With all digital telephony gradually moving across to the Cloud and this needs to have been completed by the end of 2025, one subject that is thought less about is the fax machine.Whilst many businesses we meet do not have a fax machine at all, there are some companies (especially those that work with overseas clients) that still greatly rely on faxing and as such it must be something to be considered when upgrading their networks.

The reason that it must be considered is that a fax machine is an analogue device, and in past years required an analogue line, or an analogue port on a phone system across digital lines.

With a Cloud Hosted telephone system, these options have now changed.

So, what options are available if you still need to receive a fax?

  1. Move your number to Fax to Email

We regularly come across companies that have a fax machine ‘just in case someone sends a fax’ as they often still have the number published on the website. Fax to Email is perfect for this route as it is a low-cost option, and allows any fax sent to the number to be converted to an email file, and received into a dedicated mailbox.

The only negative is that faxes can only be received and not sent, so whilst this route is perfect for many users happy to receive faxes and just send emails, it may not be suitable for all.

  1. Use an adaptor to allow for connection of the fax machine to the phone system

Fax is an old technology and a fax machine is classed as an analogue device, designed to work across analogue lines, or connected to an analogue port of a digital system. SIP is a newer technology and has not been designed with the fax in mind. As such, to get the two connected requires an ATA (Analogue Terminal Adaptor), which converts the signal and transmits it across IP. However, this is more of a ‘fix’ than a robust solution and if there is no other option, this would be the best way to go, but we wouldn’t recommend this if at all avoidable.

  1. Temporarily connect the Fax Machine to a spare analogue line – however see warning note below

Whilst we would always try to move onto newer and better technologies, if a fax machine is a complete necessity then other than fax to email, the solution which we would recommend would be to keep the fax on an analogue line – usually there is one which is used for internet/PDQ/alarm and if so, it is possible to simply connect the fax and use this – whilst it may be on a different number, if you need to keep the existing number, the top line of the fax can be changed to show the number you want to present, and the number published can be set as fax to email so can still receive faxes.

However, be aware that in the BT switch-off in 2025, all analogue lines are being discontinued so this is only a short term measure. A long-term solution will have to be adopted and we’d suggest option 1 above.

If you would like to speak with us about faxing, fax to email or anything telecoms related, please click here.

December 2023