In the Doors song, “Twentieth Century Fox,” Jim Morrison begins with the line, “Well, she’s fashionably lean…” In a rare bit of prognosticating—could Jim Morrison be a poet and a prophet?—he might just as well have been singing about the twenty-first century fax.
The popularity of the fax, like classic rock and roll, appears to be timeless. But fax technology itself has changed with the times, which is why it’s still around today.
Even the uber-cool magazine Fast Company felt prompted to muse on Why Fax Won’t Die in an article earlier this year. Their conclusion, mirroring Morrison’s opening line, had lot to do with how changing technology has helped fax communications become leaner, simpler and cheaper.
One of the unsung heroes behind the fax’s longevity is Biscom, the company that pioneered computerized fax technology in the 1980s. Today, Biscom is about more than faxes, but they still play a key role in helping service providers and enterprises keep fax communications lean through their Fax over IP (FoIP) and Cloud Fax solutions under the FAXCOM® brand.
If FoIP reminds you of VoIP (Voice over IP), it should. Both technologies take a traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephony Network) service and bring it into the Internet Age by translating the underlying signaling and media protocols into Internet Protocol (IP) formats. But whereas VoIP uses SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), FoIP relies on the T.38 protocol to deliver faxes over IP networks.
While VoIP systems require a lot of different network elements, FoIP only requires a T.38-based fax server and, sometimes, a media gateway (in the event that G.711 fallback is needed, for example). You don’t even need a dedicated fax server for FoIP; Biscom’s FAXCOM can run as a virtual or software-only instance on an existing server.
Clearly, Fax over IP can save service providers and enterprises money by using less hardware, but that’s not the only reason the industry is singing its praises. FoIP provides a new twist on an old service through value-added and time-saving features such as:
- Better security and tighter industry compliance (HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.);
- Seamless integration with business applications such as Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory;
- Deeper visibility into fax activity and statistics;
- The ability to send faxes as email attachments.
Dialogic is proud to be a part of fax history as an integral part of the FAXCOM solution. Dialogic’s Brooktrout SR140 fax software provides the critical interworking in the FAXCOM Server to ensure fax communications continue to serve document transmission needs well into the 21st century. If you haven’t looked into FoIP yet, maybe this blog will light your fire.