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October 04, 2011

The State of T.38 FoIP Interoperability Over SIP Carrier Networks

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor


Many organizations still rely heavily on fax communications as part of their daily business processes. Too often, amid newly deployed VoIP and unified communications infrastructures, organizations overlook implementing fax as part of their converged IP strategy.

That’s where T.38 fax over IP (FoIP) interoperability over SIP carrier networks comes in. T.38 is a communications standard recommendation for allowing transmission of fax over IP networks in real time. FoIP works via T.38, where T.38 is a protocol that describes how to send a fax over a computer data network.

T.38 provides a real-time transmission support with multi-vendor interoperability and a robust redundancy mechanism. These attributes are some of the main reasons why T.38 interoperability over SIP carrier networks has risen to be the de facto standard for FoIP communications and why T.38 interoperability over SIP carrier networks should be a first choice when selecting a fax transport solution for any network.

Gonzalo Salgueiro, senior engineer at the Cisco (News - Alert) Technical Assistance Center gave his two cents on the state of T.38 interoperability over SIP carrier networks at Cisco Live 2011 in Las Vegas recently.

“Right now we’re seeing really a mobilization and a lot of leadership from the SIP Forum (News - Alert) where I’m actually co-chair of the Fax over IP workgroup,” said Salgueiro. “We’re working with the i3 Forum which is actually a coalition of IP carriers and we’ve got a worldwide testing effort in place right now to increase interoperability and improve success rates.”

According to i3forum.org, the goal of the i3 Forum is to develop collaborative recommendations for an industry-wide transition of voice and related services to Internet Protocol (IP). The forum's unified effort to expedite global IP-based voice implementation will enhance worldwide communication by supporting widespread access to innovative and high quality IP-based services and applications.

“Now we’re wrapping up all the worldwide testing that we’re doing for interoperability and, here at the end now what we’re doing is trying to centralize and consolidate all of the information for the data analysis,” said Salgueiro. “Once we’ve finished doing that, is to actually publish those results and produce an informational RFC detailing some best practices in deploying fax in SIP environments.”  


Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell


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