Implementing fax over internet protocol (FoIP) at your organization doesn’t have to be a massive headache, nor do you have to spend an overwhelming amount of time and resources figuring out just what your organization needs. Working with the RightFax provider will make the process easy but having a bit of entry-level knowledge of how FoIP is implemented will help make the process go smoothly.
Here’s what you need to know about implementing FoIP at your organization.
What is FoIP?
If you already know, you can skip this basic introduction, but if you have no idea where to begin, figuring out just what we mean when we say FoIP is a pretty good place to start. FoIP is simply the method of using VoIP (voice over IP) channels to send faxes. Years ago, many organizations migrated their phone lines to VoIP, which essentially uses the Internet, rather than traditional phone lines to make and receive calls. Shortly after the technology was implemented, modern fax machines migrated over to the technology as well.
The primary benefit of using FoIP is it allows organizations to consolidate communication systems and eliminate expensive costs related to telephony, but many organizations still use a combination of FoIP and telephone-based systems today. Implementing VoIP and FoIP allows organizations to:
- Deploy integrated phone systems across all their locations
- Reduce and/or eliminate the burden of telephony infrastructure
- Increase scalability
- Reduce costs
- Consolidate voice and data networks
Should You Use FoIP?
If your organization uses fax servers for web access, email integration, desktop messaging, automated faxing or MFP faxing, you will be able to migrate most or all of your environment to FoIP. Choosing to do so depends on how you use your fax solution. There are several common reasons organizations choose to switch to FoIP:
- They are looking to consolidate voice/fax and data.
- They need to reduce maintenance, hardware and other equipment costs.
- They want to transition away from analog and to an all-IP environment (no copper lines).
- They seek to migrate to virtualized environments for their business applications.
- They are moving towards a “Greenfield” facility that is based entirely on IP.
- They have a legacy circuit-switched messaging system that needs to be migrated to IP.
If any of these relate to your organization, FoIP may be the best choice.
Choosing Your FoIP Technology
There are four main types of telephony technologies that can be used with FoIP:
G.711 is an ITU-T recommendation for Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) of voice frequencies. It requires high bandwidth (about 64 kbps) because it uses an uncompressed format. When sending a fax using G.711, digital fax data converted to a PCM audio stream, which is then sent as G.711 Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) packets.
Outside of the technical talk, G.711 works just like a VoIP call. Every component of the fax is sent through voice packets. This simplifies the fax solution and makes it more cost effective, but it can lead to degradation of the fax quality or sending failure if some of the voice packets are lost in transmission.
T.30 uses the publicly switched telephone network (PTSN) to send faxes. It establishes and maintains communication between two fax devices. Fax transmissions are handled like standard fax calls and an end-to-end communication is established.
T.37 (Store and Forward)
T.37 uses MIME or SMTP to translate faxes into emails. It stores and forwards faxes using the Internet. T.37 sends fax messages as MIME-encoded email attachments using SMTP. T.37 implementations that are used with a gateway allowing an organization to receive faxes as email messages even if they are sent from regular fax machines on the PSTN. Organizations can also send email messages out over the PSTN as faxes.
T.38 fax is an ITU-T recommendation that allows fax data to be carried over IP networks. When you send a fax over an IP network, the data is directly transmitted in T.38 without any conversion to an audio stream. T.38 allows for real-time faxing over the Internet and, like T.30, is delivered like a fax call.
Some of the benefits of using T.38 are a significant reduction in required bandwidth and a reduction in packet loss, which leads to better quality faxes and support for data and redundancy control.
Both T.37 and T.38 use the standard T.30 fax definition to recognize transferred data to maintain compatibility with existing fax devices. They are also both based on Telecommunications Union (ITU) standards. The differences between these two technologies is the method of delivery and the confirmation receipts.
T.38 is the preferred approach to faxing because it’s built into almost every leading manufacturer’s IP routers. It’s also supported via a class of intelligent fax boards and directly with fax server software without using fax boards.
Choosing the Right Fax Server
OpenText RightFax is the leading fax server and document delivery software because of its ability to integrate with a full range of leading software and multifunction printers. RightFax also automates cumbersome day-to-day tasks, allowing organizations to achieve efficiency while faxing.
RightFax gives your organization flexibility when deploying your FoIP fax solution. You can use a software-only solution using Dialogic® Brooktrout® SR-140 software or combine a hardware and software solution that can be used when transitioning to IP environments or supporting legacy networks. It can also support FoIP, traditional PSTN or both. How you use this fax solution is entirely up to your organization’s faxing habits and needs.