Fax Machine Dependency

Don't Despair - Their IS HELP for the Fax Machine Dependent!

The Venerable Fax Machine 

When the great thinkers, planners and visionaries looked ahead from the 1950’s and 1960’s, they envisioned technology creating a utopia of convenience.  Self-cleaning houses, automated kitchens what would prepare entire meals without any human involvement, and autonomous vacuum cleaners shaped like butlers that would forever excise the cat hair off the sofa.  And forget self-driving cars.  We were supposed to get personal jet-packs. 

Technology  has provided  lots of innovations that were life changing in their day.  But, as we all know,

technology never stops advancing. Even technologies that impacted millions of people eventually fade, giving way to the next generation of innovation. 

For example, floppy disks, audio cassette tape, rotary dial phones,  dial up internet access, pagers, 1 hour photo processing, video tape recorders, music CD’s, cordless phones and fax machines – giants of their day –  are all but gone from modern life. Replaced by their own next greatest advancements.

All except for the Fax Machine.  Oh the Fax Machine!  A miracle machine from the Technological Stone Age. They live on today in businesses offices, homes and retail locations in amazingly high numbers. People and businesses that use them - swear by them - and don't want to be seperated from them.

In 1966 when Xerox’s  Magnafax Telecopier [1]   was invented, it could be connected to any telephone line, and transmit a letter sized document in six minutes. Since that time it seems, the idea of easily and simply transmitting the image of a document across great distances in mere minutes - has been here to stay. 

By 1980, the ITU G3 Facsimile Standard[2] was created , setting the stage for faxes to become a defacto communication standard which works across town, across country, and across the world.

Fax Machine Dependency – It's Not a Treatable Medical Condition

It's not really that hard to understand how faxing became so important to so many people. Sending a fax is incredibly simple, and fast to do. No computer required, you just put the document into the fax machine, dial a phone number, and walk away. Just two steps, and a total time investment of about 15 seconds. 

Receiving a fax is even easier. Do nothing, the fax machine delivers a hard copy to a holding tray. 

Like it or not – faxing is still a preferred, and sometimes even required method of communicating under many circumstances.  A fax machine is often a required business essential for a complete home office. In formal office space and retail locations, they are still firmly entrenched. What about the current trend of shared office space?  You guessed it – faxes are one of the most important shared resources, and often one that you have to pay extra for.

Odoo image and text block

These days only about 60%[3] of households have landline phone service, typically opting for cellular phones instead.  About 42%[4] have an actual analog fax machine, either as a standalone device or part of a multi-function device that has a printer, scanner and fax ability.  

As more alternate telephone technologies become available, poor old analog phone service is losing its luster, and is being replaced by cell phones, and Voice over IP (VoIP) telephones.  There is obviously no traditional way to send a fax from your fax machine through your cell phone, and fax machines do not typically “play well” with VoIP phone systems at all.  
Because of that, analog phone service is often kept active only to provide for the needs of a fax machine.  

Keeping that old copper phone line doesn’t come cheap.  National traditional analog phone line providers charge as much as $50 a month or more for the privilege of having technology that was popularized in the 1940’s in our home or office.[5] (That’s about the time the concept of ‘area codes’ was introduced!) 

“What about a web based fax service?”  we hear you ask - and rightly so.  There are literally dozens of online services ready and waiting to process faxes for you.  They all share common abilities.  Generally, for a monthly fee, you get a dedicated fax number, and the ability to send and receive fax documents.  But not using your fax machine, and it’s not just 2 simple steps, especially if you must fax a document bearing your signature. 

With this type of service, faxes you receive are sent to you by email, generally as a PDF style document attached to the email.  If you want to know that you have received a fax, you have to check your email.  If you want a printout of the fax, you have to open your email, open the PDF document, and print it.  Nothing automatic.  No fax automatically delivered to a holding tray for you to see as you walk by the fax machine.

Sending a fax via these services can involve true technological acrobatics – especially if you’re “not a computer person”.

First, you turn on your computer and locate the soft copy (PDF or other) of the document you want to fax, and print it out (Computer and printer required).

Second, you fill out the form, and sign it, or whatever is required.

Third, you must scan that signed document (Scanner required) to turn it back into a soft document (PDF, Etc.).

Finally, you may submit that soft copy document to your fax service by uploading it to a web site, or by emailing it as an attachment. (Computer required).

https://openclipart.org/image/2400px/svg_to_png/192755/Time-is-money-29387.pngNow, that’s a fine workflow – and works especially well if all you do is fax standing documents that require no filling out, or signature.  But it’s nothing like the simple, fast, intuitive user experience provided by a simple, standard fax machine. 

One thing is certain – it usualy takes a LOT LONGER than 15 seconds for the person sending the fax to get through all these steps; and with a great deal more opportunities for mistakes, or operator confusion.  Let’s say that for a less technically adept user, this process could take between 5 and 15 minutes to complete – vs. 15 seconds for a traditional fax.

Still, 10 million people use just-one of the largest fax services every single day to send and receive online faxes.  There is obviously a lot of value in this type of service. 

But so many still crave the simplicity of using a fax machine, and the 15 second time investment for sending a fax.  Many business workflows benefit from the simplicity of standalone fax machines, and the “paper-trail” can be an important part of required documentation.  Certainly there must be a way to get a real fax machine, and its simple reliability back into the modern workflow.

It seems that instead of whining about not getting a personal jetpack, or a self-cleaning home as promised by the big thinkers and visionaries of the 50s-60’s, we are faced with a more practical lament:

With all the wonders of the Smart phone, and the amazing power of today’s computers, and the amazing technology we are surrounded with, why do we still have to keep landline phone service for my fax machine? 

Well, technology has tried to bring the venerable fax machine into the future, but it hasn’t been an easy trip.

The most hoped for ability, the Holy Grail of fax machine upgrades, is the ability to hook a fax machine directly to the internet instead of an antique copper phone line. The path to a solution that does that, and does it reliably, has been a slow and difficult one.

Why?

Faxing is a real-time process where both ends of the transmission work in close concert with each other.  While one side sends, the other side listens and composes the resultant data back into a readable document. The data exchange between fax devices is timing critical – and must proceed apace, without delay.  Analog communications proceed at a fixed regular pace, and the fax machines depend upon this.

When the input /output of a fax machine is converted to data packets and sent across a network, a fixed, regular pace between the two fax machines cannot be guaranteed. It’s the nature of TCP/IP networks, such as the internet, business, and home networks.  The phenomenon are known as network jitter and latency. 

This inherent conflict between our fax machines which need a constant, even data transmission rate and networks which are not designed to provide that causes faxes to routinely fail, and user frustration to escalate.

The T.38 Protocol - A New Beginning?

Recognizing the problems at hand, the internet standards bodies and technology companies came together to provide a solution, called the T.38 protocol.  The T.38 protocol was designed to overcome the problems of jitter and latency by allowing the fax machine at either end to recognize when a fax was being transported via a data network instead of telephone lines, and to switch to a send/receive method that is more tolerant of these problems. 

The T.38 protocol has been in use for several years now, and unfortunately, the results are not all we may have hoped for.  Although T.38 does provide some improvements in dealing with the issues, excessive jitter and latency can still cause a fax to fail more often than most business users find acceptable, even when T.38 is fully active between sender and receiver.

From a reliability standpoint however, the final ‘nail in the coffin’ of the T.38 protocol is that the fax machine at BOTH ENDS of the transmission must be T.38 capable in order for it to work at all. 

That’s a HUGE problem, since literally millions of fax machines still in service today can not recognize it, or deal with it in any way.  So even if YOU are using a T.38 enabled network fax machine, if your faxing partner is not, T.38 is disabled, and you’re right back to almost assured failure.

And that is one of the biggest reasons that there are old fashioned, obsolete analog phone lines still connected to fax machines all over the world – even while actual analog telephones at the same locations have been replaced by cell phones or VoIP. 

Technology never stands still.  There is a complete solution – and it’s available right now.

A few smart companies now produce a specialized device that resolves all the issues normally associated with getting your fax machine to work without a phone line, using the internet.

http://www.thegreenoffice.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/small_image/420x420/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/1/3/137855.JPGThis device connects virtually any fax machine, or multi-function printer/fax to the internet, and provides seamless, reliable faxing across the internet – to and from virtually any fax machine in the world.

Essentially, the adapter connects your fax machine/multi functions printer/fax, etc., directly to an internet fax service; you truly get the very best of both worlds. A combined service that includes all the features that are typically included with web based fax services (see above), PLUS the ability to use your trusty fax machine as well.   

With this system, your fax operations are right back to being the simple, reliable operations you want them to be. No computer required, you just put the document into the fax machine, dial a phone number, and walk away. Just two steps, and a total time investment of about 15 seconds.  Receiving a fax? Do nothing, the fax machine delivers a hard copy to a holding tray upon receipt.  Sound familiar?  Yay simplicity! Yay!

Choosing a Provider  

As mentioned earlier, there are literally dozens of online fax services and it can be hard to distinguish between them. Most share common features like web based faxing, email to fax, and so forth.   Pricing ranges all over the map from $10-$45 / month, with most services including a dedicated fax number, and a predetermined number of faxes. Fax pages over your limit can cost as much at $0.15 per sheet.

Remember if you want to use your actual Fax Machine with the service - choose carefully. Some internet fax providers may try and suggest the use of inferior T.38 fax adapters;  avoid them as too unreliable. 

Only a few providers can supercharge your old time fax machine and turn it into a reliable, internet based fax juggernaut with an Analog Fax Adapter designed specifically to get the job done right. 

Problem: If your Fax Service costs $30-$45 / month – you just aren’t saving much of the money you hoped to save by ditching your old telephone line in the first place.  Should you have more fax traffic than your plan allows,  a few fax pages at 15¢ a page and you could end up spending more than your old analog phone line!

Solution: ' CSGT Total Fax'  Service

CSGT Total-Fax Overview
The 'CSGT Total Fax'  plan includes full support for the optional Analog Fax Adapter that lets you use your fax machine reliably over the internet without a phone line.  It turns your old “Flintstone Fax” machine into a network enabled fax juggernaut!

But it doesnt stop there. Along with bringing your fax machine into the 21 st   century, you also get the extended abilities of a solid internet based fax service, including a web based interface from which you can send and receive faxes, and the ability to send and receive faxes by email.  The service can be configured to do all of these things together.  Inbound faxes can appear in the fax receive tray of your traditional fax machine, while at the same time being emailed to you as a backup, or for soft copy document storage.

Ah, the good old days, but with all the advantages of new technology. Truly “the best of times”.

CSGT Total Fax  - Features and Options

The features listed below are included in the CSGT Total Fax system.  Together, they give you a completely paperless fax environment usable by web interface, or email.  “Paperless faxes” may easily be printed to your local printer if a hard copy is desired.

A Dedicated Fax Number                                                        Cost:  $9.35 / Month

We will provide you a local number from your own area code, or any other area code in the United States. Canadian numbers are also available.  Or, you may wish to get a toll free number to make it less costly for your customers and clients to fax you.

Web Based Send and Receive Fax System                             Cost: Included Free

Access to a clean, easy to use web based interface that allows you to send, and receive faxes, manage fax contact numbers, and even create and manage your fax cover page. You have access to your fax services from almost any computer connected to the internet. 

It works with many smart phone browers too!  You can fax from your cellphone!

Ability to Send and Receive Faxes via eMail                            Cost:  Included Free

Use your email to send faxes simply by attaching the documents that you wish to fax to an email.  Your received faxes can also be sent to you via email. 

The optonal Analog Fax Adapter (below) turns almost any fax or multifunction priner/fax into a reliable network enabled fax juggernaut. The adapter works together with the CSGT Total Fax service and allows you to use your fax machine just as if it were connected to an old fashioned phone line. 

The Analog Fax Adapter (Optional)                                            Cost: No Monthly or Per Page Charge
                                                                                                      One Time Purchase Expense     $110 + Shipping 

Turn your fax machine into a high-speed low-drag internet based fax system.  Keep that super simple fax workflow, while enjoying all the benefits of modern fax technologies - and the low cost of faxing by Internet

Example Billing Details - The Best News Yet!

CSGT Total Fax does not require you to pay for service you don’t need or use.  Other vendors ‘bundle’ a certain number of fax pages with their service; you pay for them even if you don’t use them. With CSGT Total Fax you pay only for what you use.
You start with a fax number maintenance fee of $9.35 /month.  Then, you will be charged 6 cents per minute used while receiving or sending faxes. There is a one time number assignment charge of $2.00 for each phone number assigned to your account.

The average 2 page fax takes about 1 minute to complete, depending on the speed of the other fax machine.  Using those numbers, the typical monthly  CSGT Total Fax  service bill, for a company sending / receiving 50 average document pages (mostly text, sparse graphics) per month would be [6] :

Projected Monthly Expenses    -  50 Pages                                                                          

Fax Phone Number Maintenance Fee:                                                                                 $9.35 / Month

Fax Traffic (50 Pages Total, Send & Receive Combined)                                                    $1.50 / Month

Regulatory Fee Recovery                                                                                                    $0.35 / Month

Estimated Total:                                                                                                                Cost:  $11.20 / Month

No matter how you slice it, this is one of the best prices you will find anywhere for an online fax service with all the most important features, functions, and benefits. 

And don’t forget – if you’re situation benefits from having your good old fax machine, or your expensive multifunction printer/copier/scanner/fax machine supercharged into an internet based fax juggernaut, add the one time purchase of the CSG Total Fax analog adapter.  You get the best of all things.  All the typical abilities of internet fax services, plus your own fax machine integrated seamlessly into the service, with no extra monthly fees.

And maybe – best of all – you finally get to dump your old analog phone line for good!

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If you'd like to know more about the CSGT Total Fax Service, Contact Us

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