Changing from Traditional Faxing to Online Faxing

Benefits

Moving from traditional faxing to the relatively new online variety provides obvious financial benefits to your company. For starters, you no longer need a dedicated phone line for faxing. You can forget about consumable items such as ink, paper and toner, and you will receive the added security of encrypted transmissions, not to mention the flexibility that online faxing offers. With an online faxing set-up you can fax in the following methods:

• Computer to computer
• Computer to fax machine
• Fax machine to computer

Online faxing makes your fax content accessible via any device that you have connected to the Internet.

Equipment and Software Requirements

Equipment: One of the best feature of digital faxing is that it is so straightforward. It allows you to use tools already central to the communication that you engage in on a daily basis; ie. Internet devices, browsers, email, and Internet connections.

It is always useful when using Internet faxing to purchase a printer with scanning capabilities, as this will enable you to scan any documents you wish to send into your company’s computer system.

Software: Virtually any email application can be used for online faxing, whether a web-based email provider such as Hotmail or Yahoo, or the desktop-based programs such as Microsoft Outlook. And the online email fax service will usually provide you with a web interface in order to fax, even if you can’t access your email account. Furthermore, some online faxing services provide you with downloadable software applications that can be left on your desktop to provide faxing access. And most online faxing providers are now compatible with Apple’s products.

Other Considerations: Online faxing services allow you to send faxes to traditional fax machines without the person at the other end requiring an Internet connection. Your online fax service provider will handle the conversion from digital file to physical document.

What Attributes to Seek in Online Faxing Providers

Pricing, functionality and standard of service vary, but the following features are now considered standard:

• The price for a standard service averages around $10 per month, but you should check that providers offer the services that you require before signing up.
• Ensure that there are no hidden charges included in the price of the service that you opt for.
• The number of users that the plan caters for should be considered.
• A base usage limit that can be used as a good guide is 300 pages per month, which will include both incoming and outgoing faxes. Page rates actually refer to the length of time required to send a page, with one page equal to one minute. Graphics-intensive pages take longer to send than text-based faxes.
• A reasonable rate for extra pages is 10 cents per page.
• It is a good idea to bear in mind online storage capacity. Being able to store your faxes online will be an extremely useful function.
• Finally, some service providers have restrictions regarding email providers, so it may be advisable to verify this before you sign up.
• Currently online fax providers do not support colour faxing, but this is an inevitable development in the coming years.

How to Get Started with Online Faxing

In order to participate in online faxing, you firstly need to sign up with a suitable online faxing service provider. You also require a local or toll-free number. Sometimes it is possible to port across an existing fax number, but this needs to be checked with the provider first. This may incur a porting charge in the region of $20-50. It is usually quicker to set this up via phone than online.