how email fax works

Digital faxing has revolutionized the way we fax documents, merging the reliability of traditional faxing with the speed of modern communication technology.

Now it is possible to send and receive faxes without having to print anything! You can simply fax from your computer or other device such as a tablet or cell phone – even while you are away from your office!

Is this magic? Well, you could say it’s the magic of FoIP technology and fax servers.  If you want to learn more about what goes behind the scenes whenever you send and receive faxes online, this is the article for you.  Once you understand how it works, you will see why online faxing is so simple yet so effective.

Meet FoIP Technology

If FoIP sounds very much like VoIP, it’s because they both work the same, the difference is that FoIP is for faxing and VoIP is for voice transmissions. If you own a VoIP line, you may know that it is impossible to fax through it.  there’s simply just too much distortion on these lines to transmit a document correctly.

FoIP (Fax Over Internet Protocol) was developed in the year 1998, as a way to share fax transmissions through the Internet and other IP based networks.  The main goal was to make faxing more affordable and free of the problems that traditional faxing had.

Owning a fax server with FoIP is recommended only for big companies with a technology department, that’s way these servers are provided by online fax services, which are able to transmit faxes electronically as if they were emails.  Fax services have their own FoIP servers capable of transmitting millions of faxes in a quick an secure way.

How Sending a Fax Works

Let’s begin by taking a look at what happens every time you send a fax using email. Keep in mind that this entire process takes place in the background.

After you press send, the document will be emailed to your fax company’s fax servers (that’s why you add to the recipient’s number in the TO field). These servers are capable of converting faxes into digital documents and viceversa, using FoIP, which stands for Fax Over Internet Protocol.

These servers are very powerful and can take care of documents in an instant.  In the case of sending a fax, your digital file will be converted into a TIFF file, a format that is compatible with traditional fax machines.

Once the document has been converted, it is sent again (this time as a traditional fax) to the number you entered on the TO field. This fax is sent via a phone line, so it is compatible with all current fax technology as well as with fax machines.  During this step, the service may find trouble sending the fax due to busy phone lines. In this case, the fax will be sent again until it is successfully delivered.

Once the document has reached its destination, you will receive a delivery notification.

That’s it! This is a simple process that repeats every time you send a new fax.

How Receiving a Fax Works

When you receive fax on Gmail, it first follows a similar procedure to the one described above, but this time the other way around.

First, someone sends a fax to you using the free fax number provided by your company of choice.  This number will “grab” the fax image and send it to the fax servers, where the document will be converted into a digital file.

This time the document goes from TIFF to PDF (an Adobe Acrobat document, readable on all computers and mobile devices).

Again, this process takes place automatically, so the only thing you see is new faxes arriving to your Gmail account. From there it is a good idea to sort them and organize them using Gmail’s folders and labels.

In Conclusion

Online fax technology doesn’t have to be complicated.  We wrote this article trying to keep things simple so you can understand how your fax travels across the Internet.  If you have more questions about the topic drop us a line on our Facebook page, we’ll be happy to talk to you!