Ant+ range and connectivity

So I’m trying to get back into a cycling routine. I am coming from an older computrainer that has given up the ghost after about 12 years. I picked up a wahoo kickr core and love how easily it started working with zwift on my iphone. Everything is perfect.

I have a decent gaming computer that I built (nVidia 1060 graphics card) and would like to use for zwift. One problem, the computer is in my living room, and bike set up almost directly below it in the basement. I’ve got a long HDMI cable run from the computer through the floor to my basement TV and my wireless mouse has enough range to control things. I purchased a long “active” extension usb cable and planned on plugging a bluetooth or ant+ dongle into it so it was closer to the bike and my other sensors (HR, cadence) but it has been no bueno. It doesn’t seem to matter what dongle I plug in, but I’m not getting a solid connection. I’ll lose the connection and it will not refind it. It is not the kickr because when I pair it with my iphone, Zwift runs absolutely perfectly. The bluetooth dongle is working because I have been pairing my airpods with it to watch TV/netflix while riding and controlling zwift with the phone, so it seems the extension cable is the weak link. So two questions:

  1. Will a bluetooth or ant+ dongle give me better range. If I could run a tape measure from dongle to kickr we are talking 10ish linear feet, through a hardwood floor on joists to an unfinished basement.

  2. Is there a better option to get the dongle closer? If I went with a powered usb hub would it be smarter to put the powered hub closer or further from the computer (between the PC and extension cable, or at the end of the extension cable)?

Oh yeah, I’m not going to move the PC into the basement and I’m not going to move the bike into my office. Gotta figure out a way to make it work. Currently zwift on the phone while watching TV/Netflix on the computer is what I’ve been doing, but really want zwift up on the big screen and music on my phone.

Do you have your extension cable perhaps plugged into a USB hub which is powered by an extra electrical input?
How long is the USB extension cable?

extension cable isn’t plugged into a hub. It is a 32 foot “repeater” cable. I went that long because I wasn’t exactly sure where in my basement I was planning of setting things up. I wonder if I’d be better off just getting a long 20 ft. long and a powered hub, just don’t know where in the line the hub would be best to go.

usb powered hub at the computer, from there, use the 20ft extension cable rather and try the ant+.

cool, I’ll give that a shot

I believe Bluetooth on Windows w/respect to Zwift is beta, requiring Win 10. Thus, it may or may not work.

I suggest you try an ANT+ dongle. If you can get the dongle under your bike somewhere you are sufficiently close.

Note, sweat and electronics (i.e., ANT+ dongle) do not go well together. I suggest placing the dongle under the trainer. If you put it up near the front wheel, that might work as well depending on how/where you sweat. Bottom bracket area is asking for trouble. You might also shrink wrapping the ANT+ dongle on the end of the USB extension once you get everything working. Then, you do not have to worry about sweat.

I’ll add that it may not be necessary to put your ANT+ dongle directly under your bike, as I’ve seen many suggest. I have two wift bikes and setups. The dongle on my primary bike is in a 3’ USB extension that is horizontally even with the front of the front wheel (speed sensor is on the rear wheel hub) and it is vertically 3 feet off the floor - plenty of space to keep it out of sweat range. The other is plugged into a computer that is a good 6’ from the bike. I have had no connection issues with this setup. One ANT+ key was ordered directly from Cycleops, the other a recommended item from Amazon.

Don’t put the ANT dongle beneath your bike if you’re concerned about sweat – I have a puddle of sweat beneath my bike at the end of almost every workout. Tape it to one of the support legs of your trainer.