With all digital telephony gradually moving across to the VoIP network over the coming years one area which is thought less about is the fax machine. Whilst many businesses we come across do not have a fax machine at all, there are some companies that still greatly rely on a fax and as such it must be something to be considered when upgrading networks.
The reason that it must be considered is that a fax machine is an analogue device, and therefore either requires an analogue line, or an analogue port on a phone system across digital lines. Whilst a Voice over IP enabled system may still have an analogue port, it is not as simple as plug and play…
So, what options are available if you still have a need for fax?
- Move your number to Fax to Email
We regularly come across companies that have a fax machine ‘just in case someone sends a fax’ as they often still have the number published on the website. Fax to Email is perfect for this route as it is a low-cost option, and allows any fax sent to the number to be converted to an email file, and received on a dedicated mailbox.
The only negative is that faxes can only be received and not sent, so whilst this route is perfect for many users happy to receive faxes and just send emails, it may not be suitable for all.
- Use an adaptor to allow for connection of the fax machine to the phone system
Fax is an old technology and a fax machine is classed as an analogue device, designed to work across analogue lines, or connected to an analogue port of a digital system. SIP is a newer technology and has not been designed to be compatible with fax, as such to get the two connected requires an ATA (Analogue Terminal Adaptor), which converts the signal and transmits it across IP. However, this is more of a ‘fix’ than a robust solution and if there is no other option, this would be the best way to go, but we wouldn’t recommend this if avoidable.
- Connect the Fax Machine to a spare analogue line
Whilst we would always try to move onto newer and better technologies, if a fax machine is a complete necessity then other than fax to email, the solution which we would recommend would be to keep the fax on an analogue line – usually there is one which is used for internet/PDQ/alarm and if so, it is possible to simply connect the fax and use this – whilst it may be on a different number, if you need to keep the existing number, the top line of the fax can be changed to show the number you want to present, and the number published can be set as fax to email so can still receive faxes.
Whilst this route is good we would recommend speaking to whoever manages the service on the line to check they are happy with a fax being used as well.
Of course there is always the option of using technology to overcome the ‘workaround’ – when sending a document now many people simply scan and email – if you are looking for devices to assist with this feel free to ask and we can put you in touch with companies that can help.
For any more info on faxes, feel free to get in touch via the website or send us a tweet @TimeTele