Fax over IP (FoIP)
FoIP (Fax over Internet Protocol) is a new technology that allows faxes to be sent over an IP network rather than the traditional PSTN network thus reducing the cost per document sent. With FoIP the user experience remains largely the same, if transmitting IP fax to another IP fax users then you can still input a phone number however it is just an alias for the IP address of the IP fax server. Zetafax works in conjunction with the Zetafax FoIP Connector to achieve this and comes in two options the Zetafax FoIP Connector Standard and the Zetafax FoIP Connector SR140.
Features of Software IP faxing
•Reduced complexity, lower maintenance costs
•No boards to install/maintain, no T1/E1 lines to configure
•Works just like traditional, real-time faxing
•Delivers the same level of quality and real-time capability and confirmation you get from your fax machine
When sending a fax message the “caller” and “called” fax machines have to communicate and understand each other, the way they do this is by using the T.30 protocol, much like 2 people talk having a conversation in the same language.
Standard Faxing Diagram
As more and more businesses migrate to VoIP solutions, the infrastructure that once catered for faxing is no longer available, as VoIP doesn’t require a separate legacy network (PSTN) to carry analogue traffic.
T.38 allows fax messages to be sent over an IP network, the messages are sent to some sort of gateway (a gateway connects 2 different types of network together – in this case an IP network to a PSTN network).
It is important to remember that the T.38 protocol doesn’t replace T.30, it sits on top of it, and makes it compatible for transmission over a computer network. Once the data reaches the gateway, the message is transmitted in the T.30 protocol, which means normal fax machines are still able to communicate to the new IP fax machines/servers.
Zetafax supports both of Eicons implementation of Soft IP (H323 and SIP), and Brooktrout’s TR1034 FoIP enabled fax board, which means that businesses planning to migrate to VoIP, or were cautious of doing so due to faxing compatibility are now able to take advantage of this new technology.
H.323 – IP Telephony
•H.225 Registration, Admission, and Status
•H.225 Call Signaling
•Real-Time Transport Protocol
•Real-Time Transport Control Protocol
Terminals – real time bidirectional multimedia communications (PC or H323 Application)
•Call Control Signalling
SIP – Session Initiation Protocol (Defined by the Internet Engineers Task Force)
SIP is the newer of the 2 IP telephony technologies; it takes a top down approach for the communication between the 2 end users. SIP creates a session over the IP network and uses SIP commands to setup the call.
•Session Initiation Protocol, defined by the IETF: RCF2543
•Call control (signalling) protocol
•Creates a session over packet networks for media
•Independent of lower-layer transport protocols
•Series of ASCII/Text messages similar to HTTP
•SIP call control protocol establishes session connection
•SDP – Session Description Protocol – describes the media that will be established
SIP sessions use T.38 protocol to carry fax media - SIP & T.38 FoIP is defined in ITU-T T.38 Anex D
•User Agent - Endpoint Entity which issues/accepts SIP commands (Software or hardware phone)
•Registrar (optional but recommended) - Accepts REGISTER requests, Updates location database with the contact information for the user
•Proxy Server (optional) –Makes requests on behalf of clients, Address lookup
•Redirect Server (optional) –Accepts a SIP request, maps the SIP address of the called party to a new address and returns it to the client
Dynamically build’s a table of registered User Agents
•IP – Internet Protocol
•VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol
•FoIP – Fax over Internet Protocol
•PSTN – Public switched telephone network
•LAN – Local Area Network
•T.30 – Analogue protocol used to control and transmit faxes
•T.38 – Digital protocol that allows faxes to be passed over a data network