Bluetooth is a proprietary -- yet open -- standard for shortwave radio technology, managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG). The managing company curates a membership of telecommunication companies to ensure the standards of Bluetooth are in sync. This includes AT&T and Verizon, which manufacture devices using the Bluetooth standard. By definition, Verizon Bluetooth and AT&T Bluetooth must work together because of that standard. A firm understanding of Bluetooth technology and how it helps AT&T, Verizon and other devices communicate makes this clear.
Bluetooth uses radio waves, the same technology that makes wireless routers and broadcast radio functional. The key difference between those technologies and Bluetooth is the distance at which it can operate. While your favorite public radio station can broadcast a signal for miles, Bluetooth only works within your Personal Area Network (PAN). Bluetooth radio devices that travel beyond 33 feet can no longer reach Bluetooth receivers.
Bluetooth Enabled Devices
A Bluetooth enabled device may be an AT&T cell phone, Verizon cell phone or even a car stereo, computer or any other electronic device embedded with the Bluetooth radio, a microchip capable of broadcasting and receiving a Bluetooth signal. In addition to the chip, Bluetooth-enabled devices have software designed to allow you to connect them with other Bluetooth devices. Because Bluetooth is a third-party standard, it doesn't matter which company makes the device. For example, if a Windows laptop and a Mac OS X laptop are both Bluetooth enabled, they can connect directly.
How Bluetooth Works
You must manually turn on a Bluetooth antenna, so it remains "discoverable." You can then scan for other discoverable devices within range and request "parity" with any device you find. To establish a paired connection, users on both devices are required to enter a four-digit passcode. When parity is established, data can be transferred from one device to the other. This acts as a security feature, allowing an AT&T phone to transfer data to a Verizon phone only when the owners of both devices consent.
What Bluetooth Transmits
Manufacturers decide the extent of data you can transmit using Bluetooth. For example, AT&T may decide that its phones can transmit contacts only, while Verizon allows them to transmit contacts and music files. The data Bluetooth can transmit varies from one device to another. Data isn't limited to files, however. Bluetooth headsets are common cell phone accessories for transmitting voice data between devices.
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