Faxing business documents is a standard day-to-day activity is a compelling necessity in organizations all over the world. Faxing is critical to making sure that important documents get where they need to go fast.
A traditional fax system comprises of three essential components - a scanner, a modem, and a printer. It transmits data in the form of pulses via a telephone line to the receiving end where there usually is present a similar fax machine, which then transforms these pulses into images, and prints them on paper. Thus, the traditional faxing method requires a dedicated phone line and only one fax can be sent /received at a given time.
Internet Fax entails a thoroughly different procedure and costs very little especially when fax messages are frequently exchanged with overseas or distant offices. As no telephone connection is involved, the cost of sending faxes is covered entirely by the fixed line Internet connection fee. The only hiccup is the recipient machine must also be compatible with Internet Fax.
Not so long ago, a clever cookie decided that the internet could be used to send faxes more efficiently than the age-old fax machine. The procedure for sending documents via internet faxing method is quite simple. Hardcopy is converted to TIFF or PDF data and attached to an e-mail in MIME format. Then, taking advantage of a connection to the office LAN, data is sent via TCP/IP directly to any Internet Fax on the intranet or Internet.
Please know that the Internet has several methods of sending/ receiving a fax. The one widely used method is an extension of computer-based faxing. This method involves using a fax server/gateway to the Internet to convert documents between faxes and emails. The process is often referred to as 'fax to mail' or 'mail to fax'.
This technology eliminates the need for an uncouth fax machine as well as the additional telephone line and the use of consumables and because of this distinct advantage it has started to edge out the traditional fax machine.
When you obtain your fax number, you also create an email address for that particular number. That email address will receive a message with an attached PDF version of all faxes sent to the fax number assigned to it. You can the view the fax messages by opening the attached PDF with your PDF viewer software.
Although there are many other format for documents / images, PDF is still preferred as PDF viewers are available for all operating systems and are not platform-dependent. The Web is replete with e-fax services that work through your computer and a scanner - if necessary.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has become increasingly popular. Compressing fax signals is not the same as compressing voice signals. Thus, a new standard (T.38) has been created for this purpose. Using a (sending) VoIP adapter and (receiving) gateway which are both T.38 compliant, most fax machines can be plugged into the VoIP adapter in the same manner as a regular phone line. This is an interesting and highly useful development.