ANT+ FE-C Only

For devices that broadcast in both ANT+ and ANT+ FE-C, Zwift should only allow pairing with ANT+ FE-C.

ANT+ FE-C is a newer standardized protocol and it works much better than plain old ANT+. In fact, connecting your trainer to ANT+ rather than ANT+ FE-C is a leading cause of dropouts in Zwift.

So if a trainer offers both, Zwift should only offer the ANT+ FE-C protocol in the pairing screen. Having both is very confusing since most people don’t know the difference and one is far superior to the other.

Lastly, although my Wahoo Kickr 2018 offers both, Zwift sometimes automatically connects to the ANT+ instead of the ANT+ FE-C even though FE-C is the only protocol I ever use.

Can I see some data to back up this assertion?

Data? No. But it’s a known thing in Zwift. Check out this link.

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Yes, that article was largely cargo-culted from my original KB article written 4 years earlier, which has helped literally hundreds to thousands of Zwifters solve their ANT+ dropout issues over the years:

https://kb.zwiftriders.com/zwift-dropping-signal

ANT+ is a very robust and reliable protocol, and is designed to be superior than Bluetooth/BLE, by the nature of its many-to-many topology, which BLE cannot support. It was designed from the ground-up for fitness devices, unlike BLE which supports a similar genre, but isn’t fit-for-purpose for them.

That being said, the largest cause of ANT+ dropouts, is a lack of understanding how the protocol works and how to configure it correctly (eg: provide sufficient power to the radio, don’t use sub-par/cheap adapters that bleed into other frequencies, etc.), and configure your wireless environment to occupy neighboring frequency bands, so sub-par/under-performing devices don’t have a chance to get knocked out by WiFi devices using Channel 10 that don’t stay in their property lines.

It’s a bit specious to say that ANT+ vs. ANT+FE-C is the “leading cause of dropouts in Zwift”. It isn’t.

If your bike + trainer are located anywhere within 10 feet of each other, and you have to use an extender cable, your environment is already misconfigured, full-stop. Fix that first, ditch the extender cable and enjoy a reliable, solid ANT+ connection.

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Hi David,

If you look at thisisant you will see FE-c was designed specifically for smart trainers.

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Ok, David. You obviously know quite a bit more about wireless tech than I do. I’m a user not an engineer. But, as an avid Zwift user, using ANT+ over ANT+ FE-C can absolutely cause dropouts…whatever the reason. In fact, I hear and have read that Zwift is thinking about removing ANT+ when pairing for just that reason. Now I have no data to support or deny that rumor not do I have data to support or deny my claim that using ANT+ vs. ANT+ FE-C is a leading cause for dropouts but based on personal experience, the ZwiftInsider article which corroborates this claim as well as things I have read online, I believe it to be true. I certainly don’t think it’s a bit “specious” but feel free to disagree. This is a forum for our opinions after all.

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That decision, if true, would be disastrous to their current user base and business model.

Anyone with just a power meter and an ANT+ adapter would be left without the ability to pair their device with Zwift. Not everyone has a smart trainer, and a growing number of new users continue to enter the ecosystem in that configuration. FE-C is an extension to the ANT+ protocol to support sending resistance control to the smart trainer/treadmill.

Since that doesn’t apply to the tens of thousands of riders who just use a power meter, or none at all and use simply zPower estimates, they’d be left out in the cold without Zwift support for their equipment, or they’d be compelled to ugprade at great expense. This would dramatically raise the barrier-to-entry for Zwift users, and they’d go elsewhere to find a different, competing solution.

There are some smart trainers that perform horribly, or not at all, when paired with just ANT+, vs. ANT+FE-C, and I can see and support their desire to remove ANT+ only support for those specific trainers, but to cut off ANT+ support entirely, would be a very poor choice on their part.

Lastly, don’t always believe everything you read on the Internet. Many of the people who write content, have strong biases, or base their ‘facts’ purely on numbers or opinion, instead of science and empirical methods.

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Yes, David, it wouldn’t be good if zwift got rid of ANT+. I would imagine that if a sensor broadcast in both ANT+ and FE-C, however, Zwift would only display the FE-C. But what do I know?

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