such as heart rate monitors and cycling computers may work together on health and fitness performance metrics.
Although Garmin's ownership of the ANT+ Alliance implies that the technology is available for a significant number of Garmin products, other companies incorporate the wireless protocol by ensuring compliance with ANT+ standards. ANT+ wireless communications happen via the 2.4 GHz band, and each device must have one or more profiles with case-specific network rules. These rules define which data shall be shared, as well as the format of the transmitted data and the interaction between devices.
Device interoperability relies upon shared profiles. As mentioned, although some products incorporate a single profile, others may comprise different profiles. As an example, a sports watch with the Heart Rate Monitor and the Speed and Distance ANT+ profiles can communicate with heart straps (Heart Rate Monitor profile) and with cycling computers (Speed and Distance profile), to name just a few profiles and possibilities.
Many consumers expect their wearables and other health and fitness devices to communicate with their smartphones, especially as Android and iOS apps make it easier to keep track of performance metrics. This ANT+ protocol facilitates this type of communication, although other connectivity paths (such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) may also be possible. The most complete of wearables (but also the bulkiest), sports watches offer numerous possibilities to keep track of your progress in health and fitness, and ANT+ connectivity can make it easier to sync your tracked data across devices.