Q: Which are the leading fax server companies?
Currently Rightfax (Captaris) & GFI FAXmaker (GFI) are probably
the market leaders overall. VSI-FAX for Notes (Esker) leads
in the Notes fax server market. Other leading fax server companies
are Equisys (Zetafax) & Omtool. Rightfax leads the enterprise
fax market with its enterprise fax features such as least cost
routing. GFI FAXmaker leads the Exchange fax market, because
of its excellent integration with Exchange.
Q: Which are your favorite fax products?
Our 3 favorites are Rightfax (Captaris), GFI FAXmaker (GFI)
and VSI-FAX for Notes (Esker). Rightfax has been in the market
a long time, and has integration with many products, including
Oracle & SAP R/3. It also has very good cost accounting modules.
However, its a little more expensive and has limited fax device
support. GFI FAXmaker is our favorite if you have Exchange Server.
Its integration with Exchange and ease of installation and administration
simply can't be beaten. If you are an exchange admin, GFI FAXmaker
is the best. VSI-FAX for Notes does the same for Lotus Notes
users - it has excellent integration with Lotus Notes and is
in fact recommended by Lotus themselves. Note this is our opinion
- we encourage you to download the evaluations and try out the
software yourself. Don't listen to the sales guy or take too
much notice of the magazine review. Check it out for yourself
before you make a big investment in a fax server.
Q: I have Microsoft Small Business Server. Do I still need a fax server?
Microsoft's Fax server has a history of poor features and problems. Although it's free for a Small Business user, we recommend you buy a fax server. You can get a proper fax server with support for only a few hundred dollars.
Q: Does it make sense to invest in a fax server nowadays?
Definitely. Of course email is convenient and more popular - but email does not replace fax. A fax is considered legally binding, whereas an email is not. Therefore fax will be the preferred medium for many documents for many years to come. With a fax server you can merge your email and fax communications and really save time and improve productivity. You can get a good fax server relatively cheaply anyway.
Q: Which modem should I buy?
Check out this Turbopower white paper on modems and which modem to choose. Written by Turbopower. My only additions to this whitepaper:
If you have ISDN, use that instead of analog technology.
Don't even think about using USR modems for faxing.
If you don't have an ISDN connection, go for a quality modem such as Zyxel
or Multitech, or if your company has the budget a Brooktrout
or Gammalink Fax card.
Q: How do I know if I have a Rockwell voice compatible modem?
Issue the command AT+FCLASS=? From terminal. If it returns * (amongst other numbers), then you have a Rockwell voice compatible modem.
Q: What is the difference between the class and group of fax modem?
Class 1, 1.0, 2 or 2.0 describes the interface to the PC. The most common classes of fax modems are Class 1 and Class 2. Class 1.0 and Class 2.0 are becoming more common these days. These classes are specified as extensions to the basic Hayes command set. Class 1, 1.0, 2, or 2.0 are not to be confused with Group III, which is the communication standard between fax machines.
Q: What about faxing and ISDN?
Faxing and ISDN go very well together! Especially in Europe there is a trend towards using ISDN rather than Analog. And using ISDN instead of analog lines for your fax server has a number of distinct advantages;
Using an ISDN card and ISDN line you can easily do DID inbound routing (Route the fax automatically to the right recipient). Its much easier to setup and much cheaper than the analog DID.
If you wish to do inbound routing, you will need a DID capable board. ISDN cards (which have built in DID because of the protocol) are much cheaper than their analog counterparts.
ISDN automatically means you have 2 lines. So if you buy the right ISDN card you immediately have a 2 port fax card, not single port card.
If you don't use both ports, you can use one for the internet!
If you want to use ISDN for your fax server, be sure to check that your fax server software is CAPI 2.0 compliant!
There is some more information on Faxing and ISDN at GFI's page (http://www.gfi.com/faxmaker/faxmaker-isdn.htm). The Information is a bit targeted towards FAXmaker ofcourse, but at the bottom of the page there is some general information pertaining to ISDN which is useful for people using other fax servers as well.
Q: What is CAPI 2.0?
CAPI 2.0 is an interface standard between ISDN cards and ISDN software. If your ISDN card is CAPI 2.0 compliant you can use any software that is CAPI 2.0 compliant. Likewise, if your fax server software is CAPI 2.0 compliant, you can use any CAPI 2.0 ISDN fax device. CAPI 2.0 has been around for some time now and is an accepted standard for ISDN. If you wish to use ISDN, be sure to have both CAPI 2.0 compliant fax software as well as hardware.
Q: Which fax servers support CAPI 2.0?
This is not an exhaustive list, but I know that these fax servers definitely support CAPI 2.0; Cheyenne Faxserve, GFI FAXmaker, Tobit Faxware, Ferrari Fax.
Q: What is the difference between class 1,2 and 2.0?
Class 1: A class 1 fax modem is little more than a data modem that has a very basic fax command set for handling group 3 fax transmissions. Because of this, the application software has to control all the data flow between the fax modem and the remote fax device.
Class 1.0: Is the same as Class 1 (above). The ITU recommended to change the name of the Class 1 fax command set to Class 1.0 for a common naming convension.
Class 2: Class 2 is a higher level specification than class 1. More of the fax protocol work is done within the fax modem firmware. This fax service class specification was never formally approved by the ITU. Every modem manufacturer is left to implement any command set of Class 2. This makes it difficult for application software to support all types of Class 2 fax modems.
Class 2.0: Class 2.0 is similar to the Class 2 specification that has been formally approved by the ITU. Every modem manufacturer have a basic Class 2.0 command set that has to be implemented in the firmware.
The advantage of class 2/2.0 support over class 1/1.0 is that driving the modem does not hold up the PC with fax timing issues. This is particularly important in a multitasking environment and for network fax servers (as opposed to single user fax systems - where the user is often happy to wait for a fax to be transmitted).
The advantage of class 1/1.0 over class 2/2.0 is that the fax standard can be totally controlled by software rather than being dependent upon the quality of the fax firmware in the modem.
Class 2.0 has the advantage over Class 2 that it has been formally documented and approved by the ITU. Hence, all class 2.0 devices should behave in the same way. Although Class 2 devices lack this uniformity they have been in use many years longer than class 2.0 devices - and hence, generally, the fax modem firmware (and its software support) has settled over time to become much more stable and reliable.
Q. Where can I find more information on Microsoft FAX?
I've moved MS Personal Fax and Small Business Server from this page to the main list. Look under the SOHO, LAN or Groupware Integration categories. For more info on MS Fax there is a FAQ at http://www.slipstick.com/exchange/pfaxfaq.htm. Installing MS Personal Fax under other than the US version of NT can be tricky. Instructions for installing it under localized versions of NT-
Q: How do you decide which products go into which category?
NTFAXFAQ decides in which category a product goes based on its characteristics. For example, for a product to be listed in the Exchange fax connector section, it should be a pure Exchange connector, which means that all user administration is done from Exchange administrator and that an Fax connector is installed under connections. It should also support multiple sites and it should also not require any communication between the client or the server.
Q: What about Internet Faxing?
The idea is that you send your fax over the Internet to a fax server that is local to the fax destination. Long distance and international telephone bills are reduced to almost zero. Some commercial services and ISP's are providing net based faxing. The FAQ on Internet faxing is located at http://www.savetz.com/fax/. Remember though, that one of the main reasons to send a fax is to be sure that it arrives. Not all internet fax services are as reliable as sending the fax directly to the recipient!
Q: Do most fax servers run on both Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000?
Most NT products will run on Windows 2000. However, its much better to go with a product that has a version specifically developed for Windows 2000. There are numerous available.
Q: Can you explain some of the Fax server jargon to me?
Least Cost Routing distributes outbound faxes over a network or the Internet to a server closer to the destination, reducing phone bills. Inbound Routing delivers faxes to individual clients on your network. Other acronyms: OCR- Optical Character Recognition. ICR- Intelligent Character Recognition API- Application Programming Interface. IVR- Interactive Voice Response. The abbreviation FOD stands for Fax on Demand, also called Fax-Back.
Q: Can I use my modem and have FAX and Data (RAS) software share it between them?
It is possible, but not recommended. Since these forms of communication are quite different, it is much better to dedicate a line to Fax, and a line to Data. It is however highly recommended to have a dedicated line for each type of communication.
Q: Does it matter what fax modem I use for faxing?
This is a question I get asked a lot, and for some reason most people seem to think that if its a fax modem, each modem will perform exactly the same as any other fax modem. Nothing could be further from the truth!! Just like there are quality differences between fax machines and other products, there are quality differences in fax modems. The quality of your fax modem will determine transmission speed, amount of failures, ability to deal with bad international lines etc. If faxing is important to you or your business, invest in a quality modem. Also, follow the advice of the fax server company that are selecting.
Q: Are there other FAQ's on modems and communications?
Curt's high speed modem page:
http://www.net-boy.com - If you access the Internet using a dial-in Modem on a Windows PC, then this page is for you! Comprehensive Modem FAQ, news, tips and tricks.
Q: How many lines does my fax server need?
Since a busy fax tone can mean lost business, most businesses will opt for multi line fax server software. Frequently it is best to dedicate a line for inbound and a line for outbound fax. Receiving or sending a fax takes between 20 and 60 seconds depending on content and resolution.
Q: Do I need to use a Fax board to have reliable faxing?
To have reliable faxing, you need to use a reliable Fax device. This need not necessarily be a fax board at all, but must be a quality modem at the very least. You can't use a retail type fax modem and expect professional results.
Q: How do I find out what class my fax modem supports?
Type the following in Windows (Hyper)Terminal. AT+FCLASS=?
The modem reply will be of the form: 0,1,1.0,2,2.0
Where 0 is for data, 1 is class 1 fax, 1.0 is for class 1.0 fax, 2 is class 2 fax and 2.0 is class 2.0 fax.
Q: I am having problems sending faxes with my US Robotics fax modem
I have heard many reports of problems with sending faxes with US Robotics modems. Especially earlier models. I would recommend upgrading the firmware, or better still, get yourself a different modem...
Q: How do I know how many fax lines my fax server needs?
Sending faxes: Every hour, up to 60 faxes can be sent. In a 7 hr day, therefore, it is possible to send up to 420 faxes. So if you have 1000 faxes to send out, 2.38 fax lines will be needed.
Receiving faxes: Every hour, up to 60 faxes can be received. In a 7 hr day, therefore, it is possible to receive up to 420 faxes. So if you need to receive around 1000 faxes, 2.38 fax lines will be needed x 3 to avoid fax senders getting a busy tone. So a total of 7.14 fax lines will be needed.
Q. What is a DID board and why might I need it?
In the analog world our interface conversion boards (DID and E&M) allow you to utilize DID for direct routing of calls or for direct access to voicemail boxes without the need for an auto attendant or receptionist. They have been used with PBX's, Key Systems, stand alone systems and many other applications.
Q. What is a "DID" number?
A "DID" number is simply a telephone number which is routed to a "DID" telephone trunk.
Q. What is "DID" and why is it often in quotation marks?
It is not technically correct to generally call it "DID" but everyone does it anyway. "DID" stands for Direct Inward Dial and is a functionality from the phone company (DDI - Direct Dial Inward for non-North Americans). The interface utilized is called Loop Reverse Battery Signaling or LRBS. With this type of service the roles of normal telephone service are reversed. The Central Office goes off hook and dials your equipment.
Q. Where can I find more information about "DID" and "E&M"?
Check out this PDF file by CTPX Telecommunications Inc.