Encountering issues with fax over IP (FoIP)? You’re not alone. Although vastly more sophisticated than when it first emerged 30-40 years ago, it’s still common to run into difficulties when using VoIP technology. While it’s true that FoIP offers far more competitive advantages than downfalls, we’d be lying if we said users never have trouble seamlessly making an IP connection (after all, there’s no piece of technology today that’s faultless).
If you’re a network administrator or IT leader, you’ll likely find this quick walkthrough of fax conversion issues helpful:
- Data Compression vs. Digitization:
Just because you’ve migrated to VoIP infrastructure for voice communications doesn’t guarantee seamless fax connectivity. While voice naturally works with a data-only network model—certain forms of data inherently work better with, and can even benefit from, compression—analog fax tones are not one of them. In fact, they cannot be compressed at all. As such, fax data needs to be digitized for transmission over an IP network; a conversion issue that can slow down and complicate faxing, especially at peak times.
- Low Tolerance for Packet Delay/Loss:
Data can be packetized—that is, broken down into smaller data packets that can be transmitted over the open Internet. This allows the network to identify the fastest and clearest path for each individual packet to travel to reach its final destination. This is exactly why voice calls sometimes experience jitter or delay, making it hard for each party to understand one another in conversation. As one can imagine, documents and emails are little affected by a second or two of delay; however, a real-time service like fax has a higher chance of being impacted. This can cause the fax to time out and fail to send, which obviously is not a desired business outcome. As some industry pundits put it, “fax can’t share the information highway.”
So, what’s the key to resolving these common fax conversion issues? It’s all about having the right quality of service (QoS) requirements. QoS places certain demands on the network to avoid impairments (i.e. packet loss, delay or jitter). These demands, for example, can include ensuring a proper level of available bandwidth. With QoS requirements in place, FoIP guarantees ease, manageability, and ample benefits.