Faxing from a VoIP phone like Skype, Vonage, Magic Jack, or Google Voice is impossible: due to the nature of the communication software used by VoIP technologies, it is impossible for fax data to be accurately transmitted over a VoIP connection.
Yes, services like Skype and Google Voice are popular alternatives to traditional phone lines. However, there’s one major thing they lack, and that’s the ability to send a real fax through those phone lines. That’s one of the few advantages a traditional phone line has over VoIP networks.
Just because you can’t fax from your VoIP phone doesn’t meant that faxing is impossible for you. There are a few alternatives you can use, including:
- Online faxing
- Using a fax machine
- Using a computer with fax software installed attached to an active landline phone line
- Start using a local retail outlet – like an office center – with a fax machine
Why You Can’t Use VoIP Phones to Send Fax Data
There’s one simple reason why you can’t use VoIP phones to send fax data: they’re setup to send and receive audio signals made by human voices.
They’re not setup to receive the audio signals transmitted by fax machines. A fax machine’s job is to take the information you provide – the document – and transform that information into a language that can be sent over a phone line – audio signals.
Unfortunately, those audio signals come in the form of high pitched squeaks and beeping sounds. VoIP services cannot accurately relay this audio data over the internet.
That’s the basic explanation of why you can’t use VoIP to send fax data. It gets a little more technical than that, but it’s outside the scope of our article.
Alternative #1: Online Faxing
Online faxing is the easiest and most popular way to fax in this day and age.
With online faxing, you don’t need a fax machine or phone line at all: all you need is an internet connection. Basically, you’re paying an electronic fax provider to rent their fax machine – which is often a virtual fax machine on a server.
Your faxes are received by the recipient’s fax machine as a normal fax. For all intents and purposes, online faxing sends out a real fax. It’s indistinguishable from a fax sent through a traditional phone line.
Alternative #2: Fax Machine (or Fax Software) with a Landline Phone Line
You’ll need an active landline phone line for this alternative method.
Basically, this alternative involves connecting an active phone line to either your fax machine, or to your computer that is pretending to be a fax machine.
Your computer can “pretend” to be a fax machine using special faxing software.
Windows actually has this software built-in and pre-installed on your system already. That software is called Windows Fax and Scan. If you type “Fax” into the Windows Search Bar, then that utility will pop up.
Apple computers cannot fax. Ever since Mac OS X 10.7, faxing from Apple computers is impossible.
Linux distributions have their own faxing software. It’s typically open source and not updated as frequently, but it still provides an adequate job of turning your computer into a fax machine.
Meanwhile, if you already own a fax machine, then your best option is to connect an active phone line to that fax machine to enjoy faxing over that machine.
In either of these solutions, you’re turning something you own (a fax machine or a computer) into something that can send and receive faxes. If you’re doing this over your computer, then it’s kinda like you’re faxing from VoIP – especially if your VoIP program like Skype is already on your computer.
Visit a Local Retail Outlet
It’s not the most glamorous way to send a fax, but it’s convenient and cheap.
Visit a local retail outlet – like a business center – to handle all your email faxing needs from there.
Sure, it’s nowhere close to faxing from a VoIP phone, but it’s still an effective way to get your fax through.
Unfortunately, there’s no current way to send a fax through a VoIP phone, through VoIP systems, or down a VoIP phone line. Some people have been able to successfully send a fax through VoIP, although no method has been found to be reliable and accurate.