Needless to say, in today’s computer controlled world, Internet or online fax has become widely popular with all segments of the population. Despite this popularity, many individuals and business owners, still don’t fully understand how online fax actually works. You often hear this question being asked:
What is an email to fax gateway?
In other words, how do I use my current email system to send a fax to a traditional fax machine? What fax gateway or program do I use? While any computer with a fax modem can send a fax, most people and businesses these days, are turning to online fax service providers to handle all their faxing.
Your online provider can take your email message and send it to a fax number or machine. This is what really confuses some people, how can my email message be turned into a fax? The answer lies in our original question – these online providers are actually “email to fax gateways” which can process your email message and route it to a traditional fax machine or send it to another email address. Your message or fax is sent as an attachment in an email – most times your message/fax is in a PDF or Tiff file.
Your email to fax gateway is really this online fax provider who acts on your behalf to handle and process all your faxes or messages.
Once you sign-up to your chosen provider, you will be given a toll-free or local fax number which you can send out to all your contacts. If you have a well established company fax number and don’t want to lose this vital connection with your clients, many online fax services will let you “port” Click here your current number over to their services. Although there is usually a small fee associated with this transfer.
Now once you have picked a provider, you will also be given an online account or interface, where you log into to check your messages. Just think of this like an email account with the extra ability to send fax. Like an email account, you can check your messages/faxes anywhere and at any time, as long as you’re connected to the web.
In actual fact, these “email to fax gateway” services are really a simple form of “cloud computing” where you have outsourced your faxing to a remote third party host or server. Just as we have now turned to the web and computers to send our mail, we can do the same with our faxes by using one of these online providers.
However, unlike many email accounts which are free, acquiring a fax account or provider will cost you around $8 to $10 per month. Although there are many cheaper services available so it does pay to shop around. In addition, there are a few “paid-as-you-go” services which can be very cost-effective if your faxing requirements are very low.
Now each provider or gateway, will have slightly different conditions and rates. So you have to check how many faxes you can send each month – both inbound and outbound? You must also check what the “overage” charge will be, should you go over your monthly limit? You should also check the International rates because sometimes providers will charge more for sending these messages.
Other things worth checking, how many email addresses can you connect with your fax number? This is important if you want all your company messages sent to different workers or departments. How long will your faxes be stored online? What are the support hours and support number should things go wrong?
Regardless of the extra conditions and terms, most modern companies now have at least one online fax number. This gives both employees and clients, the means to reach the company at anytime, anywhere. In addition, these services are completely paperless and much more inexpensive than traditional services because you don’t need to install or maintain a dedicated fax phone line, nor a fax machine for that matter.
Overall, going with an “email to fax gateway” service will fully integrate all your communications with your computers and the web. This can be a very savvy business move on your part, but like all business decisions, it’s your call?