Archive for the 'Fax over IP' Category

Open Text Delivers Extensible, Simple-to-Deploy Fax Over Internet Solution

Open Text Fax Gateway Maximizes Network Resources and Reduces Costs with Complete IP and Software-Based Fax Solution

Waterloo, ON. – March 02, 2010 – Open Text™ Corporation (NASDAQ: OTEX, TSX: OTC), the preeminent provider of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software, today announced a complete range of fax gateways that give organizations of all sizes a single source for all their fax over IP (FoIP) needs. Easy to implement, the new Open Text Fax Gateway solutions are designed to help customers lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by consolidating voice and data network equipment for fax.

FoIP implementations can have many variables, especially in larger and more complex networks. One of the more challenging aspects is figuring out how to properly configure, test and optimize a general-purpose media gateway to act as a fax gateway. By offering purpose-built fax gateways, optimized to work with the Open Text Fax Server, Open Text eliminates this complexity while giving customers and partners a single source for service and support.  Open Text is the market leader in enterprise fax solutions offered with integration to the comprehensive management capabilities available in the Open Text ECM Suite.

“We’re seeing more and more interest in fax over IP in organizations of all sizes because it gives them a promising way to lower costs and consolidate resources,” said Matthew Brine, Vice President, Fax and Document Distribution, Open Text. “The combination of our fax gateways and market-leading fax server software makes it easier than ever to deploy a highly sophisticated FOIP solution that can deliver considerable savings and improve business processes.”

Flexibility, Interoperability, Compatibility
Communications networks in many organizations are often intermixed with circuit-switched (telephony) and packet-switched (IP) technologies. Open Text Fax Gateway serves as the bridge between these two divergent technologies and simplifies FoIP implementations by converting telephony communications — fax T.30 signals and TDM protocols— to standards-based SIP and T.38. Click to read the complete news release.

Click to learn more about Fax Gateway for FoIP.

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Why Faxing is Still Relevant in the 21st Century

By Darin McGinnes

Why would a communication technology that was conceived in the 19th Century and perfected in the 20th Century, still be important today in the 21st Century? The simple answer: faxing is a guaranteed delivery technology that email has yet to achieve. For those of us who work in the industry, this might be stating the obvious. But for the uninitiated, most believe faxing is practically dead, after all aren’t we in the Information Age? My answer: not so fast, as faxing is still alive and well!

Don’t get me wrong, email is a wonderful, convenient, and easy to use technology that for many businesses that relied on faxing in the past, do not need to use it as much anymore. But if you’re in an industry such as medical, finance, legal, or construction, you know that email isn’t good enough when it comes to delivering or receiving important, time sensitive or legal documents. In this respect, one may wonder why faxing is superior to email. It all comes down to the fact that a fax is considered a legal document because the transaction can be confirmed while email cannot.

Let’s look at how a fax is transmitted vs. email.  Email is built upon technology from the internet. It uses packet switch technology, which means it’s unreliable. Not that it’s ineffective, but the sender never knows for sure if the other side received the email as it is sent best effort only. Worse yet, it also could be easily intercepted by unscrupulous types. Faxing, on the other hand, is built upon technology from the tried and true public switched telephone network, the oldest communications network in the world. It uses circuit switch technology, which means that it’s reliable; both parties will know if the fax was sent successfully or not. Also, intercepting a fax transmission is much more difficult. And for those of you who are thinking: what about VOIP? Well, all that’s about is emulating a point-to-point circuit switched phone conversation over the packet switched internet. Circuit switched reliability is still intact.

One may ask if there is a better way to fax. After all, using traditional fax machines can be an unwieldy, inefficient process. Not to mention the difficult, time consuming process of integrating with business applications such as ERP, CRM, or document management systems. My answer to you is the fax server.

Either with an enterprise software solution like Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition or an appliance solution like Open Text Fax Appliance, FaxPress Edition, a fax server shields the inefficiency of sending or receiving faxes from the end user. It allows users to conveniently send and receive faxes from the desktop or leverage existing multifunction printers or scanners to send hard copy faxes. Furthermore fax servers seamlessly integrate with back office business applications that allow customers to realize a true paperless office, bringing the clunky fax into the 21st century of technology and convenience.

To learn more, download one of our free whitepapers:

Implementing Fax over IP in your Organization

Network Faxing with Open Text Fax Appliance, FaxPress Edition 

Configuring Microsoft Exchange 2010 UM for Inbound Faxing

Feature Pack 1 of the Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition v9.4, delivers interoperability with Microsoft Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging (UM). The new UM settings allow for inbound faxes to be referred to the Fax Server instead of being processed only through Exchange 2010 UM. Faxes are now handled by a fax server but still processed where end users are typically used to receiving faxes in Outlook with Exchange 2007 UM.

The problem is that with this new technology comes the scary question that comes to mind for anyone who is going to have to implement this and is not familiar with Unified Messaging in Exchange, “Do I really have to time to install Exchange 2010 and then study how the Unified Messaging piece works just to setup inbound faxing”?  Rather than you spending days installing and reading about UM concepts, we created two videos that should pretty much get you up to speed (assuming you have about 20 minutes).

Configuring Exchange 2010 UM for Inbound Faxing – Part 1:

  • How to configure Exchange 2010 to listen for CNG fax tones
  • Setup a UM Dial Plan
  • Setup a UM IP Gateway
  • Setup a UM MailBox Policy.

Configuring Exchange 2010 UM for Inbound Faxing – Part 2:

  • How to create a Receive Connector (for security)
  • Configure the Open Text Fax Server
  • Configure a AudioCodes MP-114 (media gateway)
  • Send a test to see it work

We also have a new white paper on faxing with Exchange Server 2010 UM.   Download here.

The Reality of Fax Virtualization

What’s all the fuss about virtualization anyway?  Well for starters, it’s a hot topic in IT consolidation today because it saves money and helps the environment too. Virtualization is the ability to run multiple instances of applications, operating systems or CPUs on a “virtual” or “alien” platform. The obvious benefits are easy to see: Less computer hardware to maintain, less space in the datacenter, and even less energy consumption.

At first pass it sounds straightforward, but if you dig deep enough, virtualization can be thought of at multiple layers within the topology of an Enterprise to such a degree that it can be downright confusing. Popular definitions of virtualization will usually lump it into two main categories however: Platform virtualization and Application virtualization. If you want more, then it starts to get a little too deep.  As a matter of fact, Wiki lists about ten distinct categories of virtualization. But fear not, with respect to Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition (Formerly Captaris RightFax) and its role in your virtual reality, it is well, “virtually” a no brainer. Simply put, the new version Fax Server, RightFax Edition is an application that can run on a virtual machine using VMWare.   This means that your fax solution can now play nicely with whatever virtual strategies you have in place today and for the future. 

But wait, what about the fax boards that interconnect the server to the phone system? After all they are physical pieces of hardware that require occupancy in a machine. How do you turn that into a virtual solution too? The first answer is easy: Consider migrating to a software-only solution that eliminates the need for the fax boards altogether. That’s right; we’re talking about strengthening your virtualization strategy by adopting a fax over IP (FoIP) solution. Now, you’ve created a truly replicable environment.  

Okay, so what if that is not possible? Since we are on the topic of “reality”, it is well understood that many organizations are just starting to implement their plans to migrate to FoIP and that there are in fact a lot of installed fax boards already in place and working fine just as they are. That brings us to the second answer and it’s just as easy: Using Fax Server’s modern architecture, it’s simple to setup the fax boards in a dedicated CPU machine (with a remote DocTransport service running for example) and placing the rest of the application on an “alien” or “virtual” machine. You’re still going to recognize tangible benefits while leveraging your current fax board investments. Over time, you can migrate your fax hardware to FoIP and gain even more return as you virtualize the rest of the solution. 

To sum it all up, if going “virtual” is in your company’s plans, then Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition now offers flexible ways to make it… real.

Download a Fax over IP Toolkit and information on fax server virtualization in VoIP environments.  

Open Text has also published The Essential Guide to Fax Server Software and you can download it for free.  Jointly published with Windows IT Pro, this comprehensive guide details all considerations when developing a secure and cost effective fax enabled document delivery strategy.

Sizing Your Fax Server Requirements

(Fax) Size Really Matters

Deploying a fax server to meet your company’s needs today and tomorrow requires careful planning. So many organizational metrics come into play when sizing up your server. How do you tackle such a daunting task? Here’s where to start:

  1. Take stock – You’ll need to do some sleuthing around your organization to quantify who, what, when and where fax documents are being created, delivered, and received. Find the fax machines first and determine how many pages go in, go out, and require storage. Then, you can start to discover which processes are involved.  Who sends those faxes? Why? How many users are parts of the process?  This investigation can reveal  other paper-based processes,  especially those being used with any multi-function devices (MFDs), or back office ERP systems.   All of these are ideal targets for automating and securing fax document delivery with a fax server integration such as Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition. Remember to plan for the future too. Once a fax server is deployed, other business units and their processes may be ideal to automate with your fax application. Sounds easy, but you’d be surprised how many different paper based processes you may find. Remember, Open Text Fax Server sends documents as faxes, PDF, Emails, secure email and certified email too so don’t limit yourself when you conduct your internal needs assessment.
  2. Do the Math – It’s simple: fax servers, whether using traditional phone lines or via the Internet, require “channels” as a means to define bandwidth. Channels can process fax pages at a fairly predictable rate. Thus, knowing the number of pages being sent and received on a particular day, week or month is the best way to size up the number of channels needed – easy!  The number commonly used today is 1 fax page consumes a minute of session time on the phone network or the IP network. So, if you process 5000 fax pages per day, assuming an 8-hour day, then that’s 5000/8hours/60minutes  = 10.4. This means you would need an 11 channel server at a minimum. Obviously, it can get more complex than that and you should always reserve a test channel so in this case we’d recommend a 12 channel server.  Fax storage is easy to compute too. If we take an average of 2.5 pages per fax, and the average fax is 90kB, then storage requirements can be easily estimated. Remember these are just averages – work closely with your Fax Server vendor to better understand YOUR numbers.
  3. Who’s’ in the game? Understand where the fax server will reside within your infrastructure. This is where it can get interesting. In addition to the number of channels you’ll need, your fax server strategy must also include an understanding of the overall topology and the necessary systems required to support it now and in the future. Things like server’s CPU size, storage requirements, database, directory integration, telephony requirements (IP, PSTN, or both?), and redundancy strategies – all need careful planning and consideration, especially across larger organizations. Integration with email will require additional modules, as with certain MFPs or ERP systems too.

Putting it all together seems daunting – but not to worry, the great thing about Open Text Fax Server’s scalable solution, is just that – it scales. You can roll out your deployment over time to avoid lengthy downtime and start seeing the paybacks right way. Start with the neediest users, groups, or business processes first, and then plan your expansion strategy. The multi-layered architecture allows you to add channels, connectors and modules, users or groups, document processors and remote sites too. Not to mention the new licensing utility in version Fax Server, RightFax Edition 9.4 means expanding your fax investment across your enterprise is easy too.

Well what are you waiting for?  Go get started!  Check out our complete Fax Server Sizing and Deployment Guide, part of the eBook, located here.

Go Green with an Open Text Fax Solution

Looking for a simple and cost effective green solution?  Fax servers provide real solutions without the hype!

Fax technology is ubiquitous and faxing is recognized as one of the few electronic mediums where documents can be easily transferred and tracked in real-time. Thus, faxing remains an important component of business communications today.

A modern fax server provides an organization with the flexibility to distribute virtually any document from any application, using a central server integrated into a company’s network. Fax servers are purchased to replace fax machines, leverage investments in multi-function printers or automate part or all of a manual paper based process (for example, sending a fax automatically from a CRM or ERP application or routing a fax based on information contained in the fax).

Fax server purchases are generally justified on the cost savings that they drive within the first twelve months of implementation. But there are many other benefits that a fax server provides, including improved employee productivity and organizational effectiveness, process improvement, leveraging IP and VoIP infrastructure investments, document tracking for regulatory purposes, paper wastage reduction, storage benefits and meeting compliance and information security needs.

Want to learn more about fax servers? A great place to start is the WindowsITPro eBook “The Essential Guide to Fax Servers”.
Matthew Brine
Matthew Brine is the Vice President for Fax and Document Distribution at Open Text. He can be contacted at mbrine@opentext.com.

The new Open Text Fax & Document Distribution Group site (formerly Captaris) is now here:  http://faxsolutions.opentext.com

Microsoft Publishes Case Study on Open Text Fax Server Integration with Exchange Server 2010

Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition has a long history of integration with Microsoft Exchange. We continue this market proven tradition by developing integration for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. This is an important faxing solution because Microsoft Exchange 2010 will no longer offer faxing capability.

Open Text worked with Microsoft to develop rich enterprise fax functionality that would integrate with Exchange Server 2010. The company followed a set of technical and business requirements developed by Microsoft for Exchange Server 2010 to ensure that fax capabilities integrate seamlessly and are easy to use and manage.

These features support two kinds of users. First are employees who are accustomed to using unified messaging systems that include fax functions and who have phone numbers set up to receive faxes. The other users are IT administrators who have established policies and procedures for dial plans that work in conjunction with Exchange Server.

Microsoft published a case study on this collaboration and it’s available from their web site. You can find it by visiting this link!


RSS Open Text Fax & Document Distribution Group

  • SIP Trunking: Part 2 May 14, 2010
    In part 2 of the 3-part SIP Trunking series, we go beyond the simple implementation approach of just providing an IP address and explain the additional work required to get any fax server to interoperate with the SIP Trunk.
  • SIP Trunking: Part 1 May 3, 2010
    Senior Technical Trainer Adam Friedmann discusses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the benefits of SIP Trunks.
  • European Distributor Automates Order Processing with Enterprise Fax and Content Management Solution April 28, 2010
    Cito Benelux replaced manual fax and order processing with an integrated fax and content management solution to automate and optimize order processing resulting in faster, error-free processing, enhanced service and compliance, and the elimination of fax machines.
  • Open Text at Interop, Las Vegas 2010 April 25, 2010
    The Open Text Fax and Document Distribution Group participated in the InterOp 2010 show held in Las Vegas during the last week in April. The event was IT focused with companies representing areas such as computer and network monitoring, VoIP, virtualization, cloud computing, hosting, and security. We had a steady stream of traffic and discussions […]
  • Three Minutes to Install an Open Text Fax Gateway March 31, 2010
    International Technical Instructor Matt Williams, is surprised at how quickly and easily he got an Open Text Fax Gateway up and running after opening the box.