Fax Technology Then and Now

by | Sep 16, 2014 | Business

Fax technology today is quite a different thing from what it was in the past, and that is because it has adapted to suit a growing dependence on the internet for communication. While some people still rely entirely on traditional PSTNs (public switched telephone network) for their fax communications, many others have switched to a sort of hybrid solution which makes at least some use of a phone line. Others have moved entirely to T.38 FoIP technology and internet faxing, though this can present challenges when communicating with companies who still run on more traditional fax methods. One of the best things to do is understand the different methods available today, so you can choose what will best suit your company’s communication strategies.

The Humble Beginnings of Fax Technology

Fax technology can be dated all the way back to the 1800’s, though you wouldn’t see anything like T.38 FoIP at that point. It was a very primitive method involving the pendulums in a clock in order to transfer a poor quality image to and from a cylinder. Clearly this is not the fax technology remembered by most, which was more prevalent and well known in the late 1900’s. What most people remember is a machine which connected to a dedicated phone line which could scan an image, turn it into audio data, and transmit it to a receiving fax machine which would translate the audio data into a picture. And if you have ever accidentally called a fax number instead of a phone number, you know immediately from the tell-tale dial up sounds. Those original 90’s fax machines did not have the ability to connect to the internet, or even an awareness of the internet in general. It was all through phones, until technology advanced to the point that online faxes became affordable and practical.

T.38 FoIP and Internet Faxing

Fax is not a central method of transmitting documents any longer, as technological advancements have reshaped business communication. However, it is still prevalent enough that fax machines and fax machine software have been developed to allow internet connection for sending and receiving faxes. The most popular method for making this possible is the T.38 FoIP, which makes use of both telephone lines and the internet to speed up transmission and improve capability. And some companies have no fax machines at all, simply preferring to send their documents entirely online. These kinds of faxes can be pulled from files on the computer and sent so that they open into email or another preferred program on the computer. It is truly a whole new era of fax technology that is still changing and growing today. Who knows what faxing will look like in a decade or two?

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