Electric Printing Telegraph was introduced in the year 1865. Telephone invented after a decade. Scanning phototelegraph came in 1881. Telautograph was the first Fax machine (1888). Internet fax or e-fax uses the Internet Protocols to send a fax rather than using traditional phone networks with fax machine. This includes web fax, email fax, and also VoIP fax.
However, IP fax is technically different. IP fax transmits data over an intranet from a networked device another IP address. IP fax does not require a dedicated server or mail server. Here is brief technical aspects of Internet Fax or e-fax.
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Advantages of Internet Fax or e-fax
The term virtual fax or Internet fax or e-fax service applies to sending and receiving fax using various means such as email without to the need to have traditional requirements such as fax machine, telephone line, and other traditional consumables. The main difference with traditional faxing lies in the way of faxing. Now even a physical line connection or a physical machine to send and receive faxes is no longer needed. As a result we can can send and receive faxes from anywhere, by simply having internet connection and a device able to open such PDF documents, word, etc.
We are not needing no additional hardware or software, telephone line, paper for fax and also e-fax is integrated with email, can store faxes online securely encrypted, can receive multiple faxes simultaneously, reduces phone costs, possibility to receive fax wherever Internet access is present from mobile phones, smartphones and tablets too.
Technical Aspects of Internet Fax or e-fax
A fax machine is a scanner, a modem, and a printer which transmits data in the form of pulses to a recipient fax machine which then transforms these pulses into images and prints them on paper. The phone connection must not be a packet-based system, but old PSTN. Line diagram of a traditional fax system can be :
Fax machine → Phone line → Fax machine
In case of Internet Fax, the hardcopy is converted to PDF or image data and is sent via TCP/IP directly. So, there can be two line diagrams :
Computer → Phone line → Fax machine
Fax machine → Phone line → Computer
Internet Fax Servers or Gateways
Common method is computer-based faxing which involves a fax server/gateway to convert the documents between faxes and emails. This is called fax to mail or mail to fax. This is superior over the traditional fax machine. So, there can be two line diagrams :
Fax machine → Phone line → Fax gateway → email message (over Internet) → computer email account
Computer → Internet → Fax gateway → Phone line → Fax machine
Business Aspects of Internet Fax or e-fax
Note that – fax has a number. That fax number is assigned to user, who will use a compatible device – be it traditional fax machine or Internet Fax. There are also virtual fax number. Cheaper service may not allow to receive faxes from traditional fax at all!
For example, XMedius provides enterprise grade e-fax service. XMedius is fully officially compatible and has documentation for Cisco and Xerox’s devices. For sending 0-10 faxes per year, one can easily use FaxZero plus k7.net’s service, which will be free.
Pay as you go model is impractical as you need to pay for that fax number part (like domain names). Internet fax is basically a software that is able to use the FAX communication protocol. In internet fax as no telephone connection is involved in sending a fax over the Internet, the cost of sending faxes is the Internet connection fee. The recipient machine must also be compatible with Internet fax. There There are basically three types of fax services :
- Internet based third party services or cloud fax
- Self hosted/installed software on computer or server
- Fax services integrated with email
Most commonly used is the first type.