The Trouble With Analog Fax

The Trouble With Analog Fax

If you thought the first fax machine was invented in the 1960s, you’d actually be wrong.  The first fax machine was actually invented not long after the traditional telephone, in 1843 by Alexander Baine and was described as an “Electric Printing Telegraph.”   Since then, technology has become ubiquitous in the business world and even required for the healthcare and finance industries.  Even as digital technology has matured and proven its security strength, there is still a lot of personal medical and financial information that is required to be sent over fax.  And as we approach the closure of the analog network behind the technology, fax machines would seem to be heading towards redundancy. many of us have held on to our analog fax devices.  Why the disconnect?

analog fax

Analog Fax is Reliable

Fax technology has had almost 180 years to perfect its technology.  While not impervious to weather, it is very effective at delivering its message despite the weather conditions and is not susceptible to noise in the same way that IP is.  VoIP audio transmission has come a long way since its inception and can provide HD quality voice and video with the same, if not better, quality as the traditional analog lines of the PSTN.  But fax transmission is highly sensitive to packet loss and just has not been able to obtain the same level of accuracy.

Analog Fax is Secure

Much has been said about how faxing over IP can be considered “insecure” in terms of the increased risk of hackers gaining access to the transmission, where analog fax is very safe and almost “immune” from hacking.  Why?  Well, in order for analog fax to be intercepted, you would need direct, physical access to the very line the fax is being sent across.  And even then, because the fax is sent as a series of tones and noises, any data received would be unintelligible.  Unlike digital fax that is sent over the more “open” lines of the world wide web and sent as a series of 0’s and 1’s that could easily be pieced back together to determine the original content.  As a result, many industries that have traditionally dealt in personally identifiable information have chosen to continue with, and maintain an analog fax solution.

Analog Fax is On The Way Out

Despite these indisputable benefits of faxing over analog lines and with over 46.3 Million fax machines still in service across the world, the benefits of digital transmission for voice and video far exceeded the efforts of maintaining the copper wires and analog service lines resulting in mass migration to digital IP for the majority of both business and personal telephony use.  Maintaining the analog lines for the express purpose of faxing does not make much sense for the telecom carriers – meaning the death of the copper wires as the lifeblood of the PSTN.  And as such…the death of analog faxing.  Major telecom carriers have issued notices of disconnection of the copper wires starting as early as July of this year leaving many of those in these protected industries wondering how they are going to continue to operate compliantly with the least amount of disruption in the way they do business.

analog fax

The Alternative to Analog Faxing

Unfortunately, the physical fax machines we all have sitting on our desks or in our offices are not able to work effectively over digital IP solutions, leaving you with two options: a cloud faxing solution or a POTS Line replacement device.  Cloud faxing solutions have come a long way in regards to the security of their transmissions but have the added complexity of multiple steps in sending and receiving faxes.  Not to mention throwing out all the investments you’ve made in your fax devices and internal networking.  POTS Line replacement devices, however, enable you to keep your existing infrastructure in place by connecting your analog device to the POTS device that converts the analog signals to digital with the same reliability you have become accustomed to.

The telecommunications landscape is going through significant disruption as we move from the age-old copper lines to the newer digital IP transmissions, leaving many of us wondering how we are going to maintain our business in light of these massive changes.  The answer may be easier than first thought, however, with the addition of a POTS IN A BOX®  device.  Contact us today to learn how you can easily manage the transition with little, to no, disruption in your critical business communications needs.


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