The benefits of VoIP are drawing many small and medium businesses to switch from traditional business phone systems to VoIP solutions. Small businesses that switch from traditional phone services to VoIP may see savings, including cost reduction up to 40 percent on local calls and 90 percent on international calls.¹
But cost savings are negligible if your business relies on traditional, secure communication channels like fax. How can you switch to VoIP if you depend on fax?
It’s a common concern, one that’s been validated as companies have explored VoIP fax solutions over the years and run into problems with failed transmissions and unreliable options. So where do we stand today? Can businesses fax on VoIP?
The short answer is that yes, today’s technology does allow you to fax on VoIP networks, although how reliably and securely fax solutions work varies widely between providers.
For healthcare organizations and other industries that depend on fax, the inherent uncertainty in fax over IP (also known as FoIP) can be enough to keep them from exploring a VoIP solution that could save money and improve efficiency. But even for healthcare organizations, there are options for VoIP fax that can meet your needs.
In this article, we’ll discuss VoIP fax solutions in detail, including some of their common pitfalls and how your business can find a truly reliable and secure solution.
How FoIP Works
Fax over IP works much like VoIP. Fax data is converted into packets which are then transmitted over the company’s internet connection rather than over phone lines. By using a FoIP solution, businesses can eliminate the need for a traditional fax machine, phone lines, and other equipment, decreasing costs and maintenance needs.
VoIP Fax Challenges
Unfortunately, FoIP can be unreliable and inefficient if it is not installed correctly, with effective equipment. Common data problems like packet loss and jitter – which are easily overcome for voice calls – can cause a total failure in a fax transmission.
Because FoIP relies on a packet-switching network, it is also possible for faxed documents to be corrupted due to network timing issues or packet loss.
Many businesses worry that a fax sent over the internet is more vulnerable than those sent over phone lines. This is especially true in industries with sensitive data, such as healthcare. Healthcare organizations need HIPPA compliant solutions, regardless of whether they’re using traditional communication tools or internet phone systems.
Reliable, Secure VoIP Fax Solutions
While the challenges with VoIP fax are widespread, it can be just as reliable and effective as traditional fax if you find the right provider. Installed correctly, from reputable providers, VoIP fax will employ error-correction protocols to reduce packet loss, encryption to ensure security, and tracking to cut down on certain types of fraud.
The best business VoIP providers will go as far as developing proprietary solutions that increase VoIP fax reliability and security, even signing a BAA ensuring HIPPA compliance.
For example, at ClarityTel we’ve developed our own fax solution, the Pyxis, to ensure you get maximum benefits (including reliability and security) without the challenges of other FoIP models. Pyxis uses a store-and-forward approach to improve reliability by sending faxes as email attachments that can be printed at their destination. We use only high-bandwidth connections to reduce transmission problems.
To improve security, Pyxis is connected directly to the switch to facilitate encrypted transmissions. Fax tracking is included, providing a record of every message your organization sends and receives to help prevent business email compromise and phishing scams.
Top FoIP Solutions Help Businesses Achieve Unified Communications Benefits
Not only can companies send faxes using a VoIP system, they can also realize a number of benefits. FoIP leverages existing VoIP networks, taking your business one step closer to unified communications. Faxes can be sent from anywhere with an internet connection and received at any time, including outside business hours. Further, FoIP makes it possible to receive more than one fax at a time, which can be a significant benefit for high-volume transmissions.
FoIP can lower your cost-per-fax, decrease hardware and energy costs, and simplify disaster recovery programs.
For more information on the ClarityTel Pyxis, download the VoIP fax solutions datasheet.