Faxing advice/recommendations

in General Discussion edited January 2014
okay, let's say you're setting up an office. faxing capabilities seem almost required, because sooner or later someone will want to fax YOU something, and having them fax it to, say, kinko's, sounds nice in theory... but gets old FAST.

so looking around, you've got a bunch of options, and i'm not sure of the trade-offs.

- fax machine on your phone line

pretty basic, works so long as you don't need to be using the phone at the same time. also, if your fax number gets published, you will eventually get spam fax, tying up paper, toner, and phone lines unless you try to keep up with blocking them

- fax machine on a separate line

better than the first option, in that it doesn't matter how much the line is tied up. certainly costs more to set up a separate line, though. the costs of spam faxes is still there, too.

- fax from computer to phone line

see above, with the lessened expense of getting a different machine. except your computer has to be running and available to send faxes. fine if you're by yourself, not usable if you have more than one worker. it does (theoretically) use equipment you already have, like a scanner, too, helping your investment.

- fax from computer to fax line

see above for separate fax line, but same drawbacks of having your computer do yet another thing, and there's that cost of an extra fax line again. and a scanner is fine for very short faxes, but if you plan to fax multi-page documents, you had better have a multi-sheet feeder attachment, not exactly easy to find a GOOD scanner with a feeder.

- online fax service

it seems that the primary drawback to this approach is that, with a traditional fax machine, eventually you use it enough to justify the cost of the machine. but with something like efax, if you ever decide to stop subscribing, you lose your "virtual" fax machine, and then must go out and add on the expense of a fax machine in the first place. plus, i'm not sure about security, but how much more secure can it be than a standard fax machine.

certainly, another advantage to computer faxing is that, if spam faxes do come in, you don't use up consumables unnecessarily, like paper and toner. you only print the stuff you want to read, which can be an advantage.

so, does anyone have an preferred method to faxing? are there pro's and con's i have missed here?


  • Reply 1 of 3
    regreg Posts: 832member
    From my limited experience in this area, the best option for me is All-In-One on network with a seperate phone line connected to it.

    The all in one saved a lot of space and anyone could use the scanner ( we have 4 laptops at our house plus a bunch of desktops) on the network. The amount of faxing has been reduced quite a bit with most things being sent out and received via email. It only takes a couple of times sending something in email instead of fax and people learn to do the same also.

    Any important fax gets scanned anyway so having it emailed saves time, and paper.

  • Reply 2 of 3
    I use a scanner for many, many things, so I have a pretty decent scanner. Everyone has email these days, so in the odd chance that what I need to send isn't already in a digital format, I just scan the pages into a PDF and email it over.

    For incoming faxes, I have an eFax account, but there are also plenty of fax programs that work with standard modems and allow you to send and receive faxes from the computer. Multifunction devices can be nice, but I need a good scanner and a good printer, and very rarely need to fax anything. So this method works fine and spares me the need to have a fax machine, or, for that matter, to even have a phone line.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    timotimo Posts: 353member
    I have a scanner with a document feeder, so the occassional copy can be made. I supplemented this with pagesender for sending/receiving faxes.

    When I set up my new office I found I needed a few more gadgets. I got another phone number connected to my office number, differentiated by a "distinctive ring"; that is, two numbers, one line. I then purchased a fax switch that knows when the distinctive ring occurs to send the incoming fax to my powermac, where pagesender has it ready in an inbox and in Preview.

    This set up is only a few weeks old, but it seems to be working fine.
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