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September 1999

Internet Fax Products And Services

[Go To Side Bar: Get With The Program - Outsource Your Fax Machine And Your Fax Business]
[Go To Side Bar: Faxing Bangladesh]

Faxing is one area where the enterprise can not afford to compromise. While the growing acceptance of the Internet as a communications medium has certainly lightened the load for fax networks, it has by no means replaced them, and faxing will continue to be a necessary method for transferring data. Companies have traditionally kept little control over their fax costs -  expensive long-distance charges and a massive paper trail have all been accepted as part of the fax realm. But the advent of Internet faxing has changed this paradigm, and has created an efficient and cost-effective way to send and receive documents.

The products and services highlighted below represent a new way to fax - whether from PC to PC, PC to fax machine, or vice versa -  using the Internet as the transport medium. From the fax boards and servers that make up the core of the fax-over-IP genre, to the software and services that allow users to send and receive documents however they please, Internet fax is rapidly changing the way companies communicate. It has also become a valuable enhanced service offered by carriers and ISPs. So take some time to figure out which IP fax solution is right for you. It might be an all-inclusive package you can easily install on your network, or a piecemeal solution that will utilize your existing hardware and software for IP fax. But keep one thing in mind: If you're not utilizing the Internet for your faxing needs, you're wasting money.

- Laura Guevin

Net2Phone, Inc.
171 Main St., 2nd Fl.
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Ph: 201-692-3361
The new Net2Fax service from Net2Phone offers PC-to-fax functionality in a simple software package. The service allows users to send faxes to any fax machine in the world through the Internet, by signing up at the Net2Phone Web site. Users can fax from virtually any PC platform without multimedia capability, and can send fax broadcasts to multiple recipients through the service. Faxes travel over IP, then through the Net2Phone network to the recipient fax machine.

Faxes are sent via an interface on the desktop, or directly through a PC program. The Interactive Information center on Net2Phone's Web site allows users to check their account activity and calling and billing details. The company has made an agreement to incorporate Open Port Technology's fax client and server software to help power the solution. For more information or to sign up for the service, visit Net2Phone's Web site at www.net2phone.com.

FAXport Version 7.0
LANSource Technologies, Inc.
21 Randolph Ave., 4th Fl.
Toronto, ON Canada
Ph: 800-677-2727

The FAXport LAN server solution is a 32-bit fax messaging system geared toward Windows 95/98/NT, and allows users to fax-enable almost any Windows application. Using a load-balancing process, FAXport shares work between the client and server for optimum CPU utilization and a reduction of network traffic. It offers real-time confirmation of inbound and outbound faxes, and inbound traffic is routed to a user's desktop. Broadcast faxing is also enabled through the server.

Faxes may be routed to recipients through administrative routing, direct inward dialing (DID), dual tone modular frequency (DTMF), port/line routing, calling station identification, dialed number identification systems, and area number identification service. Other features include an enhanced fax image viewer, a security module for setting permissions for users, and local and remote administration. FAXport can also convert fax databases into phonebooks using OBDC or MAPI. For more information, visit the LANSource Web site at www.lansource.com.

RightFAX, version 6.0
RightFAX, Inc.
6303 E. Tanque Verde Rd., Ste. 200
Tucson, AZ 85715
Ph: 520-320-7000
RightFAX's RightFAX, version 6.0 fax server family has four different NT-based products to suit a variety of needs within the enterprise. The RightFAX, RightFAX Enterprise, RightFAX Enterprise Suite, and RightFAX Satellite Server offer easy maintenance and administration, and may be integrated with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. The new version offers the RightFAX Enterprise Fax Manager (EFM), for simultaneous, centralized management of all servers on the network through an Explorer-like interface.

Additional new features include paging and alerting support, so that users can get short messages and pages to be informed that a fax has arrived, fax sending failures, and new fax notification via Caller Subscriber Identification (CSID) or Automatic Number Identification (ANI). Server-side application conversion for Office 97/2000 documents is also included, as well as redundancy and load balancing, and a feature to maximize hardware in clustered server configurations.

UltiVerse Technologies
Watermill Center
800 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453
Ph: 781-642-7679

The UltiFax IP fax platform from UltiVerse offers a migration path for existing, legacy fax machines. Using a standard data or phone connection, the server may be seamlessly connected to fax machines, telephones, networks, or the Internet through a Microsoft Exchange architecture that utilizes Microsoft Message Queues (MSMQ). It offers a single message and directory store, and routes faxes and e-mail through MAPI and an enhanced print-to-fax driver. The server provides up to 96 ports of fax connectivity.

A personalized inbox system can convert e-mail to fax format and vice versa. Messages may also be sent and received remotely, and UltiFax offers secure messaging through password-protected inboxes. Cost tracking and billing features allow companies to calculate fax costs and perform real-time billing. Other features include remote network administration, outbound queuing for backup when Exchange fails, and fault recovery. For additional information, visit the company's Web site at www.ultiverse.com.

FaxStorm Internet Fax System
NetCentric Corporation
28 Crosby Dr.
Bedford, MA 01730
Ph: 781-685-5200

Netcentric's FaxStorm Internet Fax System allows subscribers to set up unique accounts, send and receive faxes, and access status information. The carrier-class IP fax system is compatible with HTTP, SMTP, and SNMP, and is geared toward large network service providers, allowing for easy integration with back-office systems, and the ability to sell wholesale services through ISPs.

The software is made up of a management server, which provides system management through configuration, account, and customer care managers; a messaging server for hosting subscribers-  accounts, providing user authentication, and collecting transaction information; a telephony server for PSTN-to-IP transmissions; and user access software which offers the option to fax from a desktop, e-mail, or traditional fax machine. For more information, visit Netcentric's Web site at www.netcentric.com.

NaturalFax/AG 4000
Natural MicroSystems
100 Crossing Blvd.
Framingham, MA 01702-5406
Ph: 508-620-9300

The NaturalFax/AG 4000 fax boards from Natural MicroSystems offer a high-density, low cost-per-port PCI platform for fax-over-IP deployment. The 4000 family of T1/E1 boards may be configured for up to 4,000 MIPS, and support ISDN and digital channel associated signaling (CAS). The boards also offer IVR functionality, switching, and fax-over-IP applications. The boards use the TMS 320C549 DSP chip from Texas Instruments with a 486 CPU controller chip for processing efficiency.

The 4000 digital interface board offers from eight to 120 intelligent fax ports on an open platform. The CT Access development software from Natural MicroSystems allows for open application programming through unified API and development tools, for simple development of multimedia and call control functions. The platform is compatible with the T.37 standard for store-and-forward fax, as well as the T.38 real-time fax standard. For additional information, visit the Natural MicroSystems Web site at www.nmss.com.

Enterprise Messaging Services (EMS)
905 Airport Rd., Ste. 300
West Chester, PA 19380
Ph: 610-701-7002
The itelfacs family of IP fax products and services allows businesses to reduce expenses through better management of their fax activities. Through the itelfacs family, users can send and receive faxes as e-mail messages, send faxes to an individual PC, and retrieve faxes from anywhere in the world. Users may also create cover pages and maintain their own set of distribution lists, fax numbers, and broadcast fax lists.

The product family is made up of the itelfacsENVOY, a transmission system for sending faxes over IP; itelfacsANYWHERE, a subscription service for remote retrieval of faxes via the Internet; and itelfacsDISPATCH, software so users may send faxes using their PCs, over IP or the PSTN. With the itelfacsANYWHERE service, businesses can allocate unlimited telephone numbers (through EMS) so users will have their own incoming fax numbers. For more information, visit the EMS Web site at www.emessages.com

Intisoft Communications Corp.
4261-A14 Hwy. #7, Ste. 277
Unionville, ON L3R 9W6 Canada
Ph: 416-219-9359

The FaxTop peripheral accessory for fax machines enables IP faxing from traditional fax machines. FaxTop allows users to continue using their current fax setups, while routing calls over the Internet for cost savings. The product features proprietary network congestion control for use even when network traffic is heavy, and uses encryption for security, and signing to add a digital signature to fax messages.

FaxTop is compatible with Netscape Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explorer/Outlook through S/MIME, and can interface with a G3 fax machine through a standard, RJ-11 connection. Additional features include immediate failure reports, an e-mail address book, fax storage of up to 40 pages, and fax directory lookup through LDAP and Microsoft ILS. For additional information, visit Intisoft’s Web site at www.intisoft.com

Genoa Technology
5401 Tech Circle
Moorpark, CA 93021
Ph: 805-531-9030

The ChannelGauge hardware and software testing system from Genoa Technology has a simple GUI for analyzing voice and fax traffic over digital lines. The interface offers a matrix of channel versus time periods for synchronizing calls and testing over multiple lines. The system also features a Batch Job Editor for executing separate test patterns and groups of patterns that simulate real traffic.

The system is scalable, and the network interface for T1/E1 may be configured for any switching protocol. Voice and fax testing may be done on all lines, and a ratio of voice and fax tests per session may be set. The ChannelGauge Result Analyzer and Statistical Report Generator offer an overall view of system operation, and results are presented by volume, channel, and protocol. For more information, visit Genoa’s Web site at www.gentech.com

Vodavi Communication Systems, Inc.
6961 Peachtree Industrial Blvd.
Norcross, GA 30092
Ph: 877-4VODAVI
For simple delivery of faxes from one fax system to another via the Internet, Vodavi offers the PathFinder platform. The PathFinder is a Windows NT-based platform, and runs fax delivery along with voice mail, and automated attendant. It features voice prompting for usage, and provides billing reports, and access control through account numbers and PINs. The platform also supports unlimited multi-node networks.

The product can receive a fax from any fax machine, and deliver it to another Pathfinder system anywhere in the world via IP. The receiving server will then access a local line to deliver the fax to the destination machine.

The PathFinder platform offers more than 100 ports with features like multi-lingual prompting, store-and-forward faxing, fax-on-demand, and integration with major PBXs. The fax capability is sold as an add-on to the basic platform. For more information, visit Vodavi’s Web site at www.vodavi.com.

GTE Internetworking
3 Van de Graaff Dr.
P.O. Box 3073
Burlington, MA 01803
Ph: 800-472-4565

GTE’s IP Fax service lets companies outsource their fax services, using GTE’s Global Network Infrastructure (GNI) for quality faxing over IP. Customers install GTE client software for sending point-to-point and broadcast faxes directly from the desktop — from any Windows application. Faxes are sent over GTE’s high-speed, managed data network to fax machines or desktops. Users can also track progress and delivery status from the desktop, and the software features several automatic retries if the fax is not delivered the first time.

Faxes may be received in a Web-based inbox, or through any Web connection for remote access. Users are assigned a direct inward dialing number for their inbox for secure transmission, and faxes may be forwarded from an in-box to a fax machine or e-mail account. They may also be saved as files or printed. For more information, visit GTE Internetworking’s Web site at www.bbn.com.

ProtoFax 3.1
22900 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 175
Woodland Hills CA, 91364
Ph: 800-551-063
This software server from ProtoNet allows a standard PC with a modem to become a fax and pager server. ProtoFax 3.1 will run on Windows 95/98/NT, and allows fax delivery and alphanumeric pages from the Internet to be delivered through e-mail, the Web, or a Windows application. The software supports HTML 3.2, and allows automation of incoming Web orders for e-commerce efficiency. It also offers an intelligent fax queue for fast broadcasting capability, and integration with proxy servers and firewalls for security.

ProtoFax 3.1 may be installed using standard hardware, and will run on an existing server as an IP fax gateway. Other features include the ability to retrieve e-mail from any existing account and deliver via fax to anywhere in the world. The software also includes a free print driver for faxing from Windows applications on client workstations. For additional information, visit ProtoNet’s Web site at www.protonet.com.

HotFax 4.0
Smith Micro Software, Inc.
51 Columbia
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Ph: 949-362-5800

The new HotFax 4.0 from Smith Micro Software offers a broad range of IP faxing features, including the ability to act as a personal office manager for fax, paging, and voice mail. The software’s Internet fax feature allows 3D FaxFile (50:1) compression of information, with immediate decompression on the receiving end. The new Fax Merge feature allows users to integrate separate faxes into one fax for time and cost savings. The product comes with a cover page designer, as well as fax management and logging capabilities. HotFax also features automated archiving for sent and received faxes, as well as automatic forwarding of received faxes if necessary. It maintains fax and data phonebooks for single-click faxing from any application.

The software is wireless, cellular compatible, and supports calling card dialing, distinctive ring, and caller ID. Other features include fax annotation and drag-and-drop faxing, optical character recognition (OCR), instant faxing through the QuickFax feature, and the ability to send failed faxes directly from the send fax log. HotFax may be integrated with a Microsoft Exchange phonebook, and also supports OLE, TAPI, and MAPI. For more information, visit Smith Micro’s Web site at www.smithmicro.com.

Biztrans Technology, Inc.
7432 Alban Station Blvd., Ste. B226
Springfield, VA 22150
Ph: 703-913-5554

The FaxAnywhere service from Biztrans Technology allows PC documents to be transmitted to any standard fax machine throughout the world. The service allows faxing from Microsoft Office documents, e-mail programs, and basically anything that can be printed within a Windows program. The installation software enables a PC to automatically dial the FaxAnywhere Fax Server to send and receive faxes, and use the FaxAnywhere print driver to send from Windows applications.

The server confirms delivery status via e-mail, and will send a monthly bill invoice to customers via e-mail or on hard copy. Customers are charged only for faxes that were successfully delivered. A 386 processor is the minimum hardware requirement to use the service, and customers must also have Windows 95/98/NT. For more information, visit the Biztrans Web site at www.biztrans.com

MegaHertz-NKO, Inc.
8160 Baymeadows Way West, Ste. 220
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Ph: 888-329-5225
The FaxJack routing device from MegaHertz-NKO directs domestic long-distance and international fax transmissions to a destination fax machine in real time, using the company’s NKOnet network. Call completion is ensured by the fail-safe connectivity feature built into each FaxJack, and the destination machine does not need to have a FaxJack.

The FaxJack can work in tandem with the company’s FaxJet service, which allows customers to route their faxes over the NKO network without changing their long-distance providers. Fax quality is assured since the company’s network handles data transmission exclusively, and digital error correction is provided. Other features include usage information reporting, and the ability to fax without dialing extra numbers or changing a fax machine’s configuration. For more information, visit the MegaHertz-NKO Web site at www.nko.com.

TR 114 Series
Brooktrout Technology, Inc.
410 First Ave.
Needham, MA 02494
Ph: 781-449-4100
Brooktrout’s TR 114 Series of fax boards offer advanced fax and voice processing for fax transmission and reception, voice recording and playback, call progress, and DTMF detection and generation. Advanced fax features include 14.4 Kbps transmission, error correction mode, MMR compression, and T.434-compliant binary file transfer. Digital configurations are available in two-, four-, and eight-channel boards, which have MVIP or PEB interfaces. The boards are also available in two- and four-channel analog, featuring loop-start or on-board DID telephone interfaces.

The TR 114 Series boards feature one integrated CISC and DSP processor per channel, and one MB of RAM standard per channel, with another MB optional. They are compliant with the ITU T.30 fax standard, and feature on-the-fly image conversion and handling for ASCII, PCX/DCX, TIFF-F, MR, MH, and MMR documents. For additional information, visit Brooktrout’s Web site at www.brooktrout.com

3255-3 Scott Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Ph: 800-289-7555

Castelle’s FaxPress servers offer the ability to send faxes from Windows applications like Microsoft Office, Lotus SmartSuite, and Microsoft Exchange/Outlook. The servers also integrate with other e-mail packages, for flexible, scalable routing of fax documents over the Internet. The standalone FaxPress servers do not require fax modem boards, software, or even a dedicated PC, and the system comes with independent hardware. Inbound faxes are delivered directly to the desktop via DID, ISDN, T.30 sub-addressing, DTMF, line group routing, and manual routing.

The servers come in four models: The OfficeConnect Fax Server, which features one fax line for less than 50 users; the FaxPress 1500-N, featuring one to two lines for less than 100 users; the FaxPress 3500, with two to four lines for an unrestricted number of users, and the FaxPress 5000, with four to eight lines. All models integrate with GoldMine sales automation software, and feature support for the T.4 and T.30 fax standards. For more information, visit Castelle’s Web site at www.castelle.com

Fax2Net, Inc.
2275 Research Blvd., Ste. 320
Rockville, MD 20850
Ph: 301-721-0400

The Fax2Net service offers a reliable means of sending and receiving international faxes over the Internet and other digital networks. The service is made up of a call router, which connects a fax machine or modem to a telephony jack, and routes long-distance fax calls to a local Fax2Net server. The router also detects customer access information for each call, for added security.

The Fax2Net fax servers are located throughout the world, and route transmissions to and from the service’s customers, who use the Fax2Net desktop setup for Windows 95/98/NT. The servers also compress and decompress information for speedy transmission. A database clearinghouse acts as the central repository for all network traffic information, and offers account billing information, traffic monitoring, and statistical data. It is also used to maintain and update system configurations. For more information, visit Fax2Net’s Web site at www.fax2net.com

FaxMission 3.0
FaxNet Corporation
98 North Washington St.
Boston, MA 02114
Ph: 617-557-4300

The FaxMission 3.0 faxing software from FaxNet Corporation offers free inbound faxes sent as attachments to an existing e-mail account. Faxes may be viewed with a standard fax viewer, forwarded, stored, or printed. Outbound faxes may be sent to a fax number or e-mail address, along with multiple attachments from various Windows applications. Broadcast faxing is also enabled, as well as mail merge and real-time Web-based status display.

Faxes may be redirected to a fax machine via an Integrated Voice Response (IVR) system, and delivery notification reports are sent via e-mail. The outbound faxing software requires a LAN or dial-up connection to the Internet, and an Intel 486/66 Pentium processor or faster. TCP/IP and an e-mail application are also required to use the e-mail features. For more information, visit FaxNet’s Web site at www.faxnet.net

FaxLauncher Pro 1.1
NetMoves Corporation (formerly FaxSav)
399 Thornall St.
Edison, NJ 08837
Ph: 732-906-2000

The FaxLauncher Pro 1.1 software from NetMoves offers the ability to send a fax from a PC to any fax machine in the world via IP. Faxes are delivered through an existing Internet connection, and the software offers broadcast fax capabilities through a PC, or via the company’s EZ-List Broadcast Services for sending high-volume faxes to just about any-sized list. FaxLauncher also features automatic retries for busy signals, fax status checking, the ability to edit, resend, or redirect a sent fax, and offline queuing of faxes.

Customers pay only for successful delivery of faxes, and the software also features account codes for tracking costs by department, person, or project. Multiple documents may also be combined for more efficient faxing. FaxLauncher is compatible with Windows 98, and features a cover-page designer, address book importing, and the ability to import TIFF files. Other features include being able to resend individual faxes that were part of a group list, and breaking up group faxing results into successful and unsuccessful folders. For additional information, visit the NetMoves Web site at www.netmoves.com

IPLaunchPad Fax Suite
Open Port Technology
676 N. St. Clair St., Ste. 900
Chicago, IL 60611

Open Port bundles its Fax Suite with the IP LaunchPad platform, so that service providers can offer new and enhanced services through an out-of-the-box application. The software suite allows customers to fax from a fax machine, PC, e-mail application, or Web client — over IP. The IP LaunchPad Fax Client may also be used for Windows-based faxing, with an interface similar to Microsoft Outlook. The Fax Suite includes broadcasting ability, the ability to fax to a “never busy” fax mailbox, designated by an assigned DID number, and fax on demand.

The Fax Suite can interface with other faxing applications that support the T.30 and T.37 fax protocols. It offers built-in intelligence with least-cost routing, and management of transaction costs including load balancing, PSTN termination charges, and bandwidth allocation. Switch-based redirection is also featured, in which the software intercepts a call and uses intelligent network redirection to forward it to IP LaunchPad for least-cost delivery. For more information, visit Open Port’s Web site at www.openport.com

Panafax DX-1000
Panasonic Office Products Company
2 Panasonic Way
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Ph: 800-742-8086

The Panafax DX-1000 from Panasonic allows seamless com-munication between fax machines and desktops, for standard or desktop IP faxing. The product uses the T.37 standard, as well as universal e-mail protocols like TCP/IP, POP3, SMTP, and MIME forsending paper-based documents as TIFF-F e-mail attachments among PCs and fax machines - to promote secure, paperless faxing.

The DX-1000 can route G3 faxes to recipients- e-mail inboxes, if they are sent with a sub-address from any sub-address-compatible G3 fax machine. Desktop faxing may be performed from any PC application, as long as the free Panasonic TIFF-Converter and mail linking software for MAPI is in-stalled. The machine also operates as a 400 dpi network scanner for creating TIFF-F image files, which are sent to a PC as e-mail attachments. IT can also act as a local network printer if the downloadable printer driver and line printer remote software is installed. For additional information, visit Panasonic's Web site at www.panasonic.com

ArelNet, Ltd.
3 Hayarden St.
P.O. Box 76
Yavne, 70600 Israel
Ph: 972-8-942-0880
For real-time IP fax services, ArelNet offers the i-Tone carrier-class gateway for transfer of voice and data. The i-Tone supports real-time fax-to-fax, e-mail-to-fax, fax broadcasting, and Web-based faxing services, as well as store-and-forward services. It also enables voice over data services. Faxing may be done from Win-dows applications, in addition to faxing through e-mail or a Web interface. The i-Tone is H.323 compliant, and offers packet recovery algorithms for compatibility with third-party destination systems.

Other features include efficient network utilization, least-cost routing, advanced billing capabilities, and high resiliency and redundancy. The gateway also offer remote administration, encryption, and authentication, as well as seamless network management.

It uses error correction on IP packets, and offers basic spoofing of fax machines to make up for dropped packet recover delays and IP network jitter. The T.30 fax standard is also supported. For additional information, visit ArelNet's Web site at www.arelnet.com.

Impact Fax Server 3.01
Black Ice Software, Inc.
292 Route 101
Amherst, NH 03031
Ph: 603-673-1019

The Impact Fax Server 3.01 from Black Ice Software enables e-mail-to-fax and fax-to-e-mail capability, as well as the option to use a Web browser as the client for accessing messages. Incoming faxes are forwarded directly to an e-mail address, while outgoing messages are sent to the server through fax or e-mail. The server integrates with Microsoft Exchange or Outlook and provides a universal mailbox for fax and e-mail.

Other features include inbound routing through DID, DTMF, and subaddressing, as well as an advanced TIFF viewer with an annotation and cover page generator. Users may also keep a phonebook, and can send broadcast faxes, or automatically print incoming faxes. The Impact Fax Server works with Class 1, Class 2, or Class 2.0 modem and fax boards from Brooktrout, Dialogic, Natural MicroSystems, and Gammalink. Remote administration is enabled, and an activity montior creates usage reports and offers real-time status information. For more information, visit the Black Ice Web site at www.blackice.com

Fax Sr. Enterprise
OmTool, Ltd.
8 Industrial Way
Salem, NH 03079
Ph: 603-898-8900

The Fax Sr. Enterprise system from OmTool allows companies to automate their fax communications from the desktop over IP. The Fax Sr. Server receives and routes inbound faxes, and handles acceptance, prioritizing, queuing, and sending options for outbound faxes. It runs on Windows NT, UNIX, or the VMS server operating system, and can be administered from Windows 95/98/NT. The Fax Sr. Client allows users to create, send, or receive faxes from a Windows or Mac desk-top, or from any Web browser.

The system also offers components for interfacing the fax server with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, and enterprise e-mail systems, for an integrated messaging platform. It also offers a native gateway to interface with SAP R3 and R4 systems, in addition to APIs for use by resellers, IT professionals, and integrators for creation of custom interfaces between the fax server and existing applications. For more information, visit OmTool's Web site at www.omtool.com.

LightningFAX v6.5
Interstar Technologies, Inc.
5835 Verdun Ave., Ste. 302
Montreal, QC H4H 1M1 Canada
Ph: 514-766-1668
Interstar's LightningFAX v6.5 fax server software works with Windows NT, Sun Solaris, or AIX, and may be used with one or several fax boards for handling up to 960 fax lines per server, and three million fax messages at a time. LightningFAX servers communicate over IP and feature load balancing, redundancy, and LCR control for an e-commerce fax solution. The software integrates with other Windows applications for easy-to-use faxing, and users may have multiple phone books and personalized user settings. Detailed fax logs may also be archived and exported.

Other features of the software include automatic archiving of faxes, and an auto-switching backup system. A secure client/server architecture allows only authorized users to access the server, and the administrator may grant three levels of access rights to users. A graphical fax monitor is used for queue management, and features real-time status reporting and fax priority transmission scheduling. Batch file faxing is also enabled, as well as fax routing for the enterprise through DID, DATMF, DNIS, line, or channel transmission. For more information, visit the Interstar Web site at www.faxserver.com

DM3 IPLink Release 3
Dialogic Corporation
1515 Route Ten
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Ph: 973-993-3000

Release 3 of Dialogic's DM3 IPLink IP telephony boards enables real-time fax over IP through a firmware download of the GDK 4.0 software development kit. The boards, which feature densities of four to 60 ports for PCI and CompactPCI, run on Windows NT, UnixWare 7, and Sun Solaris. They are used as a development platform for fax over IP, and support Ethernet connectivity, media stream processing, and a PSTN interface on one card. The DM3 IPLink boards are H.323 compliant, and support the T.38 fax protocol.

Developers may put up to four DM3 series boards in a single chassis, for up to 120 ports of fax connectivity in four PCI slots. Based on Dialogic's mediastream architecture, the boards support T.30 features, and advanced compression schemes and modem speeds for sending and receiving - on 24 or 30 channels. They also allow for enhancements like color faxing, and support of V.34 for 28.8 Kbps fax transmission. For additional information, visit Dialogic's Web site at www.dialogic.com.

Get With The Program - Outsource Your Fax Machine And Your Fax Business


Relying on traditional fax machines costs companies a fortune. Surprised? For many companies, fax communications constitute hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars per year. Most companies are deeply invested in the fax business, paying for all infrastructure and business costs associated with this communication medium.

In isolation, these costs seem relatively insignificant when compared with the importance of the individual documents transmitted. However, viewed in its totality, faxing is a substantial investment of resources that can be redirected to the company’s core business.

Research and analysis of faxing costs — otherwise known as the total cost of fax (TCOF) — offer data that varies depending on a company’s size. The examples below will demonstrate the dynamics of per-page fax costs, as well as show surprisingly significant results.

For most companies, the TCOF breaks down into two categories. Hard costs include transmission/-yield, connectivity, hardware, and support and supplies. Soft costs comprise security and fraud, efficiency, reporting and control, and confidentiality.

Most would say the cost of sending a fax is equal to corporate long-distance phone charges. While this is a component, it is by no means the most significant cost of being in the fax business. Today, many large corporations enjoy long-distance rates of six cents per minute, with international rates continuing to decrease. With a 75/25 split of domestic and international fax traffic, it can be assumed that corporations spend an average of between 12 cents and 18 cents per page on transmission costs (based on a transmission rate of 45 seconds per page).

The other component of transmission costs is equal to the yield — specifically, on any given fax transmission, as some pages may not transmit successfully on the first try, either as the result of a paper jam, interruption during the transmission, or an error condition at the receiving end. This inefficient yield invariably results in higher transmission costs.

The second, most-easily identifiable cost is connectivity. Most fax machines require a dedicated analog phone line. At an average corporate rate of $16 per month, if a given fax machine sends five pages an hour, every hour during the work week, that equates to 800 pages per month or about 2 cents per page. Additionally, faxing also incurs an operational cost, which oftentimes is difficult to identify and allocate (e.g. set up, moving, administering dedicated phone lines, etc.).

Similarly, the cost of the physical fax machine must be amortized over the total number of pages faxed. Assuming the average corporate fax machine costs $600 and lasts three years, using the traffic patterns from the example above would add another two cents per page, excluding maintenance or service contracts which add to the annual cost.

Finally, supplies such as toner and paper, and the administrative burden of ordering and stocking these supplies, only further adds to the per-page cost of each received fax transmission. Given the variety of paper and toner costs, this number is difficult to allocate on a per-page basis, but it is a cost that should be included as part of the total cost of operating a fax business. For the purpose of this illustration, assume that supplies add at least a penny to the cost of sending a fax.

Given the above estimates, the cost of an average fax page can add up to more than 20 cents per page. For a company sending thousands of fax pages a day, costs skyrocket to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

So far we have only examined the identifiable, “hard” costs associated with faxing. However, there are intangible costs associated with faxing that not only directly impact the company, but individual employees as well. The frustration factor significantly impacts the end user’s view of faxing. How often is one under a deadline waiting for a fax machine to free up? Then, once ready, the first three attempts to transmit result in a busy signal, and then — after finally getting a connection — a paper jam occurs. This insidious cost of faxing doesn’t show up as a line item on the P&L; rather, it results in workers feeling some kind of frustration.

Above and beyond this common frustration is the inefficiency of faxing, whereby documents are printed, physically transported to a fax machine, and manually fed into the machine while a fax number is entered. Typically, the sender has to monitor the transmission to ensure all the pages transmit properly. Utilizing this disconnected piece of equipment is contrary to today’s digital workplace, where employees are used to queuing print documents or e-mail messages on a server and going right back to work. The paradigm of using a “disconnected” piece of equipment without a document buffer seems archaic.

A host of other indirect costs result from the traditional fax infrastructure, collectively relating to security, management and control. Security is a multi-faceted issue, ranging from the public dissemination of confidential material (e.g., account passwords, company financial data, offer letters or resumes, employee medical data) faxed to public machines, to the unauthorized use of fax machine telephone handsets for long-distance calls (by virtue of the analog line bypassing the PBX).

Corporate fax is expensive, frustrating, and inefficient, but what is the alternative?

Faxing over a managed IP network reduces the time and costs associated with business fax communications, while offering a consolidated set of communication services running over a high-speed, high-capacity, reliable, and efficient private fiber network. Outsourcing fax services and running them over an IP network that is already in place allows corporations to:

  • Reduce the total cost of fax. Fax machines, fax servers, circuit, and maintenance costs are reduced or eliminated, enabling buyers to transform their LAN/WAN environments into a virtual fax distribution center without the costs of expensive circuit requirements, or the labor associated with end-user interaction.
  • Enjoy a rich set of features for end users. Users can send faxes from a variety of sources, such as PC desktops, e-mail accounts, and fax machines, as well as receive faxes through the PC, fax machine, or via e-mail. Broadcast fax capabilities, a contact manager, and the ability to mix fax and e-mail recipients into group faxes are now standard offerings available to IP fax users. With secure browser access, users can view their faxes from anywhere on the managed IP network or the public Internet. By leveraging the browser interface, specialty installed client software is eliminated and end-user training is greatly reduced.
  • Receive usage reports. Detailed calling records are accessible from a password-protected Web site. This fax status information can include calling and receiving numbers, number of pages, modem speed, number of minutes per transmission and more for both incoming and sent faxes.
  • Transmit and receive faxes securely. Users can prevent faxes from being automatic ally printed in public areas and/or at times when they
    can be seen by unauthorized employees. Additionally, sensitive faxes can be routed to others online, providing an even greater measure of security. This enables a PC desktop or laptop to be turned into a secure fax machine and server without the financial costs of installing additional phone lines, purchasing hardware, or using scarce office space.
  • Leverage existing IP infrastructure investment. By leveraging a global network infrastructure and facilities, companies can minimize capital expenditures and save time and money by allowing the network and security experts at the IP fax service provider to manage the network. As well, IP fax can be integrated within a suite of IP-based communications services just now entering the market such as unified messaging, Internet call waiting, and voice over IP, each of which can be easily integrated as part of a flexible IP network architecture.

With the availability of outsourced and enhanced IP fax services, business fax communication can be managed, and overhead costs can be reduced. IP fax delivers both a wide range of benefits over legacy and other previous approaches, while representing an opportunity to outsource this critical but non-strategic portion of business. This allows enterprises to focus on what is really important — the core business. At the same time, IP fax presents exciting new opportunities to leverage existing IP infrastructure investments, while taking advantage of the new opportunities the IP revolution is affording.

Gordon Burnes is the director of marketing for GTE Internet-working's IP Telecom Group. He is responsible for the group's product messages and marketing activities. GTE Inter-networking offers managed access to the Internet, and a variety of value-added services for businesses and other organizations. For more information, visit GTE’s Web site at www.bbn.com

Faxing Bangladesh

When people in Dhaka, Bangladesh, need to send or receive important business documents, they contact Moondial Internet Services, Ltd. to fax over the Internet. Thanks to an innovative new IP-based fax network, senders in even the most remote developing nations on earth can enjoy reliable, low-cost fax services. This breakthrough capability, called the INTERFAX   network, is revolutionizing the international fax marketplace. By utilizing the INTERFAX network, one hard-working entrepreneur deployed an advanced Internet technology to reduce costs, improve performance, and increase his customer base.

Moondial’s fax transmission service provides a means for individuals and small businesses in the bustling Bangladesh capital city of Dhaka to send and receive fax communications. In fact, for many people in the developing world, companies like Moondial are their primary means of forwarding and receiving important business documents. Overall, international fax traffic (among all countries) is estimated to have generated $92 billion for telecom carriers in 1996. Industry studies indicate that as much as half of all international telecom traffic consists of fax transmissions.
But like many fax service firms in developing economies, Moon-dial struggled to cope with the limitations of its local telecommunications infrastructure.

Spurred by customer demands, Moondial’s management sought an inexpensive and reliable way to manage fax transmissions for resale. Now, thanks to the INTERFAX network, individuals and businesses in Dhaka, Bangladesh, have a clear fax link to the global business world.

The INTERFAX network is similar to traditional phone-based fax technology. Rather than depending on expensive and often unreliable international telephony networks, this new approach uses the Internet backbone to move fax transmissions instantly and reliably to any point on the planet.

Faxes originating from subscribers come into the system via local lines, are stored in the server, and then immediately forwarded to their destination via the Internet on a high-capacity, local, leased access line. The originating fax can come from a PC or from a standard fax machine, making the INTERFAX service absolutely transparent to the subscriber.

This IP-based fax solution employs multiple connections between the public network and the Internet at the T1/E1 level, thus minimizing the impact of network disruptions. The powerful server and software capabilities of the network also support the delivery of a wide range of sophisticated administration, monitoring, and diagnostic services, including: Fax resend to ensure higher transmission completion rates; accounting codes for security and cost allocation; encryption security features and confirmation reports indicating the status of each fax transmission; and some very novel capabilities for these remote locations such as fax broadcasting.

This simple fax-to-server-to-Internet-to-server-to-fax configuration provides a number of powerful benefits to fax customers in the developing world. By using the Internet to bypass costly long-distance charges, this revolutionary fax-to-fax network can reduce fax-related costs by up to 90 percent. Studies which measure corporate fax expenses project that Internet-based faxing could save larger international companies in excess of $10 million a year. Because firms in developing countries are especially dependent on fax technology, even small companies and individuals can reap significant savings through use of the Internet fax network.

Internet faxing also measurably improves fax throughput and reliability. Using sophisticated store-and-forward technology, the fax network can generate repeated transmissions until the fax is successfully received, and can even “work around” misdialed numbers. These powerful technologies can provide reliable delivery rates of up to 95 percent, a vast improvement over existing hard-line fax services.

Moondial Internet Services received such benefits after joining the INTERFAX Internet-based fax network. According to company directors, before offering IP-based fax services, the company was forced to dial repeatedly to get an outbound international line during the busiest period of the business day. After finally receiving international dial tone, if the receiving fax machine was busy or out of paper, the frustrating process began all over again. The company also paid very high long-distance rates, charges that made fax services less and less competitive.
With the INTERFAX system, customers now use affordable local calls to forward faxes to the Moondial server, which forwards those messages quickly and reliably to the Internet backbone. Costs are down. Completion rates are up. And thanks to the creation of an Internet-based fax network, business is booming in Bangladesh.

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