Internet Fax

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October 17, 2008

Introduction to Internet Fax

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Senior Editor


Your business very well might be considering signing up for Internet fax service, but you might be a bit unclear on exactly how these services work. Gaining a basic understanding of this new technology is a smart idea; Internet fax can be a significant productivity booster and can contribute to staying nimble and competitive as a company.
The basic concept of an Internet fax service like that offered by Packetel (News - Alert) is being able to receive faxed documents as e-mail attachments, rather than having them be printed out at a physical fax machine. Without ever touching a fax machine, you can receive, read, and archive a faxed document using your e-mail application.
The person on the sending side of the transaction might also have an Internet fax service, and in that case no physical documents are ever sent — fax transmission occurs completely online. This is a very similar process to e-mail.
The more significant benefit for an Internet fax service occurs when the sending party is using a fax machine, but the receiving party is not. In this case, the person sending a document faxes it the old-fashioned way: create a paper document, feed it through the fax machine, dial phone number for the recipient, and then initiate the fax call. Packetel’s service allows the user who receives faxes to select a local, dedicated number where faxes are received.
On the receiving end, the fax comes in as an e-mail attachment, either as a TIFF or PDF. Since many business people virtually live in their e-mail accounts — which often serve as primarily communications with colleagues and clients, and as to-do lists — this format for receiving documents is quick and efficient.
Special equipment is not needed to use an Internet fax service; all that’s required is an Internet connection, a computer with browser (or desktop client) for checking e-mail, an e-mail account, and a subscription to an Internet fax service like that offered by Packetel. Faxes can even be received on mobile, handheld devices.
It doesn’t cost much to receive faxes via e-mail. Rates vary depending on the provider. Packetel, as an example, offers a flat $3.95 per month service with unlimited incoming faxes. Plans can be pre-paid in 3-month, 6-month, 12-month and 24-month increments.
To learn more about how online faxing works, and its benefits, please visit the Internet Fax channel on, brought to you by Packetel.

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Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Mae Kowalke


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