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Internet Fax Services

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For those of you with a single phone line, or in this era, no land line at all, there are several options available for conducting fax communications. Fortunately, they don't involve going to your nearest business supply store. Originally a niche market, the ability to receive and send faxes over the Internet has become a regular add-on to the average individual's monthly bills. This is not necessarily an issue of ease-of-use, but rather one of economy. Internet fax services typically cost less than an additional phone line and you won't have to purchase fax hardware.

Let's begin with a comparison of an average yearly cost for a dedicated fax line and the additional hardware. First, assume that the average user has one printer without scanner or fax capabilities. The cheapest fax machines cost around 60 dollars. An additional phone line will typically cost around 16 dollars per month. So, for one year of dedicated fax communications, the average individual will spend nearly 252 dollars! That's not including the toner for the fax machine. Those with all-in-one fax-scanner-printer systems will still spend nearly 192 dollars each year.

Now, assume that an average user only needs to send faxes created on their desktops. The average monthly charge for an internet-based fax service is 13 dollars a month. Thus, the typical user will spend around 156 dollars each year. Taking away the fax machine and additional phone line will give you a savings of 96 dollars a year. To put it in perspective, you've basically saved an amount similar to purchasing five DVDs. For those with only occasional faxing needs, an internet fax services are sufficient. However, for those who need fax capabilities on a daily basis, internet fax services may not be sufficient. Still, the positive side of using such an online system is the fact that your faxes will be digitized and ready for archiving immediately without having to scan them in first (unless, of course, you opt to purchase an all-in-one fax-scanner-printer).

It all comes down to an issue of needs. Users who require fax capabilities on a daily basis and archival ability should choose a hardware/software suite. Users who only occasionally send or receive faxes can have all the benefits of more expensive systems without the hassles by choosing an online system. The excellent side effect of going with an online service is one of scalability. If your needs change and you require more frequent access to fax communications, then your online system is still sufficient. At the same time, you're still only paying what you were paying initially for the service.

A Short Discussion on Internet Faxing

The standard method of fax employs a standard telephone line. More specifically, a fax machine uses the Public Switched Telephone Network, or PSTN, just like a regular phone call. Data, whether voice or fax, is pushed along the network as analog data. Analog data is anything that can be represented as a signal or noise frequency. Basically, this "noise" is sent over copper wiring from the origin to the destination. When the destination receives the "noise" it is transformed into electric vibrations that a machine will then interpret.

The difference between analog and digital data is one of change. Any analog device can have an infinite number of variable representations. For example, take the human eye. As we scan around a room, we don't simply pick up every square foot as one representation and then go on to the next square foot. Instead, we see across the room in a sweeping motion, taking the entire room into consideration without chopping it up into blocks. An artificial eye, in a robotic pet, for example, will instead view the room in analyzable blocks. Put simply, we see the entire room, where the robotic pet sees only sections of a space that must be reconstructed to view the same room.

Breaking the concept of "digital" down into it's simplest parts, a fax contains nothing more than a rather long representation of 1s and 0s. This binary modality is the total of representations that any digital item can represent. All things digital can be broken down into a binary representation.

Thus, when you fax over the Internet, the data being faxed is actually already in a binary format. The fax service will simply take that digital data and transport it across the network, often in the original binary format, to a destination that can automatically read it, because the data never changed. This makes faxing over the Internet very much simpler than faxing over a standard phone line. It is also the reason behind its cost savings.



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