Lesson 3: Sharing Fax Modems

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Just like printers, fax modems can be shared to a network. This lesson focuses on sharing a fax modem.

After this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Share a fax modem.
  • Configure a fax modem for optimum performance.

Estimated lesson time: 10 minutes

Fax Modem Overview

The shared fax server does for fax communication what a shared printer does for printing: it makes fax capabilities available to all users on the network, so that they do not have to leave their desks in order to send a fax. The ability to send a fax from the network can save time and frustration, because users do not have to contend with the uncertainties of a stand-alone fax machine.

A good fax-server service allows an administrator to monitor incoming faxes and route them to the intended recipient, while discarding others, such as advertisements.

Some network fax utilities allow users to link their e-mail addresses to a fax number. This will automatically route faxes to the intended recipient.

Routing Faxes

Faxes arrive at a fax machine with no electronic addressing information; therefore, some thought needs to be given to how they will be routed. Several methods for routing faxes exist. The following list describes some of the available options:

  • Faxes can be routed manually—that is, hand-carried to the intended recipient.
  • Optical character recognition (OCR) software converts the cover sheet to text and searches for the name of the recipient of the fax.
  • Intelligent character recognition (ICR) software converts the cover sheet to text and searches for the name of the recipient of the fax. ICR is slower, but more powerful than OCR.
  • T.30 subaddressing is a modified version of the T.30 fax protocol that allows the fax sender to use an extension number that is used to route the fax.
  • Novell Embedded Systems Technology (NEST) is similar to T.30 subaddressing. The fax sender adds an extension phone number when dialing the fax. The extension can be used to route the fax.
  • Bar-code routing allows the fax sender to put a bar code on the cover sheet identifying the recipient of the fax.
  • Transmission station identification (TSI) routing uses the number of the sender's fax machine to route the fax. The drawback is that all faxes from a certain machine go to the same person.
  • Received fax-line routing uses multiple fax lines and modems. All faxes that are received on a given fax line are routed to a particular user or group.
  • Direct Inward Dialing (DID) uses a special telephone line (trunk line), provided by the telephone company, which is associated with multiple telephone numbers. When any of these numbers is dialed, the call comes in on the same DID trunk. Before the ring signal is sent, the telephone company sends a special signal down the line, identifying which of the numbers was dialed. In this way, calls can be routed to different numbers, and incoming calls can be routed to the correct person.

Fax-Server Enhancements

The administrator can also purchase software to maximize the fax server. For example, Optus Software's FACSys product provides a fax gateway for Windows NT. This software allows users to send faxes from word-processing packages, databases, spreadsheets, e-mail, and almost any other application. It also provides a dedicated fax server that gives all network users access to the fax server.

FACSys provides both Windows-based and MS-DOS-based interfaces for client computers. It supports HP PCL (Hewlett-Packard Printer Control Language), PCL5, and PostScript with full text, fonts, and graphics. It also provides fully automatic routing of incoming faxes and provides comprehensive activity and status reports. It is compatible with GammaFax, Intel SatisFAXtion, Hayes, JTFax, and other leading fax cards.

FACSys provides complete diagnostics, detailed error reporting, and sophisticated accounting features to make fax servers easy to administer.

Lesson Checkup

  1. How does a fax server compare with a shared printer? What are the roles of each?
  2. Define the function of a fax server.
  3. Describe three enhancements that can be added to a fax server.


Lesson Summary

  • A fax server can provide all users on a network with the capability of sending and receiving faxes.
  • With a centralized fax service, an administrator can monitor all incoming faxes and route them appropriately.
  • Several manufacturers offer software that can be used to enhance the operation of a fax server.

MCSE Training Kit Networking Essentials Plus 1999
MCSE Training Kit: Networking Essentials Plus, Third Edition (IT Professional)
ISBN: 157231902X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 106

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