IP Faxing | Faxing over IP | A Cheaper Way of Sending Fax

Fax machine in action
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy

Traditional faxing involves sending facsimile (fax) messages, using a fax machine, over a PSTN phone line. This can cost a lot for heavy faxers, especially those in businesses. So, with the advent of VoIP, which has proved to be a great way of saving money on voice communications, and which has been replacing the expensive traditional PSTN phone system in many places, people have been thinking of using VoIP channels to send faxes.

This practice has been known as IP Faxing, or Faxing over IP (FoIP) or simply Internet Faxing. In so doing, it was expected to cut down costs and make faxing easier in certain ways. If you happen to send many faxes, you might have considered IP Faxing, and if you did so, you are right.

However, faxing over IP has not been as successful as voice over IP has been. Quality and efficiency weren’t at the rendezvous. This is mostly because IP Faxing did not have a technology of its own and instead uses VoIP as an underlying technology. Over the years, the technology has improved. Although there is still much room for improvement, we now we have standards and enhanced mechanisms for faxing over LANs and the Internet.

Why Send Fax Over IP?

The leading reason for sending fax over IP instead of traditional phone lines is the reduced cost. In some cases, fax can be sent for free. In most cases, expensive additional equipment is not necessary, as an existing fax machine can still be use.

If you already have a VoIP line, then you will have an ATA (phone adapter), which is required in many cases. If investing on a fax gateway and server is above your means – and it is for most of you – then you can consider IP faxing services that offer you the service and many features for a monthly fee.

There are actually many reasons why people choose faxing over IP. Read more on those here.

How to Send Fax over IP?

There are basically three ways in which you can send fax messages over IP. They are:

  • Sending fax over a VoIP line using the G.711 codec
  • Using store-and-forward faxing (also called Internet faxing) using the T.37 standard
  • Using the much enhanced real-time T.38 standard and fax gateways
Read more on how to send and receive fax over IP:

I must add here that in many cases, there is something you can do if all these don’t work. I don’t think we can call it faxing any more, but it does save the day. Scan your document into a picture or PDF file and send it as attachment to an email message. Your recipient will receive it as a picture or PDF and print it back.