Faxing over the internet has been unable to deliver acceptable reliability, despite landline faxing being an important medium for exchanging signatured documents and used by government departments, financial institutions and professional firms.
“Faxing over the web has always been something of a hit and miss scenario,” said Shannon Duffin, operations director of leading voice over internet protocol (VoIP) for Switch Telecom.
Duffin added: “You’re never quite sure the fax has actually been delivered in its entirety. This uncertainty results in the inevitable trip to the local Postnet which completely defeats the point of having access to transmission technology.”
The reliability challenge has been addressed through the T.38 fax over internet protocol (FoIP) and Switch Telecom’s entire network is reportedly T.38 enabled, which has essentially breathed new life into the fax.
“A simple adapter plugged into an existing fax machine means one can use a VoIP line to reliably send and receive faxes in real time,” said Duffin.
“There is no need to store and send faxes later on. This is particularly important for the legal profession, for example, where certain rules of evidence demand that documents are sent and received in real time.”
Duffin said further the traditional fax machine equipped “with all its bells and whistles” is now able to transmit across an invisible internet protocol (IP) network, which circumvents the unreliable faxing protocols as well as expensive landline networks.
Due to Switch Telecom’s T.38 enabled FoIP network, their clients will reportedly experience savings between 30 and 50 per cent on fax transmission costs. This depends on the size of the faxes being sent as well as the destination of the fax.
Furthermore, a VoIP line subscription used for faxing reportedly costs a quarter of that of landline alternatives.
“T.38 means that the many South Africans who still depend on faxing can, with a simple hardware attachment and a reliable broadband connection, use a variety of devices to transmit highly-detailed, better looking faxes that virtually eliminate any possibility of interpretation errors,” said Duffin.
Duffin added: “Faxing is so ingrained in certain public and private sector institutions that it doesn’t make sense to try convert them to email. Rather, the solution is a more reliable way of faxing.”