Despite the advancements in the field of telecommunications, faxing remains as one of the preferred ways of sharing documents securely, especially in industries where privacy is of big concern like healthcare and law. But getting a dedicated fax line and implementing traditional faxing in an office can be a real headache because it doesn’t only mean spending more money, but requires a physical installation and additional equipment. Several days can pass before you can actually start faxing!
Thanks to online fax, you can fax without a phone line and instead use a virtual one. You'll still have a number, but this will be an online fax number that works over Internet. Say good bye to expensive and time consuming phone line installations!
Switching to online fax will not only help get rid of additional lines but will also give you benefits that you didn't think were possible with a fax machine.
Using an Online Fax Service to Get a Virtual Line
Virtual or digital fax lines are like the faxing version of VoIP. As a matter of fact, this type of fax line works with a very similar software-based technology called FoIP, which stands for Fax Over Internet Protocol. If you’ve ever tried to send a fax over a VoIP line, you’ll know that it is impossible, mainly because the quality of transmission is not the same as a traditional phone line, data is transmitted differently.
FoIP appeared as the alternative to make digital lines work to send and receive faxes. These virtual fax lines work exactly as a dedicated phone line but has far more advantages. For example, they are active at all times, and they are able to receive faxes automatically, forwarding them to your Gmail or other email of your preference. You’ll then be able to read the fax right on your computer.
Virtual fax lines are ready to be used in just a few minutes. The way to get an online fax number is through an Internet fax service. These services let you fax hundreds of pages a month for a monthly fee that is in average $10, but most importantly, you can pick a local or toll-free number that you will use to receive faxes. The number is included with the month of your subscription, although you can always try them out first for a full month. This virtual line will be linked to your email.
Digital fax lines work just like a dedicated line, because they are free and ready to receive faxes all day long. Unlike phone lines, which require you to keep your machine turned on at all times, you can keep receiving faxes even when your computer is turned off. They can arrive either on your email inbox or on your online fax dashboard, the member’s area of your preferred fax service.
There’s no need in purchasing additional equipment such as a new network card or a special fax modem.
Sending and Receiving Faxes Digitally
So, you’ve gotten rid of you phone line. Now, how do you actually send and receive faxes with your virtual line?
Digital fax lines are used to be linked to your email, so sending a fax this way is just like sending a common email to a colleague. Whenever you want to send a fax, you just open the email client or provider of your choice and start composing a new email message. The fax number, cover page and contents go in the email. The first on the To field, the second on the message field, and the contents as an attachment.
The contents of the attachment will be converted into a fax format, so if the person receiving the fax has a fax machine, it won’t be a problem.
Receiving faxes is even easier. Your digital fax line will convert incoming faxes into PDFs and then will send the file to your email automatically. As users, we only need to check for incoming faxes or activate notifications. That’s something that is impossible to do with traditional faxing, receiving faxes automatically require you to set up your machine and leave it turned on the whole time.
PDFs are the perfect format to receive faxes this way, because they can be read on practically every computer or device, and they can include both text and images.
Use Your Fax Line on the Go
One of the biggest advantages of faxing online is that your line is accessible anywhere. Since you don’t depend on a physical location to receive faxes you can check them out on the go by using your smartphone or tablet.
There’s no shortage of apps that let you send and receive fax on the go and none of them use a traditional phone line. The best online fax services all have apps that let you send and receive faxes with just a few taps. And if installing new apps on your phone is not your thing, you can use your email program to fax online, programs like iPhone Mail or Gmail. There you simply compose your email fax and attach a document or photo from your phone, following the usual steps to send an email fax.
Mobile faxing has been a game changer in the faxing landscape over the past 5 years. During this time, apps have evolved and most are free of the bugs that initially plagued them. Nowadays you can take care of advanced tasks, like adding a signature or scheduling faxes for later delivery.
Get Rid of Your Phone Line!
Faxing technology is on a whole new level now. If you keep using an old fax machine, you are living in the past and not taking advantage of all the benefits modern faxing has to bring. Finally, forget about requesting a new physical phone line. Faxing over a digital line is faster, easier, and more cost effective.
Nowadays there are faxing plans made for all types of users. There’s no excuse to keep dealing with the issues of traditional faxing, but even if you are hesitant to try this new technology out, you can create a free trial account with the provider of your choice. In just a few minutes you can create a test account and follow the tutorials on this site to send and receive your first faxes online.