Special Focus

Fax: Keeping up with Change

By TMCnet Special Guest
Randy Simmons, FaxSIPIt
  |  December 05, 2013

Solutions for Resellers and Providers

Fax has changed, not gone away. Businesses still com municate with fax documents just as much as they have in the past. What has rapidly changed, though, is how faxes are sent. Business users do not receive paper faxes anymore; instead they get a PDF document in their e-mail inbox. Fax machines are now connected up to VoIP- based ATA’s, VoIP systems and service providers, versus previously using dedicated analog phone lines.

Faxing to the cloud - this is what everyone wants. It, however, must be a complete solution and most importantly be 100 percent reliable.

Just Make It All Work

In the VoIP space, service providers can often have a hard time keeping up with their business customers that require core fax functionality. Their primary focus is on offering VoIP solutions and making sure they offer their customers the best service at the best price. Fax often times causes customers grief when they migrate their fax machine to VoIP with a simple ATA de- vice. Providers also need to offer basic virtual fax service to be able to complete and retain business clients of all types.

Businesses simply want and need two things with fax today:

1. virtual fax accounts for all of their users, and

2. the ability to make their fax machines work reliably.

Offering virtual fax service is not difficult due to the count- less options out there today for both VoIP providers and end businesses. What often times becomes more of a challenge is making the business’ fax machine work when connected to the Internet provider. Enabling service providers to offer both of these solutions together would be the ideal set up.

The Challenge

Reliability is the challenge that most providers face. Most VoIP- based ATAs use either T.38 or G.711, and these connection pro- tocols don’t handle typical Internet burst packet loss issues well, resulting in a lot more fax failures, especially with longer faxes.

Resellers and providers offering virtual fax to their customer base can help significantly with reliability issues. This is especially true with inbound faxes, as the faxes are not received directly inside the customer’s business premises by a VoIP connection over the Internet but rather received up in the cloud then transported to the user or business. This not only offers the reliability they expect, it also expands the features for their fax solution.

Businesses, however, still require their fax machine. Sending paper-based documents is still core to almost all business com- munications, and using a fax machine or MFP is still the easiest way to scan documents and send them.

As soon as businesses give up the often-costly dedicated phone line for cost savings associated with VoIP, they often times lose reliability.

Moving to Https

Making the fax machine work reliably in the cost effective realm of over the Internet VoIP connections can be achieved with us- ing HTTPS-based fax connections for the business.

FaxSIPit’s Fax Service uses the HTTPS Fax protocol for connect- ing fax machines and MFPs instead of SIP T.38 or G.711.

The core reasons for using HTTPS are:

* HTTP avoids burst packet loss issues on the open Internet that can affect SIP T.38 submitted faxes;

* it adds a layer of security with HTTPS, which is needed for a

lot of business and applications such as HIPPA and SOX;

* it minimizes any deployment issues that might be needed on the businesses firewall to allow SIP T.38 to pass;

* it reliably uses satellite and cellular data connections for fax-

ing including internal Wi-Fi links in businesses; and

* it moves control of fax protocols from disperse and unman- aged ATAs to a central provider that is focused on fax.

It’s All About reliability and Security

A fax solution must work all the time, not just some of the time. FaxSIPit has built its backend telephony network and connections by focusing on one aspect: reliability. If it doesn’t work – and work the first time – providers are not offering their customers the best solution possible.

Critical fax applications and regulatory compliance needs in the health care space require that fax solution intercon- nects are secure. FaxSIPit has made sure that resellers and providers can offer not just reliability, but also security that has not been easily possible with cost- effective over the Internet connections for fax machines. 

A Complete and Easy Solution

Providers want to focus on their core service offerings. Getting an easy to deploy and complete fax service solu- tion that enables them to offer both virtual fax services and truly reliable fax machine connections is critical. Building up their own solution is often very time consuming and costly. Moving to offer services quickly and not compromising quality or features is what providers and resellers can get.  

Randy Simmons is vice president of sales at FaxSIPIt (rsimmons@ faxsipit.com, 866.374.6495).

Edited by Stefania Viscusi