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Fax VoIP Featured Article

What Can it Do for You? Understanding FoIP

August 04, 2014

 By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

While much of the world now knows that VoIP stands for “voice-over-IP,” and calling-technologies such as Skype (News - Alert) and Vonage use it, many people still are unfamiliar with FoIP.

FoIP stands for “fax-over-IP,” and businesses have been using it for years through various fax-to-email solutions.

IP faxing is a technology that sends faxes over the Internet, similar to how phone calls travel over the Internet using VoIP. In both cases, the transmission makes most of the trip from sender to receiver using a packet-switched network. This avoids long-distance costs and uses less network resources, making FoIP cheaper generally.

FoIP also offers other advantages, such as the ability to encrypt traffic using the same encryption protocol that is used for online banking and credit card transactions.

Having faxes in a digital form also can mean that businesses can more easily integrate faxes with other digital technology such as unified communications or optical character recognition and search.

The increasing demand for mobility also recommends FoIP over traditional faxing, because faxes can be sent and received from any Internet-connected device in many cases.

Businesses don’t necessarily need to buy a new fax machine to take advantage of FoIP. Using an Internet gateway -- or fax ATA technology that serves as an adapter such as that offered by companies like FaxSIPit -- existing fax machines can take advantage of FoIP.

When transmitting a fax between two IP fax machines, the transmission cost is the same as for e-mail, and it is faster because transmission is entirely via broadband channels instead of the circuitous route often taken by email.

FoIP can be used with a VoIP server, but since fax requires more bandwidth than voice calls, a VoIP server doesn't automatically work seamlessly for transmitting faxes. One of the best ways to move to FoIP is through the use of a cloud-based fax service.

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