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  • Update:

    Success! The entire problem was my fax line provider. I had to argue with Tier 1, Tier 2, and finally was given a special fax line engineer (apparently). 

    The fax line was from our phone system provider (VOIP), through a Cisco ATA box. I was told by the first 2 tiers of engineers that the issue was with my own network, because when the fax line was plugged in directly into my Brother fax machine, I was able to receive and send, but when I tried to use any other device (usb fax adapter, cimfax server, etc) faxes were either not coming in at all, or taking forever to send/receive. 

    Note to self in the future: When I feel like I'm right, ignore the techs and just annoy them until they escalate you. 

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    18 Replies

    • There are literally 4 options...

      1. Stop using fax but move on to emails if possible. Reason is that most fax do not have the receipt option and email would usually have a non-recipient if the email account no longer exists and you also have the "outbox" or "sent fonder" as a record.

      2. Fax directly from fax machine

      3. Use a USB modem to directly fax from PC via land line

      4. If your fax machine have a "network fax" option, then you may be able to fax from your PC to the fax machine (or MFD). The "network fax" works as if you print to the machine then it also scans and faxes out. But this highly depends if your fax machine have this feature.

      Spice (1) flagReport
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    • Personally, get off the USB track and get a network model that can forward faxes via email to the user. More stable and not dependent on the PC being on. They will be able to see faxes anywhere they have email. 

      Spice (3) flagReport
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    • Ditch the fax , what century is this????

      Spice (1) flagReport
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    • scottbrindley wrote:

      Ditch the fax , what century is this????

      Stardate 2202

      Spock : "Scotty beam me up to Enterprise"

      Mr Scott : "can fax me your location ? "

      Spice (1) flagReport
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    • Gatack wrote:

      Current Setup:

      Fax line -> Brother MFC5900 -> User PC using PC Fax Receive

      ...
      If I want to be able to receive faxes directly to the User PC using a Fax USB, and still be able to send out fax through the Fax Machine
      • What do you mean by Fax USB?
      • Why don't you want to use your PC or your server for receiving fax?

      Most general purpose PC operating systems have a fax service builtin. Eventually, your Internet access router has such a fax service builtin (Mine has). And if you're running your PC not at all those times when you expect to receive faxes, you may enable fax service on your server as it is also available for your servers. If the receiving fax device is not the target device, then standard is to use Email for forwarding to target. And the target may select when to use builtin fax service for sending and when to use networked fax appliance.

      Gatack wrote:

      what would be the ideal setup?
      • How do you define ideal?

      scottbrindley wrote:

      Ditch the fax , what century is this????

      As little as I remember, the Covid pandemic is in this decade and this century, and the legislator in several countries mandates the use of fax within specified delays for mandated reports in the medical business domain. A few other business domains either have fax service as only mandatory option for communication or as one among several options.

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    • scottbrindley wrote:

      Ditch the fax , what century is this????

      If it were up to me, we would, but this is essential to the office.

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    • adrian_ych wrote:

      There are literally 4 options...

      1. Stop using fax but move on to emails if possible. Reason is that most fax do not have the receipt option and email would usually have a non-recipient if the email account no longer exists and you also have the "outbox" or "sent fonder" as a record.

      2. Fax directly from fax machine

      3. Use a USB modem to directly fax from PC via land line

      4. If your fax machine have a "network fax" option, then you may be able to fax from your PC to the fax machine (or MFD). The "network fax" works as if you print to the machine then it also scans and faxes out. But this highly depends if your fax machine have this feature.

      1 - not possible, landline fax is essential

      2 - they want to receive faxes digitally because they receive hundreds of faxes a day

      3 - not possible, they want to be able to send using physical faxes and receive digitally

      4 - not sure if my machine has this function, but if it does I will look into it.

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    • scheff1 wrote:

      Gatack wrote:

      Current Setup:

      Fax line -> Brother MFC5900 -> User PC using PC Fax Receive

      ...
      If I want to be able to receive faxes directly to the User PC using a Fax USB, and still be able to send out fax through the Fax Machine
      • What do you mean by Fax USB?
      • Why don't you want to use your PC or your server for receiving fax?

      Most general purpose PC operating systems have a fax service builtin. Eventually, your Internet access router has such a fax service builtin (Mine has). And if you're running your PC not at all those times when you expect to receive faxes, you may enable fax service on your server as it is also available for your servers. If the receiving fax device is not the target device, then standard is to use Email for forwarding to target. And the target may select when to use builtin fax service for sending and when to use networked fax appliance.

      Gatack wrote:

      what would be the ideal setup?
      • How do you define ideal?

      scottbrindley wrote:

      Ditch the fax , what century is this????

      As little as I remember, the Covid pandemic is in this decade and this century, and the legislator in several countries mandates the use of fax within specified delays for mandated reports in the medical business domain. A few other business domains either have fax service as only mandatory option for communication or as one among several options.

      1 - I meant the PC has a USB Fax modem attached to it, one of those converters where its a fax line - usb hub. I want the PC to be receiving everything. I can't send it to email because there are some scripts on that specific computer that upload it to their software hosted inhouse.

      2 - Ideal as in if I wanted to be able to receive faxes digitally to the PC and still be able to send faxes physically through the machine, what would be the best setup?

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    • Gatack wrote:

      3 - not possible, they want to be able to send using physical faxes and receive digitally

      I understood what you described to want. But I'm not able to conclude why this option would not be possible. Keep in mind that it is perfectly possible to have several communication devices connected to same phone line, regardless if these are fax devices, modems, phones or others.

      • So what is preventing you such a setup, in the reverse order for reception instead of sending?

      And there are more options then proposed by Adrian. I don't have a conventional fax device. I've activated the fax service on my ISP provided Internet access router (with integrated DSL modem and integrated digital PBX). The vendor of the Internet access router offers a Windows software for the fax service. But that Windows software supports only Windows 2000 - XP, not any more recent Windows version and not Linux. And already Windows XP support is problematic as it needs an older driver. But the web interface of this Internet access router also supports use of the fax service when enabled. It comes with documented limitations but it works. I did successfully send faxes. I did not test receiving faxes. And I did not get any news that any party failed to send me faxes.

      In your description, I don't understand why you've drawn your PC exclusively behind your Brother fax device. It should be behind your fax device for sending and parallel to your fax device for reception according to your textual description.

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    • Gatack wrote:

      1 - I meant the PC has a USB Fax modem attached to it, one of those converters where its a fax line - usb hub. I want the PC to be receiving everything. I can't send it to email because there are some scripts on that specific computer that upload it to their software hosted inhouse.

      I've no experience with such devices. When I still used an analogue modem for Internet access, I don't know if it supported fax service too. But I know it used a serial line, not USB, for connecting to PC. And the PC was running SuSE Linux, not Windows. Even if it supported fax service, I didn't use it.

      You may need to look up your USB modem and your PC which software is intended to use for reception of faxes. I did even not get the model of your USB fax modem and don't know if it comes with local storage for faxes. Such devices may have a storage capacity up to 50 or 200 fax pages. If they don't come with local storage, then they're usually email service on the PC. But that is what you described as not wanted. I don't know if your USB fax modem and its companion software or your PC has a file service for receiving such faxes in a local share of the file system of the attached PC. Might be possible.

      Windows offers a builtin fax service implemented in software. You may want to take a look at this software and services, if they also support an external USB fax modem. You'll need to enable fax service and probably also imaging service on your PC. These are disabled by default. You may need to look at additional Windows features for getting these installed and enabled. And as you want this fax modem for reception of faxes, you don't want it behind your brother fax device but in parallel, with direct access to phone line. Fax service is supported over digital line, analogue line and Internet. Your PC will keep its choice to send faxes via the Brother fax device although you would be able to send also via your USB fax modem.

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    • Gatack wrote:

      adrian_ych wrote:

      There are literally 4 options...

      1. Stop using fax but move on to emails if possible. Reason is that most fax do not have the receipt option and email would usually have a non-recipient if the email account no longer exists and you also have the "outbox" or "sent fonder" as a record.

      2. Fax directly from fax machine

      3. Use a USB modem to directly fax from PC via land line

      4. If your fax machine have a "network fax" option, then you may be able to fax from your PC to the fax machine (or MFD). The "network fax" works as if you print to the machine then it also scans and faxes out. But this highly depends if your fax machine have this feature.

      1 - not possible, landline fax is essential

      2 - they want to receive faxes digitally because they receive hundreds of faxes a day

      3 - not possible, they want to be able to send using physical faxes and receive digitally

      4 - not sure if my machine has this function, but if it does I will look into it.

      Why not edit your post and include the requirements in your main post as well ??

      Might as well include things like budget ? coz "there are more options then proposed by Adrian" ..... but at a cost. Thats why I included things like MFDs (multi-functional printer) or some people call them copiers. There are also specialized appliances (for fax or SMS even or both) that can have digital outgoing faxing, digital incoming faxes (with OCR and email function options), paper outgoing scanner and link to network and/or USB printers....but costs might be 3x to 50x that of your fax machine ?

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    • adrian_ych wrote:

      Might as well include things like budget ? coz "there are more options then proposed by Adrian" ..... but at a cost.

      When receiving hundreds of faxes per day and considering faxes as essential for business, kind and volume of budget might be higher. It's up to the OP to disclose.

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    • adrian_ych wrote:

      Gatack wrote:

      adrian_ych wrote:

      There are literally 4 options...

      1. Stop using fax but move on to emails if possible. Reason is that most fax do not have the receipt option and email would usually have a non-recipient if the email account no longer exists and you also have the "outbox" or "sent fonder" as a record.

      2. Fax directly from fax machine

      3. Use a USB modem to directly fax from PC via land line

      4. If your fax machine have a "network fax" option, then you may be able to fax from your PC to the fax machine (or MFD). The "network fax" works as if you print to the machine then it also scans and faxes out. But this highly depends if your fax machine have this feature.

      1 - not possible, landline fax is essential

      2 - they want to receive faxes digitally because they receive hundreds of faxes a day

      3 - not possible, they want to be able to send using physical faxes and receive digitally

      4 - not sure if my machine has this function, but if it does I will look into it.

      Why not edit your post and include the requirements in your main post as well ??

      Might as well include things like budget ? coz "there are more options then proposed by Adrian" ..... but at a cost. Thats why I included things like MFDs (multi-functional printer) or some people call them copiers. There are also specialized appliances (for fax or SMS even or both) that can have digital outgoing faxing, digital incoming faxes (with OCR and email function options), paper outgoing scanner and link to network and/or USB printers....but costs might be 3x to 50x that of your fax machine ?

      Thank you for your feedback, I have mentioned edited it to mention in the original post!

      The budget for this is minimal - anything over $100 would be turned down. I've looked into other devices, but unfortunately nothing that's within my range.

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    • scheff1 wrote:

      adrian_ych wrote:

      Might as well include things like budget ? coz "there are more options then proposed by Adrian" ..... but at a cost.

      When receiving hundreds of faxes per day and considering faxes as essential for business, kind and volume of budget might be higher. It's up to the OP to disclose.

      I edited to mention in the original post! 

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    • scheff1 wrote:

      Gatack wrote:

      3 - not possible, they want to be able to send using physical faxes and receive digitally

      I understood what you described to want. But I'm not able to conclude why this option would not be possible. Keep in mind that it is perfectly possible to have several communication devices connected to same phone line, regardless if these are fax devices, modems, phones or others.

      • So what is preventing you such a setup, in the reverse order for reception instead of sending?

      And there are more options then proposed by Adrian. I don't have a conventional fax device. I've activated the fax service on my ISP provided Internet access router (with integrated DSL modem and integrated digital PBX). The vendor of the Internet access router offers a Windows software for the fax service. But that Windows software supports only Windows 2000 - XP, not any more recent Windows version and not Linux. And already Windows XP support is problematic as it needs an older driver. But the web interface of this Internet access router also supports use of the fax service when enabled. It comes with documented limitations but it works. I did successfully send faxes. I did not test receiving faxes. And I did not get any news that any party failed to send me faxes.

      In your description, I don't understand why you've drawn your PC exclusively behind your Brother fax device. It should be behind your fax device for sending and parallel to your fax device for reception according to your textual description.

      I think this is what I need to figure out.

      The previous setup that worked used the PC as a Fax Receiver through the Windows software you mentioned. The PC had the "Receiving Fax" window always open and that was how they received faxes. Unfortunately there were no configs for me to look at or import as the previous fax machine just stopped working, and I recently took over as the IT (the previous IT left without leaving any information). This is frustrating because the previous setup was so simple - It was just phone line to the fax machine, and then another line from the fax machine to the PC.

      Would a phone line splitter do the job then? I haven't tried that yet as I was under the impression that faxes would still be picked up by the Brother printer instead of the PC.

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    • Gatack wrote:

      Would a phone line splitter do the job then? 
      • What do you mean by phone line splitter?
      • Which kind of phone line do you have?

      For a conventional analogue phone line, there exist different kinds of splitters. Some are checking if the incoming call is voice, fax or Internet and route accordingly to attached devices. It is unable to distinguish between two attached fax devices and you would want to forward the incoming signal to your PC or to your USB fax modem. Other splitters are just forwarding signals without further analysis which leads to a situation where the device answering first will get the call. So regardless which kind of splitter you use for such a line, you would want to configure your USB fax modem to answer the incoming call as soon as possible and the Brother fax to either not answer incoming calls or as late as possible in order to allow the USB fax modem to answer before.

      If your phone line is digital, then incoming destination number and call type may be used for routing the incoming call. This has nothing to do with what I know as phone line splitter.

      As my ISP provided Internet access router has also a builtin PBX, it handles the routing for me as I've configured.

      Gatack wrote:

      I haven't tried that yet as I was under the impression that faxes would still be picked up by the Brother printer instead of the PC.
      Usually, your Brother fax and your USB fax modem should be configurable how to handle incoming calls. For your intended setup, you would want the USB fax modem to answer incoming calls as soon as possible and your Brother fax to either never answer or as late as possible. That's a configuration at these devices. Eventually some configuration software on your PC might be necessary to make such configuration on these devices. And not every device may support a configuration to never answer an incoming call. But as little as I've seen, I could configure devices (and PBX) to answer an incoming call later (or to route to an answering machine).
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    • Gatack wrote:

      - We are not able to switch to pure digital faxing as we need to be able to send physical faxes

      Please explain what you mean as pure digital faxing supports to send physical faxes. Perhaps you've some confusion and misunderstanding here.

      Even in my country, analogue phone network is either extinguished or short before extinction. Nevertheless, fax service continues to be required for certain use cases for certain regulated business domains by the public regulator resp. law maker. This works as proven by the pandemic rules in the past two years. And the regulator has added other options to fax service in a few other regulated business domains while continuing to keep fax service in the set of options.

      ITU.T resp. CCITT have specified what fax service is on public phone lines. These definitions support various kinds of phone lines, conventional analogue public switched phone lines, digital public switched phone lines, digital virtual phone lines. The latter transitioned from NGN phone service to IP phone service, via separate virtual channels or inline. I had already all these situations. Most support to communicate with communication partners of each other type. There may be (compatibility) issues with certain conventional analogue public switched phone lines as receivers.

      That's another reason why I asked which kind of phone line resp. phone service you have.

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    • Update:

      Success! The entire problem was my fax line provider. I had to argue with Tier 1, Tier 2, and finally was given a special fax line engineer (apparently). 

      The fax line was from our phone system provider (VOIP), through a Cisco ATA box. I was told by the first 2 tiers of engineers that the issue was with my own network, because when the fax line was plugged in directly into my Brother fax machine, I was able to receive and send, but when I tried to use any other device (usb fax adapter, cimfax server, etc) faxes were either not coming in at all, or taking forever to send/receive. 

      Note to self in the future: When I feel like I'm right, ignore the techs and just annoy them until they escalate you. 

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