Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and FAX

Most people know that FAX, mainly meant for analog service networks, cannot be sent perfectly over VoIP networks. It’s because, during FAX communication, the signal is used in a manner that is different from voice communication. Since the technology of a VoIP phone system involved, first the digitization and then compression of analog voice in a manner that is suitable for VOICE communication and not FAX, a change over to the VoIP system necessitates certain measures.

Using existing fax machines with VOIP – To use the old machine to send Fax through a VoIP phone, a VoIP Gateway is the best option, along with a T38 enabled Analog Technology Adapter (ATA). The T38 protocol permits a VoIP network to facilitate ‘movement’ of a Fax communication over it.

Using a Computer-based Fax with voip phone – The 3CX Phone compatible with Microsoft Windows includes a complete fax server that allows faxes to be sent by forwarding them in a PDF file format through e-mail. Faxes can be sent from everywhere within the Microsoft network in this case. This T38 enabled fax server facility is included in the Windows Server package (2003 and 2008) for free. The alternative is to use different fax servers which can be bought in the open market, but which need soft IP drivers that are Dialogic and which are much more expensive, with separate license.

Using Direct Fax Connection to Analog Phone – Using a VoIP system for voice communication does not mean that one has to send a fax mandatorily through the VoIP. One can connect the analog cable phone line directly to the fax machine without using the VoIP system at all, to continue faxing the traditional format.

Using a T38 Fax Ensemble – Faxing data works through the T38 protocol in this case. A T38 enabled VoIP gateway is needed with the T38 fax machine, card or software. Software for the fax server that reads T38 will allow one to send and receive a fax directly through the VoIP gateway. The system vacates the need for extra fax equipment or hardware.

In Fax over Internet Protocol (FoIP) systems, the pages are faxed over the internet phone through internet and the standard fax machine becomes redundant in this case. Most providers of VoIP systems include FoIP in their service features. For business voip systems, the FoIP feature is almost mandatory because consolidation of data resources like fax, voice etc makes for savings opportunities and therefore using FoIP, when VoIP is in place, is logical for those people who are managing networks. This allows full use of the extra broadband capacities for both voice and data communication transmissions.

However, traditional fax machines are still not redundant. Several countries across the world do not recognize digital signatures as legal. Therefore, faxed contracts with signatures, sent through traditional fax machines, have greater validity. Also sending sensitive information in encrypted format through internet is not approved of, keeping the use of old fax systems for data communications is alive for now.

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