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Introduction to RightFax

Chapter 2: Telephony

Advantage Insights:

  • Explain the basic options for telephony
  • Demonstrate the number of channels needed for your organization
  • Introduce the Secure FoIP Module for RightFax

What is Telephony?

Analog vs. Digital

To transmit documents via telephony or fax machines, there are two basic technologies that can support document data flow: Analog and Digital.

Analog technology, or POTS, has been around for decades and works by translating transmitted documents into electronic pulses that travel through the network and reach the device on the other end, which translates them back to the original message.

On the other side, digital technology, including SIP, can use digital T1 lines or FoIP using SIP to deliver faxes. Digital has the ability to transmit DID information so you can route faxes to individual users or groups based on the number dialed while providing greater scalability.

T.38 vs. G.711

A T.38 fax was developed to reliably send fax transmissions over standard voice lines. A T.38 uses less bandwidth, is more reliable due to redundancy, and is the gold-standard when transmitting fax over IP. This is great for organizations looking for support for data and control of redundancy, which mitigates the effects of packet loss. Packet loss results in large gaps in fax data and is prevented by switching to a lower transmission speed.

G.711 is an ITU-T recommendation for Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) of voice frequencies.  When sending a fax using G.711, digital fax data is converted to a PCM audio stream, which is then sent as G.711 Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) packets. G.711 has limitations since it was designed for pure voice and is not as reliable as sending fax as T.38.

H.323 vs. SIP

Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP, and H.323 protocol both support voice over IP and document transmissions, but each has different capabilities, which can present specific strengths or weaknesses based on your enterprise needs.

H.323 is a well-structured and well-defined protocol, with specific definitions for establishing sessions. Due to its rigid services definition that comes out of the telecom-based standards body, all H.323 implementations are generally interoperable. Although H.323 can successfully work with fax, it is not ideal due to its complexity.

SIP, an ASCII text-based standard, is highly extensible, which allows developers to expand or add to its capabilities, and it supports rich-media communications, as well as data transfer. SIP’s text format, however, can result in large messages that aren’t as suitable for networks that may have bandwidth, delay and processing issues.

How many Channels do you need?

RightFax deployments require careful planning to ensure the right capacity is available at any given time for fax transmissions. Understanding your fax volume is an important part of managing a RightFax implementation that utilizes on-premises telephony in order to properly plan for capacity requirements. Insufficient capacity leads to outbound fax delivery delays and inbound fax transmission busy signals.

A best practice of many installations is to expand the availability and use of RightFax across the entire organization: RightFax may have been implemented to solve a specific business problem or make a fax-dependent workflow more efficient, but many organizations expand RightFax to other lines of business, departments and to all employees to make faxing more efficient across the entire organization, which affects fax volumes. For example, organizations with a large fleet of MFPs can use a single RightFax server to easily transmit documents from multiple MFPs rather than maintaining individual phone lines for each individual MFP.

As fax volumes increase, additional payload is added to existing RightFax channels and available capacity – and understanding this impact helps avoid channel saturation, transmission delays or missed faxes that are critical to your business. Another key area in channel capacity and capacity planning is determining the highest level of faxing at any given time – including planning for spikes and highest peaks in fax volume.  The uppermost level of faxing may occur only during certain times of the year (seasonal volume trends), certain times of the month (end of month invoices), or daily (broadcast faxing).

RightFax provides instant and unlimited scalability for any fax capacity requirements. Advantage has a dedicated team to assist your needs for capacity concerns, capacity planning, and additional capacity purchases and expenses, RightFax can scale with your business, providing the capacity where and when you need it.

Gateways vs. Cards vs. Plugs in MFPs

In RightFax, there are two different ways for the fax server to talk to the PSTN. First, you can have a physical service which has a physical fax card in it which connects to either your PRI or phone lines and allows you to go from digital documents to connecting to your phone system. Second, you can use the SIP protocol to communicate from RightFax to your gateways. Your gateways can be configured with PRIs or Analog, those are your connections out to the PSTN.

Typically, people have gone to gateways when they wanted to use virtual machines to run RightFax since you can’t use a physical card in a virtual machine.

Secure FoIP

Organizations adopting an IP telephony environment may further streamline their messaging infrastructure and enhance the benefits of their existing fax server by enabling it to support FoIP.

When utilizing Fax over IP (FoIP), RightFax Secure FoIP channels secure and encrypt fax traffic within the firewall. This channel option introduces support for TLS over SIP, where TLS provides endpoint authentication by using mutual or two-way authentication on a hop-by-hop basis.

RightFax organizations can upgrade their existing RightFax FoIP channels to RightFax Secure FoIP channels. Depending on their telephony infrastructure and security requirements, new RightFax customers have many channel options, including traditional hardware-based fax boards, RightFax FoIP channels and RightFax Secure FoIP channels.

Secure SIP Channels

RightFax Secure SIP Channels is an enhanced FOIP channel that will support TLS 1.2 encryption of your faxes in motion between your RightFax server and your gateway (Cisco, Avaya, Sonus, Dialogic).

 

Plug & Play Functionality

This “plug-and-play” module can be integrated within minutes by connecting via Fax over IP (FoIP) with SIP Trunk.

 

TLS Support

New channel option introduces support for TLS 1.2 over SIP. TLS provides endpoint authentication by using mutual or two-way authentication on a hop-by-hop basis.

 

Improved Security

Secure SIP channels will encrypt your faxes in motion between your RightFax server and your gateway (Cisco, Avaya, Sonus, Dialogic).

Conclusion

When it comes to implementing your preferred telephony solution, the market leading RightFax fax server is the proven choice for providing flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solutions. Known for integrations, reliability, and manageability, RightFax provides built-in telephony options, making it easy to deploy, set up, and manage software or combination telephony solutions depending on an organization’s needs. Organizations looking to consolidate resources, reduce costs and reap all the benefits of using their IP infrastructure for faxing will benefit from scalability and flexibility of RightFax as their document delivery engine.

In our next chapter, we’ll take a look at the workflow for receiving a fax and how you can route faxes while maintaining security and compliance.

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