Fax Machine And Single Phone Line Question

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Robert11, May 6, 2009.

  1. Robert11

    Robert11 Guest

    Hello,

    Will be purchasing a stand-alone fax machine.
    Probably one of the very inexpensive ones for very light usage.
    Never had one before.

    Have a single phone line coming into house.
    Really don't want to spend for a second, dedicated, line.

    If the fax machine is hooked up to our single line, is it smart enough
    to recognize when a fax is coming in and print it out, and disregard our
    regular phone calls ?

    Is this true for just about all units ?

    Any gotchas or caveats to using a single line for ?

    Thanks again,
    Bob
     
    Robert11, May 6, 2009
    #1
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  2. Robert11

    Mike Easter Guest

    Robert11 wrote:
    > Hello,


    Hello, I recall our previous conversation here.

    > Will be purchasing a stand-alone fax machine.
    > Probably one of the very inexpensive ones for very light usage.
    > Never had one before.


    I have one. It is a Brother heat stylus type. These days you can buy an
    inkjet plainpaper for $30.

    > Have a single phone line coming into house.
    > Really don't want to spend for a second, dedicated, line.


    Indeed. I can understand that.

    > If the fax machine is hooked up to our single line, is it smart enough
    > to recognize when a fax is coming in and print it out, and disregard our
    > regular phone calls ?


    The fax machine is smart enough to recognize incoming fax tones and 'turn
    itself on' to print the fax, but there has to be a logical sequence in
    place about "Who/What is going to pick up the 'phone - ie go offhook?"
    Offhook (the phone is picked up) is the condition the fax machine needs to
    hear the incoming tones.

    The fax machine can't hear the tones (of which I speak, 1100 CNG) until
    something causes the phone to go off hook. The fax machine can
    'hear'/tell the phone is ringing, but it doesn't know whether it should
    pick up/ go off hook/ or not because it doesn't know if there are incoming
    fax tones. In that regard, you might consider the fax machine to be just
    like you and your ears. You don't know if an incoming ringing is a
    ringing for a voice or a fax call. When you pick up the 'phone, you hear
    the incoming fax tones.

    If you have a fax machine on the line (with you), when you hear the fax
    tones, the fax machine hears the fax tones. When it hears those tones, it
    begins to receive. Then you hang up and let the fax machine handle the
    rest.

    > Is this true for just about all units ?


    You can probably buy a service for your line that causes a distinctive
    ring, but it is usually satisfactory to 'cohabit' a single line with a
    person, a regular voice answering machine which is attached to the fax
    machine, and the proper configuration of the fax machine. If the person
    hears incoming fax tones, he waits a second or so for the fax machine to
    start receiving, if the fax machine hears the incoming fax tones after the
    answering machine answers, it takes the fax and knocks the answering
    machine off.

    > Any gotchas or caveats to using a single line for ?


    You can't just set the fax machine to answer all the calls.




    --
    Mike Easter
     
    Mike Easter, May 6, 2009
    #2
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  3. Robert11

    VanguardLH Guest

    Robert11 wrote:

    > Hello,
    >
    > Will be purchasing a stand-alone fax machine.
    > Probably one of the very inexpensive ones for very light usage.
    > Never had one before.
    >
    > Have a single phone line coming into house.
    > Really don't want to spend for a second, dedicated, line.
    >
    > If the fax machine is hooked up to our single line, is it smart enough
    > to recognize when a fax is coming in and print it out, and disregard our
    > regular phone calls ?
    >
    > Is this true for just about all units ?
    >
    > Any gotchas or caveats to using a single line for ?
    >
    > Thanks again,
    > Bob


    A fax switch sits before your fax machine and answering machine or
    telephone. It picks up incoming calls and listens for the fax tones.
    If it hears the fax tones, it directs the call to the fax machine. If
    there are no tones, it directs the call to either the answering machine
    or a telephone.

    What your human caller will hear are the regular telco ring tone during
    the first one or two rings before the fax switch picks up the call.
    Then after the fax switch picks up the call and is listening for fax
    tones, the caller will hear slight different ring tones because those
    are generated by the fax switch. The telco has actually completed the
    call because the fax switch answered the call. Usually it takes the
    time for 2 more ring tones (generated by the fax switch) for the fax
    switch to realize it isn't a fax call and redirects the call to the
    telephone/answering machine port. If it goes to an answering machine,
    it could be yet another 2 to 4 rings before the answering machine picks
    up the call. So, in all, your caller would hear 2 regular ring tones
    (from the telco) and up to 6 rings (by the fax switch) before the
    answering machine picked up the call. That's 8 rings and your caller
    might hang up before that. Often they won't wait for more than 4 rings.
    You could, of course, pickup the call anytime after the fax switch
    already picked it up and was ringing the phone/answering machine port.
    Also, callers are sometimes leery when they hear a change in the ring
    tones since it makes it sound to them that they have been transferred.

    I used a fax switch sometime over a decade ago on a single phone line
    that was shared between regular calls, a fax modem in my computer, and
    dial-up access to the Internet. It worked but some callers didn't like
    the feel of being transferred or having to wait for something like 8
    rings before the answering machine picked up. I reduced the answering
    machine to pickup after just 2 rings so the max was 6 rings to the
    caller (since I could still pickup the answering machine's phone while
    its outgoing message was in progress or while the caller was leaving a
    message); however, many callers hang up after 4 rings knowing that an
    answering machine is likely to pickup the call and they're uninterested
    in leaving a message.

    Because I was using dial-up back then, my line would be busy to a caller
    while connected to my ISP. It would also be busy while receiving a fax
    as it would if I were already participating in a prior phone call. Call
    Busy is a monthly service for which you pay monthly (it is a service
    added to your phone bill). However, many telcos provide different
    service called Forward On Busy. This is a one-time charge, like around
    $6, with no recurring charges. It doesn't have the extra features of
    generating an interrupt tone during a call to let you know someone is
    trying to call you, or letting you select to which phone number the
    incoming call gets redirected, or to provide an electronic answering
    machine service. Forward On Busy has just one purpose: transfer
    incoming calls to another phone number if your line is busy. The
    transfer is immediate and the caller never knows they were transferred.
    When you subscribe to this service, you pick the alternate phone number
    to which the calls get transferred. You can change it but you have to
    contact your telco to get them to change the alternate number in their
    database and it takes several days, maybe a week, before the change is
    effected. You could pick your work phone or cell phone as the alternate
    number. Both usually have answering service so you can either get the
    call at those other numbers or let your callers leave a message there.

    If you are using VOIP (Voice Over IP) phone service, often promoted by
    your broadband ISP, there is a good chance that faxing will not work
    over VOIP. Faxing was designed to work over POTS (Plain Old Telephone
    System). I haven't bothered to keep up with what features are available
    in fax machines (see below on why I don't need any fax hardware). It is
    possible the newer fax machines have a built-in fax switch function.
    However, I suspect the super-cheap fax machines are sparse on features
    so it may not have a built-in fax switch. By the time you buy a cheap
    fax machine along with the cost for a fax switch, you might have as well
    as gotten a better fax machine that did have the built-in fax switch.

    I haven't used hardware-based faxing for many years. Although I still
    have a data/fax modem in my old computer, I don't use it for faxing
    anymore (so I wouldn't miss it if gone or dead). Almost everyone that
    wants a fax also has e-mail so I can attach the document to an e-mail.
    Faxing is a dinosaur compared to e-mailing. For those other parties
    that claim that they need an original copy of the document and must
    receive it by fax, they are NOT getting the original copy but instead a
    copy just like when I attach it to an e-mail. If the document is too
    huge to send via e-mail due to anti-abuse/spam quotas by the e-mail
    provider, faxing is still not preferred because of the extended time to
    transmit the huge document with the incumbent loss of data that is not
    rare during faxing and possibly a disconnected call which requires
    resending the entire document via fax. Instead save the document in
    online storage (there are lots of free services) and put a link to it in
    an e-mail. So far, the only a-hole that still demands that I use faxing
    to communicate with them is the IRS or some branch of the government but
    then they are well known to be dinosaurs regarding technology. For when
    I cannot get around using e-mail and must use a fax, I use software-
    based fax services and which are free. eFax lets you receive faxes for
    free. You have to pay them to send faxes but receiving them is free.
    The free service doesn't let you pick a local fax number so it is
    possible that your fax senders will have to make a long-distance phone
    call to reach your fax number. I consider that part of my push and
    penalty to the fax sender for using faxing rather than e-mailing.
    Besides, most of my faxing has been interstate so a local fax number to
    me would still be a long-distance call to the fax sender. www.K7.net
    also provides a free receive-only fax service but freebie accounts
    expire after a month of being idle. You must send yourself a keep-alive
    fax before the 1-month expiration to retain an existing account and the
    fax number you got assigned. That's why I stayed with eFax since
    freebie accounts do not expire (but their TOS does say they allowed to
    send you spam faxes [via e-mail] but I've gotten maybe 3 in a year). So
    without any hardware on my end, I can receive faxes for free with the
    convenience of them being delivered as e-mails. To send faxes for free,
    I use FaxZero.com. FaxZero lets you send up to a 3-page fax but they
    add a cover sheet that promotes their service. So if you are sensitive
    to their cover page making your business not look professional then
    instead use a data/fax modem in your computer or fax machine when you
    must send those few outbound faxes. There is a limit of two 3-page
    faxes per day from the same IP address when using FaxZero but then I
    maybe have to send all of 2 faxes in an entire year. With eFax Free, I
    receive faxes. With FaxZero, I can send faxes. And I don't need any
    fax hardware plus my phone line is never busy with faxing.
     
    VanguardLH, May 6, 2009
    #3
  4. Robert11

    Robert11 Guest

    From OP: Re: Fax Machine And Single Phone Line Question

    Hi,

    Just a quick thanks for all the clear and really good info.

    Regards,
    Bob

    --------------------
    "Robert11" <> wrote in message
    news:gtrsak$sr8$...
    > Hello,
    >
    > Will be purchasing a stand-alone fax machine.
    > Probably one of the very inexpensive ones for very light usage.
    > Never had one before.
    >
    > Have a single phone line coming into house.
    > Really don't want to spend for a second, dedicated, line.
    >
    > If the fax machine is hooked up to our single line, is it smart enough
    > to recognize when a fax is coming in and print it out, and disregard our
    > regular phone calls ?
    >
    > Is this true for just about all units ?
    >
    > Any gotchas or caveats to using a single line for ?
    >
    > Thanks again,
    > Bob
    >
     
    Robert11, May 8, 2009
    #4
  5. Robert11

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <gts6s1$r9m$> VanguardLH <>
    was claimed to have wrote:

    >A fax switch sits before your fax machine and answering machine or
    >telephone. It picks up incoming calls and listens for the fax tones.
    >If it hears the fax tones, it directs the call to the fax machine. If
    >there are no tones, it directs the call to either the answering machine
    >or a telephone.


    Another gotcha here that I didn't see mentioned is that this type of
    system blocks voicemail, you'll need a physical answering machine for
    this to work.
     
    DevilsPGD, May 8, 2009
    #5
  6. Robert11

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <gu1st4$q1p$> VanguardLH <>
    was claimed to have wrote:

    >DevilsPGD wrote:
    >
    >> In message <gts6s1$r9m$> VanguardLH <>
    >> was claimed to have wrote:
    >>
    >>>A fax switch sits before your fax machine and answering machine or
    >>>telephone. It picks up incoming calls and listens for the fax tones.
    >>>If it hears the fax tones, it directs the call to the fax machine. If
    >>>there are no tones, it directs the call to either the answering machine
    >>>or a telephone.

    >>
    >> Another gotcha here that I didn't see mentioned is that this type of
    >> system blocks voicemail, you'll need a physical answering machine for
    >> this to work.

    >
    >Depends on what you mean by voicemail. If by voicemail you mean a
    >service provided by your telco then, yes, that voicemail won't activate.


    Yes, that's typically what voicemail means.

    >The fax switch answers the call, usually within 2 rings, so your telco
    >sees the call was successfully connected which means their voicemail
    >service won't kick in. If by voicemail you mean something you operate
    >on your end which is typical of many fax/voice programs that utilitize a
    >data/fax modem then that voicemail will still work.


    That's normally called a "physical answering machine"

    Now admittedly there may be some regional differences with the
    definitions of the words, although "voicemail" is a fairly generic term,
    in my area it's definitely a service, not a physical box you buy.

    >Any fax machine (standalone or data/fax modem) is going to pickup the
    >phone call to check for tones. I can't see how its use would never
    >interfere with a voicemail service at the telco. The fax machine, fax
    >switch, or data/fax modem is going to pickup the call so the telco sees
    >that the call was completed, and that means the telco's voicemail
    >service will never kick in. You'll need to handle the voicemail
    >function at your end.


    And that's potentially a deal breaker, so it's important to mention
    right up front, since telco driven voicemail can do a heck of a lot more
    then a physical answering machine. Being able to receive messages while
    the line is busy is a big one, automatic conversion to text or email is
    important to others (me)

    It's also worth noting that using a fax intercept locally breaks call
    forwarding, so anyone who forwards their home phone to their mobile
    while they're out will no longer have that option.
     
    DevilsPGD, May 11, 2009
    #6
  7. Robert11

    VanguardLH Guest

    DevilsPGD wrote:

    > VanguardLH wrote:
    >>
    >>DevilsPGD wrote:
    >>>
    >>> Another gotcha here that I didn't see mentioned is that this type of
    >>> system blocks voicemail, you'll need a physical answering machine for
    >>> this to work.

    >>
    >>Depends on what you mean by voicemail. If by voicemail you mean a
    >>service provided by your telco then, yes, that voicemail won't activate.

    >
    > Yes, that's typically what voicemail means.


    Voicemail simply refers to a service, not who provides it. I really
    doubt that your employer's voicemail system has anything to do with the
    telco that they use unless it's a pretty small company. Once they
    decide to have their own PBX to handle all the phone numbers and
    extensions, they'll also have their own voicemail system.

    >>If by voicemail you mean something you operate
    >>on your end which is typical of many fax/voice programs that utilitize a
    >>data/fax modem then that voicemail will still work.

    >
    > That's normally called a "physical answering machine"


    No, that's called the voicemail function in your voice/data/fax
    software. Here's an example of voicemail + fax software:

    http://www.01com.com/products_v10_main.php?navid=v10

    Some voice/data/fax modems used to come with Smith Micro's Hotfax
    MessengeCenter (I forgot to whom they sold it to):

    http://www.smithmicro.com/default.tpl?group=news_full&id1=27&id2=13

    >>Any fax machine (standalone or data/fax modem) is going to pickup the
    >>phone call to check for tones. I can't see how its use would never
    >>interfere with a voicemail service at the telco. The fax machine, fax
    >>switch, or data/fax modem is going to pickup the call so the telco sees
    >>that the call was completed, and that means the telco's voicemail
    >>service will never kick in. You'll need to handle the voicemail
    >>function at your end.

    >
    > And that's potentially a deal breaker, so it's important to mention
    > right up front, since telco driven voicemail can do a heck of a lot more
    > then a physical answering machine. Being able to receive messages while
    > the line is busy is a big one, automatic conversion to text or email is
    > important to others (me)
    >
    > It's also worth noting that using a fax intercept locally breaks call
    > forwarding, so anyone who forwards their home phone to their mobile
    > while they're out will no longer have that option.


    We don't know what the OP wants for their telco service. None of the
    features you mentioned are important to me (and so I don't waste my
    money paying for them). Your wants and my wants are irrelevant to the
    OP. Until the OP decides to return and exhibit a presence here again,
    everything we propose is conjecture. The OP may go with a severely
    cheap fax machine that does nothing but what a 20-year old unit can do.
    He might decide to not go with a separate external device and use an
    internal data/fax/voicemail modem. He may decide to not bother with any
    physical fax devices on his end and use the free solutions that I
    mentioned or go with the online fax services for a fee and still not
    have to bother figuring out what he needs to change on his end.

    My guess is the OP is gone and never to return to this discussion.
     
    VanguardLH, May 11, 2009
    #7
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