Need a Dedicated Fax Line? Here’s What You Should Know
Millions of offices around the World rely on dedicated fax lines to send documents quickly. If you currently use a fax machine in your office, having an exclusive line for faxing is the best way to prevent interruptions and other problems that arise from using a common phone line.
But... do you really need one?
You'll be surprised to learn that you don't. In fact, you don't even need a fax machine!
Fax machines, as useful as they are, have become artifacts of the past. Although fax is still in use, companies have started migrating to digital faxing, a technology that combines the speed of online communications with the security of traditional faxing.
What Is a Dedicated Fax Line?
It's simply a common phone line that companies keep connected to their fax machines at all times.
There's nothing special about these lines other than the fact that they are meant to be used exclusively for faxing.
Many businesses decide to install one because of the number of faxes they send and receive on a daily basis. Sure, they could use their common phone line, but since it's impossible to talk on the phone and fax at the same time, people can accidentally interrupt transmissions, which means having to transmit the documents all over again.
Also, if someone at the office is using the line for a phone call, you won't be able to receive faxes. The point of having a dedicated line for faxing is to keep it available at all times. It'll only be busy if you are sending or receiving a fax, or if the machine is turned off.
To get a new fax landline you have to request your phone company an additional fax number in your home or office. It will take some days for your new line to be “usable” because you have to wait for its physical installation and activation.
How much does it cost to get a physical line? Well, it varies depending on which fax line service provider (Vonage, Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) you are using, but in average it costs between $25 to $40 a month to install a dedicated line in homes, and more if you are installing it for a business.
Your company may also charge you a separate fee for installing the line, especially if you need to add phone jacks and wiring. Keep in mind that your new line will have the same fee-per-minute as a standard phone line.
A Better Solution: Virtual Fax Lines
A regular line may work fine for faxing with a machine, but for modern offices it's not the smartest alternative. If your business handles a considerable volume of faxes, waiting for your line's installation and activation can feel like centuries.
There’s a fastest and easiest way to set up a new fax line in your office. It doesn’t need additional hardware, physical setups and the best of all is that it’s active in just a matter of minutes.
It's called a virtual fax line.
Nowadays this is the best alternative to receive faxes, even better than a cheap home fax line, and you only need a computer with an Internet connection.
Virtual fax lines are acquired through one of the various online fax services on the market. These are services that let you fax online through a monthly subscription, which includes your own Internet-based fax number.
These virtual lines use FoIP (Fax Over IP) technology, so they don't need any type of physical installation or cables. Online fax providers already have at their disposition a wide variety of Google fax numbers that you can begin using right away.
In addition to helping reduce costs, this is a line that will never be busy. It will remain active 24/7 to receive incoming faxes, even when your computer is turned off.
Setting up your digital fax line is very easy, and you don’t need advanced tech skills. You just need to sign up with the online fax provider of your choice. At the moment of creating your account, you'll need to choose a number (most fax services let you choose between local and toll-free numbers at no extra cost). You pick one, and that’s it, you are ready to receive fax!
The cost of an online fax service is between $5 and $18 per month, depending on the service/plan you are using. This fee doesn't only include your virtual dedciated line, but also hundreds of pages you can send and receive each month. Since services don't work with contracts, you can also cancel at anytime for any reason.
How Does It Work?
For people sending you faxes, this new number is no different than a number issued by a traditional phone company. It contains the same number of digits, and it is compatible with both fax machines and computers. The difference is "behind the curtains": instead of using a landline, it takes advantage of Internet Protocol.
“Does this mean that I need to connect my computer/laptop/smartphone to the Internet at all times?”
No, because the number works with fax servers that are always online. Your number stays actives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
But the real magic of this type of line is that it grabs all incoming faxes and automatically sends them to your email address converted as PDF files that you can read on pretty much any computer or mobile device.
This hands-free process to receive faxes makes a big difference and ultimately frees up a lot of time that you can use on other tasks.
If you already own a landline, replacing it with a digital one is the best course of action. It will help to reduce the time you spend faxing by basically automating the whole process. Today’s top companies can transfer your current fax number to a digital line through a process known as “number porting.”
This process takes a couple of days. In the meantime, you get a temporary number that will help you send and receive faxes until the porting process is complete.
If faxing is an important part of your company’s communications, you must have a dedicated line to receive fax. Having good channels of communications with your clients and providers is essential to help your business run smoothly.