By some accounts, there are millions of fax machines still in use today, which means the medium has not gone the way of the pager. Companies still perceive it as a secure means of data transmission, and it could be several more years before the traditional facsimile machine is completely phased-out.
While some companies are still buying reams of paper and bundles of toner, more and more companies are migrating to a fax VoIP setup. What are the best methods for making it work over the Web in real-time?
Fax servers are going to the cloud and becoming virtualized to save money, and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon. It's not only the economic aspect of it that's drawing corporations to the virtualization, however; it's also the centralization and enhanced fax VoIP communications that are bringing them to it.
Computer-based fax solutions, including those with T.38 technology, are designed as VoIP-based protocol for VoIP media gateways and for SIP trunks. They are not engineered to be useable over the open Internet.
The jump is proving a challenge for companies that are currently using TDM for their faxing solution. The fax VoIP development is an issue for some companies that use TDM because they don't know for sure if the T.38 can be used reliably, and they're wise in stepping into the fax VoIP world cautiously as interoperability is not always consistent.
Groups are working on interoperability issues where the fax service deployment is concerned – SIP Forum (News - Alert) and the VoIP Fax Task Group are combining forces with i3 Forum to discuss Fax VoIP issues. They're looking into ITU-T T.38 in SIP-based networks. One of the early problems that has garnered some attention is that SIP-enabled networks were experiencing jitter, packet loss and latency.
A recent report by Davidson Consulting brings to light an expectation of a five-year growth forecast of 26 percent annually in fax VoIP. The big push is the money saved by going to a fax VoIP solution. Companies will see the enhanced fax VoIP enhancements as a reason to help drive their VoIP initiatives, according to the report.
One of the most reliable and proven ways to make the new fax VoIP work is through HTTPS, and not by going over T.38 on the Internet. HTTPS is cost effective and provides advanced fax product, allowing connectivity between ordinary fax machines and printers to fax service providers that are cloud-based.
As the progression in Fax VoIP continues, and companies discover the advantages to this technology platform to support their continued use of fax transmissions, this is one industry likely to continue to evolve.
Edited by Tammy Wolf