In today’s world of predominantly digital and online communications with business VoIP providers, the fax may seem old fashioned. But, although very few people now use faxes outside of work, quite a few industries still actually depend on it. This may be due to regulatory requirements, data security compliance, privacy laws, or simply because suppliers/partners in other countries still use it.

Some organisations may send faxes very rarely (perhaps a couple of times a year), while it could be part of standard daily activity for others. Regardless as to the situation, the ability to deal with faxes is an important consideration when looking to switch to a VoIP system. This is because sending faxes over VoIP lines (with analogue machines at either end) doesn’t actually work!

So why does faxing over VoIP not work?

There are two main reasons why faxing over VoIP lines with analogue machines doesn’t work. They are detailed below:

1. Compression/audio codecs

One of the main reasons that VoIP is more efficient is that it takes voice data, compresses it, and converts it into data packets that can be sent over the Internet. This makes it tricky to send faxes because the initial compression makes the data unrecognisable at the other end. Audio codecs that do not utilise compression are, therefore, better at supporting faxing than others, but do use more bandwidth.

2. Jitter, latency and packet loss

Transmitting data over the Internet will often result in packet loss, jitter and latency. This means that some data packets won’t reach the destination. For faxes, this means that the document won’t be able to be reassembled. This happens irrespective as to the speed of the Internet connection.

So is faxing over VoIP possible?

Fortunately for the many organisations that rely on faxing, there is a way to get them working over VoIP networks. With VoIP faxing, the originator can send the fax directly from their computer. Instead of being sent the traditional way (from one phone number to another), a VoIP fax is sent from one IP address to another. VoIP faxing is very convenient and usually free. Due to the fact the originating documents tend to be digital, the quality of VoIP faxes is superior.

When it comes to receiving VoIP faxes, users can receive them on their computer as digital images and then print them out if necessary. VoIP faxes can be received/sent even when people are away from the office as they will be stored until opened/read (just like an email).

To set up your system for VoIP faxes, you will need to make some modifications to your VoIP setup.

Choosing business VoIP providers

If you are looking for a VoIP provider for your organisation, there are plenty of options available. At IDT, we offer a combination of global VoIP connectivity and a unique, easy to use portal that gives you total control over your DIDs, IPs, payment methods, voice termination quality, and more. To learn more, why not take a look at our website today?