I have purchased the TACX Vortex smart trainer (waiting for it to arrive) and am hoping to connect it over bluetooth to my macbook pro (late 2016).
Question is- do I need to purchase an ANT+ dongle for the resistance control to work, or can this be done via bluetooth?
@Melissa: Good news! You do not need an ANT+ dongle. Your Mac is new enough that it will support native Bluetooth. Instructions for connecting via native Bluetooth are in this article. You’ll pair your trainer under both Power and Controllable Trainer.
Ok thanks Jason. I have heard that it is better to set it up over ANT+ as it is less likely to get interference from other things in the house and therefore less likely to get drop outs? And easier to do calibration with ANT+?
They’re different. ANT+ is more susceptible to interference as it just broadcasts its signal to any available device. This is why we recommend using a USB extension cable to bring the ANT+ adapter as close to your trainer and/or sensors as possible. At the office, we tend to put it right underneath the bottom bracket.
However, this is generally fool-proof and works all the time.
Bluetooth uses a hand-shake style connection meaning it can only really connect to one thing at a time. Multiple BLE devices and connect to your computer (either natively on a Mac or via ZML) but that means they can’t connect to anything else. So, if you have an app on your phone that’s connected to your trainer OR the trainer is connected directly to the phone, the data won’t get transferred to Zwift.
Once it’s connected, it’s strong and generally won’t have any interference issues but it’s a bit more complicated to set up.
Question: If I am controlling the trainer via Bluetooth on my phone, I read it is a “hand shake” connection (to use the term), but is there any way to convert the data to zwift at the conclusion of the ride?