Monday, August 07, 2006

The Fax of life .... Fax over ADSL

I've been looking into getting a Fax setup at home, I know what you're thinking why? The truth of it is here in Thailand faxing is still very popular. You cannot assume that any of your business partners have an internet connection (other than dialup) due to the low penetration of broadband outside of Bangkok, so....?

Normally you would say get a Fax modem and use some sort of fax software.

Problem: It took almost 1 year to get one telephone line put into the house, I can't afford to wait that long for a second analog line.

Other options include the online services such as MBox, which looks good but I would still like to find a solution.

Well I think I have two options:

  1. A pure old school hardware solution: Andy Abramson over at VoIP Watch put me onto this with his posting which led me to the Engadget page for the Sharp Broadband fax machine. The UX-B800SE provides the usual fax machine features that you would expect from an analog machine, it also has an Ethernet connection and hosts the same software that you would normally put on your PC hosting a fax machine. Something like this is long overdue. If the cube is the Fidel Castro of office furniture then the fax machine is definitely the Fidel Castro of office machines.....Let's start the revolution
  2. A SoftPBX with fax options: I have talked about Asterisk before now it has been joined by SIPCat. You can find some more information about it on Om and Andy, but I went and had a look. It looks like a pretty good alternative in the new target for disruptive technology in a tried and tested arena. SIPCat has a fax server as standard, only last week while I was searching around for real options I stumbled upon the AsterFax plugin for Asterisk. At some point in the near future I am going to do a parallel run of both and do a compare and contrast.
The test for both will be the platform of install. I have an old Dell laptop that is beyond upgrade due to the SDRAM on board. I have found a likely light Linux candidate; it would be interesting to see if I can get either of these products to install on it.

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