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SIP Trunking: Part 2

In my last blog entry we explored Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunking and why it might be used in a Voice over IP (VoIP) environment. SIP Trunking has become a hot topic lately and is offered in many different varieties. It is important to know that different providers offer their services in many different ways and while at times connecting to the trunk may be as simple as providing an IP address, there may be additional work required to get any fax server to interoperate with the SIP Trunk. Let me describe how SIP Trunking is currently being used by Open Text Fax Server customers.

One of our customers brought in a SIP trunk from a provider that supported T.38 (T.38 is a Fax over IP standard created by the ITU and supported by Open Text Fax Server) and utilized a G.711 codec for call signaling. This configuration mirrors the requirements provided by the Open Text Fax Server to successfully transmit a fax via Fax over IP (FoIP). As a result the configuration was very straightforward. The service provider provided a demarc at the customers site and gave the customer an IP address to the session border element. All that was required for the customer to begin utilizing FoIP on the SIP Trunk was to configure the SR-140 card to point to the IP address of the session border element. An illustration of the implementation is below.

When the customer sent a fax from the Fax Server it would go to the IP address of the Session Border Element and into the cloud. While the diagram shows an IP PBX system on the customer’s premises the Fax Server is not required to use the IP PBX to communicate with the SIP Trunk. The SIP Trunk allowed the customer to implement a VoIP and FoIP system with minimal capital outlay and maintenance requirements. There was no requirement to install, configure, and maintain gateway equipment nor was there a need to create complex dialing plans to route calls to specific locations for toll bypass.

This is an example of a very simple SIP Trunk implementation. In my next blog entry we will look at a more complex scenario.


SIP Trunking: Part 1

By Adam Friedmann

You may have heard the term SIP Trunk being thrown around and wondered what all of the excitement is about. Well in order to understand what SIP Trunking is we should probably understand a little bit about how Voice over IP (VoIP) works. Session Initiation Protocol or SIP is a protocol which sets up and tears down a call that is carried over an IP network. Many organizations use SIP as a means to setup calls within their VoIP infrastructure. If I want to place a call to a colleague via our VoIP network, SIP will be used to setup the call and Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) will be used to transmit my voice over our network.

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If I decide to place a call to my wife to let her know I will be late from work, SIP will still be used to setup the call but now we must have a way to interface with the telephone company to send the call to my home phone number. A gateway serves this purpose. The gateway will take the IP packets that my voice is translated into and convert it to analog information that can be sent over the PSTN. Likewise, my wife’s voice will be translated back into IP packets by the gateway so that they can be transmitted across the network.

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One of the reasons that an organization purchases a VoIP infrastructure is to save money on toll charges. Let’s use the example of making a call from my office in Tucson to a customer in Germany. If I have an office in Germany that is linked via a Wide Area Network (WAN) to my office in Tucson I can add a gateway in Germany and route my calls across my network to that gateway. The gateway would place the call on the local PSTN in Germany bypassing toll charges. If our organization had offices all over the world with WAN links I could place a gateway in each office and bypass toll charges when calling customers or colleagues local to those areas.

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Smaller companies might not have the staff to maintain this sort of infrastructure. This is where SIP Trunks enter our story. SIP Trunks are offered by Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSP) and allow an organization to see many of the benefits of a VoIP network without having to make a large capital outlay in the purchase of network infrastructure. The gateways that would be maintained in a standard VoIP implementation now move into the data cloud and are maintained by the ITSP. The organization purchases a SIP trunk from an ITSP and integrates it with an internal IP PBX. Connectivity is usually handled via a session border element that is maintained by the provider. Now when I make a call to my wife to let her know I am going to be late, the call is handed off from my IP PBX to the SIP trunk via the session border element and the provider routes the call to my home number via the PSTN. The organization only has to maintain the IP PBX.

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We’ll get an opportunity to learn more about SIP Trunking and how it relates to the OpenText Fax Server and OpenText Fax Gateways in a future blog. If you are interested in learning more about SIP trunks now you can visit these sites:

The OpenText Fax Server works with Global Crossing and Broadvox sip trunks.

Open Text at Interop, Las Vegas 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 centered around Fax over IP and the Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition Shared Services Model. As one customer remarked, “This was definitely worth the time and expense of coming here!”

Watch the Interop TMCnet Interview: Geoffrey Anderson, Sr. Product Manager of OpenText, speaks with Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMC.

// Quantcast

Three Minutes to Install an Open Text Fax Gateway

By Matthew Williams

Whenever I take on a brand new project, I like to put it off as long as possible. This is great at first, but then usually backfires on me when I realize that the job was actually going to be more difficult than I expected. So when my manager asked me to put together a video on configuring the brand new Open Text Fax Gateway 308, I did the usual: put it on the backburner. The day before deadline, I started to panic because I thought it was going to be a little more difficult. I was shocked at what actually happened.
The Open Text Fax Gateway 308 is an 8-port FXO device designed to be as easy to use as possible, while allowing heaps of functionality from even the most demanding customers. When I hear that a product is “easy to use,” the phrase is not always entirely … hmm what’s the right word … accurate? It is with this product!
I plugged in the device to power, Ethernet, and a phone line and made three changes in the friendly Web-configuration tool. Within three minutes I was able to successfully send and receive faxes in Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition. I am amazed at how easy to use this thing really is. I have spent hours or longer with some other devices trying to get them configured just right, even with a certified engineer from that vendor sitting right next to me. Based on my previous experience, it is not supposed to be this easy.
Usually when something is this easy to use, huge sacrifices have been made to limit functionality. But that is not the case here. With a three minute configuration, my gateway is not acting very intelligent, but I could have spent a bit more time adding all sorts of other functionality. I could have configured digit manipulation, gateway redundancy, alternate routes, and much more. You can contact a Sales Representative for more information on capabilities. Open Text’s Partners have been thoroughly trained to implement Fax-over-IP and the new Fax Gateway product line.

 As explained in this in-depth White Paper, Open Text Fax Gateways are designed to easily integrate into virtual Fax Server environments.  To show what they look like and how they work, I’ve created this high-definition Video that illustrates how to configure one to send and receive faxes. 

The Gateway to Fax over IP

By Adam Friedmann

Last week I had the opportunity to demonstrate and train some of our partners on how to use our new analog Open Text Fax Gateway hardware, the 308. This is just one of the models available in our full line of analog and digital gateways. How did it go? It was extremely positive. Why? Many reasons, to name a few:

  • The product is specifically built for faxing making it easier to configure.
  • The device can handle a DocTransport failure and re-route to another available DocTransport
  • The devices have been tested with an extensive number of switches.

When product management first told me that we were going to have a media gateway in our line I was a little concerned. I had worked with other media gateways in the past and found them difficult to configure for faxing.

One month later a cardboard box arrived at the office. It was the new gateway that had been pre-configured to work specifically for faxing. This is what my bosses were calling a single-purpose device. I opened the box, plugged the device in and gave it an IP address that allowed me to access it from my network.  I opened the web based graphical interface, not sure of what I would find. After making a few changes to settings I was faxing.

Next I wanted to explore some of the more advanced features.  After some adjustments I was able to get the device to route to different Fax Servers based upon dialing rules I had created. I changed a few more settings and was able to set up the device to send to redundant Fax Servers. I would send a fax from a fax machine and if the first Fax Server was available the device would route to it. I shut down the first Fax Server and sent another fax to the gateway from a fax machine and the gateway automatically routed it to the second Fax Server.

Finally I wanted to test if the gateway would automatically know if the first Fax Server was brought online. I turned the first Fax Server back on sent another fax and the gateway routed to it. Success!  

The Open Text Fax Gateways along with Open Text Fax Server provide everything needed to easily implement a Fax over IP solution.  To learn more about the Open Text Fax Gateway, click here and be sure to download our new whitepaper on virtualization while you are there.

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.

Open Text Partner Avanquest Solutions Discusses the Value of FoIP

This article originally appeared on the Enterprise Fax over IP channel on TMCnet.
As more companies are building or expanding their IP infrastructures, the benefits of consolidation with enterprise fax over IP are becoming evident as many organizations have already invested in VoIP technology as an alternative to traditional phone communications. In a recent interview with Avanquest Solutions, Mike Rae, sales director of the U.K.-based firm, discusses some of the advantages of adopting fax over IP.
“Using this existing IP resource to also transmit all your fax communications delivers an even greater return on this investment. Many of the costs associated with traditional fax machines such as hardware maintenance, consumables and phone line rental disappear,” Rae said. “Analog routers that are required in order to connect fax machines to your VoIP environment can also be removed creating even greater savings. Customers with multiple sites have the greatest opportunity to save money due to the fact that a centralised fax server can now manage faxing across the whole enterprise without the need for additional telephony provision at local sites.”
Avanquest Solutions has been the U.K. distributor and support and training center for Open Text Fax Server, RightFax Edition since 1992.
With fax over IP, the entire solution is software-based which means it can be implemented in a virtual environment which reduced the number of physical servers required and provides high-availability and disaster recovery, Rae explained.
There are several efficiencies that are achieved with Open Text Fax Server, Right Fax Edition. According to Rae, fax is still the most reliable and secure point to point document delivery solution there is. 
“Electronic faxing dramatically reduces costs, reduces paper and speeds up business processes by allowing users to send faxes from any application in under a minute. Staff no longer has to print out documents they want to fax, wait by the fax machine while it transmits and rely on a paper-based delivery report. The whole process is replicated electronically,” Rae said. “Fax servers enhance your unified communications infrastructure by delivering inbound faxes directly into the user’s personal inbox which means faxes can be retrieved from any location, with any device, improving response times to customers and saving time.”
The process of sending paper documents through OpenText Fax Server is easy, too, he said. By integrating with multi-functional devices, users can login to the device, select the fax option and enter recipient’s number just as they have always done. The document is transmitted by Open Text Fax Server through their personal account, delivery notification is sent to their email address and the fax and transmission history are stored electronically.
“This is all achieved over your IP network. There is no need to install a fax modem on the multi-function device or connect it to an analogue phone line,” Rae added.
OpenText Fax Server can also act as a fax gateway allowing almost any application to automate outbound faxing and e-mail delivery replacing the manual process of printing and posting batches of documents. Thousands of customers rely on the system to deliver trade confirmations, monetary payment confirmations, purchase orders, remittances and many more critical business documents, Rae said.
Since inbound faxes often trigger business processes, Open Text Fax Server can act as the on-ramp into your organization. Documents such as purchase orders and transfer requests can be handed to an intelligent capture application where they can be classified so that the relevant data can be extracted and verified before being automatically uploaded into a line of business application saving time and money and reducing data-entry errors.
In addition, enterprise fax over IP helps companies in terms of regulatory compliance by providing a degree of visibility and control over your fax traffic, which is difficult to ascertain with traditional methods of faxing. Open Text Fax Server stores a full electronic audit trail for each document which can be passed to billing systems and document management applications for cost-tracking and compliance purposes.
“Many industry regulators such as the Financial Services Authority deem fax machines insecure and non-compliant because they automatically print out received documents with no way of determining the recipient or what they did with that document next,” Rae said. “A fax server allows you to see exactly who printed, annotated or viewed the document and at what date and time.”
According to Rae, moving to FOIP greatly improves the business case for VoIP.
“The consolidation of data and communications to a single IP resource reduces the total cost of ownership – one bandwidth for all voice, data and fax communications,” he said. “Switching from traditional fax to FoIP allows you to centrally host faxing for multiple locations. Fax can be integrated with other applications throughout the organization as part of automated business processes and workflow.”

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.