Fax Machines and Fast VOIP Digital Connections

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Fax machines are analog. VOIP is digital. They come from two different worlds. Despite the best efforts to get the two to mix, there hasn't been much success. While transmitting the human voice over traditional telephones works pretty well over digital connections, fax data is a completely different story.

It's all about packet loss. Very simply (and quickly), the old fashioned telephone networks were designed to have data enter and leave at a constant rate of speed -- perfect for regular fax machines. However, as soon as those signals begin crossing over to Internet connections, strange things begin to happen to those data packets and quality of service (QoS) flies out the window, particularly with fax data. In fact, as developers continue to improve the quality of voice transmissions across the Internet, the faxing capabilities will get worse, not better. And you can bet that 99% of the efforts will be to improve voice connections.

Developers have little incentive to improve faxing over VOIP, for one simple reason. The world is quickly converting over to a new fax technology called computer faxing, or Internet faxing. Not only is it less expensive (about half to cost of traditional faxing), but it enables you to send and receive faxes from your computer, laptop or mobile device, without the need of a fax machine, a phone line, or ink and paper.

Computer faxing has become a godsend to businesses that have switched to VOIP communications and unintentionally rendered their old fax machines useless. While some of the digital communication services say they have a "fix" for the fax issues, it usually involves additional expense with no assurance that things will work up to standard.

Setting up a computer fax account is fast and easy and will change the way you think about faxing. You will be assigned a toll free fax number (or you can keep the same fax number you have now) and when you receive a fax, the service will automatically digitize it and send it to you as an email attachment. Once you receive it, you can save it to your hard drive, forward to others, or print it out if you want a hard copy. It's not only more secure, because everyone in the office won't be looking at it before it gets to you, but it's also more convenient because you can receive faxes anywhere you can get email -- in the office, on the road or at home.

Sending faxes over the computer is just as easy. You simply use a special email address that includes the number of the receiving fax machine, and you attach your Word document (or other document format) to your email. Again, the service converts your Word document into a fax and sends it off to the receiver.

The nice part about this type of service is that it is completely compatible with any type of operating system (PCs, Macs, PDAs, etc) and will work with any Internet connection, including both cable modems and old fashioned phone lines. Moreover, people sending you faxes never get a busy signal and you don't have to standing line at the fax machine to send something. And if your fax machine stops working, or the MFP of MFD (Multi Function Printer or Device) shuts down, you will never be caught without fax functionality. It's always up to deliver and receive your faxes.

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