In a previous post we discussed about Fax support not being dead on IP systems and we see that Asterisk has now added improved fax working to it’s portolio of solutions with the addition of Fax for Asterisk software.
Users can download software from Digium’s online store. It is free for installations requiring only one fax session at a time, while multiple session licence is available for extra cost per simultaneous channel. The software allows faxing to and from the PSTN and IP telephony networks.
If the Asterisk IP PBX in question uses analogue PSTN line cards, the software sends faxes through those. It supports V.17, V.27 and V.29 fax modems, and operates at speeds of up to 14.4 Kbps. If the IP PBX installation uses an IP telephony service, the software will then use the T.38 protocol (if the provider supports it). Users send and receive faxes in the form of TIFF image files.
Fax is one of those technologies that will not go away so IP PBX vendors are being pushed by market forces to produce a solution and it is good to see Digium respond.
Our regular readers will know one of our pet interests is the way mobile carriers react to VoIP applications, sometimes they seem to be happy and on other occasions do what they can to stop their customers from using them.
T-Mobile in Germany have reacted to Skype for i-Phone and Blackberry by stating they will not allow their customers to use it. T-Mobile spokesperson Alexander von Schmettow stated:
“It is clearly stated in our customer contracts that such services may not be used. There are two reasons for this – because the high level of traffic would hinder our network performance, and because if the Skype programme didn’t work properly, customers would make us responsible for it.”
Tech-savvy users should apparently not even consider figuring out a work-around, because T-Mobile will immediately “cut users off”.
“Those who violate their contracts can expect to have them cancelled. It’s the same with any contract. If you rent a no-pets apartment and expect no one to notice your little dog, you can’t be surprised when your landlord comes knocking.”
Skype have reacted to the news in a post on the company’s blog:
“This is a real shame: many other operators around the world know very well that people want to use innovative Internet applications, like Skype, and that’s the reason they pay their ISP to access the Internet in the first place. On top of that, there is no technical justification for this arbitrary blocking of Skype, and it represents a barrier to online business put in place by a private company just because they can, because they control access to the Internet.”
We believe that T-Mobile can stop users accessing Skype via mobile data but not via WiFi access (although it can block Skype traffic on it’s own WiFi Hotspots.
Usually carriers are subtle about such services and will ask a manufacurer to block it in the handset or attempt to black it on the network but I guess we have to admire T-Mobile for making their position clear even though you may not agree with their stance
We hear this term used a lot and from our experience it is far from dead, we sell Unified messaging solutions that combine Voicemail, email and Fax and we are still continually surprised by the number of users who still opt for the fax option.
With the march of VoIP solutions we see a big problem as VoIP networks were never really designed to carry Fax and so the old basic form of communications struggles on modern networks. For many businesses this is a real issue as certain types of companies will only accept fax communication and not email as a legal document.
We saw a really interesting article over on the FierceVoIP website Fax is Dead…Long Live FoIP! – FierceVoIP. by Marc Robins SIP Forum Managing Director entitles Fax is Dead…Long Live FoIP and in the article he discusses the challenges faced by VoIP networks and what the SIP forum is doing to try and sort this problem out – have a look as it makes interesting reading.