VoIP is still all the rage when it comes to inexpensive yet efficient communications. As far as technology goes, VoIP’s age is rather impressive; a lot of technologies tend to fizzle out over a period of time. VoIP has managed to evolve with the Internet. Not many technologies have done the same.
VoIP services already include mechanisms for forwarding voice mail to email and other features that are useful. With VoIP, there is more scalability and better integration than with a lot of products that rely on traditional phone services, one of them being fax.
The traditional fax machine consists of a phone jack, loading tray, scanning component, coder/decoder and output tray. The process goes something like this: a document is placed into the loading tray. The machine accepts the document and rolls it on a rotating drum. As the paper passes over the drum, the fax machine takes a picture of everything written on the document. It then passes the information onto the encoding component. Now take away most of this, add VoIP and you have a whole different, more efficient process.
The fax information with fax VoIP is transmitted as "IP packets" via the Internet instead of as analog signals via phone lines. An IP packet is simply a chunk of data organized in a way that lets Internet routers and destination machines understand and decode what's inside it. When you're transmitting a fax between two IP fax machines, the transmission cost is the same as for email, and it's faster because transmission is entirely via broadband channels.
So, why is this better? Well, for one, converging voice, data and fax network reduces both network management and maintenance costs. Another reason is it allows for the elimination of analog fax lines and the integration of multifunction peripherals to provide “on demand” fax services over the VoIP network.
Another consideration for businesses looking to migrate toward fax VoIP is cost of ownership. Essentially (since fax VoIP is associated with cost savings) there should be a low total cost of ownership. By understanding the costs associated with fax VoIP such as cost-per-page and software and maintenance costs, the decision process is made that much easier.
Fax remains the best solution for secure information exchange due to its ease of use, ubiquity, and most importantly, cost effectiveness. With new security technologies in place combined with the power of IP, fax VoIP has a long and lively future of which organizations can grow with and reap its many benefits.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson