Press Backgrounders

nRF24AP2 ANT chip technology backgrounder

The nRF24AP2 combines an ultra-low power 2.4GHz transceiver for wireless communications with ANT’s production-proven ultra-low power Practical Wireless Networking protocol, ANT, to create a single chip networking solution. This technology backgrounder describes this proven networking technology



What is the nRF24AP2 with ANT?


The nRF24AP2 combines an ultra-low power 2.4GHz transceiver for wireless communications with ANT’s production-proven ultra-low power Practical Wireless Networking protocol, ANT, to create a single chip networking solution. The nRF24AP2 is designed for customers who are looking for an easy-to-implement 2.4GHz transceiver for global operation, but don’t want to spend months integrating a networking standard protocol into their system.


nRF24AP2 ANT solution is a radio with embedded protocol for almost all practical ultra-low power Practical Wireless Networking applications – from simple point-to-point to complex mesh networks. The chip is designed to operate in the globally available licence-free 2.4GHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band and is available in single- and eight-channel versions. The device has been intentionally engineered for simplicity and efficiency. It is a production proven technology with an installed base of over five million nodes at the end of 2009 (note that this total includes nRF24AP1 and nRF24AP2 families). nRF24AP2 ANT chip-based wireless links co-exist harmoniously with each other - and other 2.4GHz wireless technologies - while operating with total reliability.


A typical use case is a group of runners each monitoring their heart rate and speed communicating with a sports watch. nRF24AP2 ANT chip’s ultra-low power consumption meets the tough power constraints of this coin cell-powered application while its Time Domain Multiple Access (TDMA)-like adaptive isochronous interference avoidance scheme ensures none of the signals clash. The protocol is able to support multiple data transfer modes up to 20kbps net data rate (transmitting at 1Mbps raw data rate).


The nRF24AP2 ANT chip is ideally suited to all forms of Practical Wireless Networks used to monitor and control systems in the sports, wellness, home and industrial sectors. Practical Wireless Networks are forecasted to grow exponentially in the next five years and are characterized by low data rate transmission of small amounts of sensor information between tens or even hundreds of interconnected devices. Practical Wireless Networks are often constrained by strict power and footprint requirements.


Typical Practical Wireless Networking applications measure parameters that don’t change rapidly (for example, heart rate, temperature or humidity) so updates every few seconds are satisfactory. Technologies such as Bluetooth wireless technology and Wi-Fi® are designed to transfer data much more rapidly, requiring larger power sources and hence are unable to meet the special requirements of battery life, size and system cost of Practical Wireless Networking. The nRF24AP2 ANT chip is the ideal solution to ensure Practical Wireless Networks meet these exacting requirements.


The ANT protocol determines how one node communicates across a wireless link with another node by establishing standard rules for co-existence, data representation, signaling, authentication, and error detection. The protocol is critical in ensuring reliable network transmission over the specified range within demanding power constraints. It includes features that ensure ultra-low power consumption (down to an average current draw of 9 microamps when operating in simple broadcast mode) and constant monitoring of the integrity of the link.


Networking with the nRF24AP2 ANT chip


nRF24AP2 with ANT has a number of features that make it ideal for Practical Wireless Networking, including:


  • Ultra-low power consumption – nRF24AP2 ANT chip is able to run for years from coin cell batteries;
  • Cost efficiency – nRF24AP2 ANT chip is a complete solution requiring no additional development or certification;
  • Small footprint;
  • High efficiency –ANT is a very low overhead protocol requiring minimal system resources;
  • Ease to implementation – nRF24AP2 ANT chip enables simple construction of ad hoc practical networks;
  • Production proven – nRF24AP2 ANT chip (and its forerunner, the nRF24AP2 is in use in over five million nodes worldwide as of December 2009;
  • Robust co-existence – nRF24AP2 ANT chip includes several mechanisms to protect against interference and inter-channel crosstalk including adaptive channel synchronization;
  • Low latency – nRF24AP2 ANT chip power budget can be optimized by trading latency against power consumption
  • Concurrency – nRF24AP2 ANT chip can address 65,536 unique devices which can discover and track each other concurrently
  • Multi-slave channels – 65,536 slave devices can talk to a single master over a timeslot shared channel using nRF24AP2 ANT chip.


Each Practical Wireless Networking sensor, controller or actuator combines with an RF transceiver to form a network node. The abstract model of the transceiver comprises a physical layer (PHY), such as the nRF24AP2, protocol stack, such as ANT, and an application layer that forms the specific instruction set for the application supported by the network. continue reading this technology backgrounder, please download the PDF.


The complete document is 2,900 words and includes sections on: What is the nRF24AP2 with ANT?; Networking with the nRF24AP2 ANT chip; The ANT protocol, and How does the nRF24AP2 ANT chip compare with other wireless technologies.