Dropping the FoIP bomb on VoIP

It is often treated as the four letter F word in VoIP deployments. It is, some say, the weakest link in the switch from a traditional TDM system to a VoIP/SIP deployment. Did you guess it yet or should I write it down and “fax” it over to you?


FoIP, stands for Fax over IP, is still a pain point for almost all VoIP deployments. As businesses move to IP based communication platforms, they are venturing into a new era with enhanced features for a lower cost and heightened productivity. But as they reach out to adopt new technologies like SIP, they have to hold on to some older technologies like faxing. With all the emailing and scanning, it seems like faxing would fade away, but it is still a key factor in many if not all businesses.

While faxing using your VoIP network is often a challenge, think about the loads of fax-fun, as I like to call it, that you can have. And that’s exactly what a lot of SIP solutions are offering today. Granted, the success rates for faxing vary, and sending fax over an IP network is a challenge, but T.38 is getting us there fast.

Businesses like insurance companies, medical centers, financial companies and even educational institutes no longer have to have a bulky fax machine that receives faxes for a multiple people, then manually process and add them to their data systems. They can now, with a SIP deployment, get the fax right to their desktop (as email). They can even deploy solutions that will go the extra mile and perform semi-intelligent analysis like word-spotting or document management. Plus you have a single number that is your phone and fax.

I could write more on the concerns with faxing over G.711, or how T.38 really brings faxing over SIP to a new level, but there is enough of that information found on the internet.

What I’d like to know is, how has your experience been with faxing using a SIP/VoIP solution?
Do you use T.38 for faxing?
Well, don’t sweat about commenting, although you know how much we love to see your comments. Let me end with a joke someone just told me as I was getting ready to post this:

Three men were sitting in a sauna.
All of a sudden they heard a weird beeping noise. The first guy pressed his wrist and the beeping stopped. He said, “That was my pager…I got a microchip in my wrist.”
All of a sudden they heard a ringing noise. The second guy pressed his ear and the ringing stopped. He said, “That was my phone…I got a microchip in my ear.”
Feeling quiet inadequate and left out, the third guy left the sauna and went to the toilet. When he returned, he had toilet paper hanging from his rear end. He turned around and said, “Look at that, I’m getting a fax.”

Ritu Maheshwari