Fax Server Options

Most of my clients have a fax machine in their office. It requires a dedicated analog (not digital!) phone line, but this is usually shared with the ADSL internet connection. For the most part, this setup works very reliably.

It starts to fall apart when you have an office that receives several hundred pages per day. If they have a legal requirement to keep records of everything, this gets even harder.

There are some options.

Fax Service in Small Business Server

I've never set up the fax service in Small Business Server but have looked into it.

The main concern is the actual hardware. I had one client who was using the fax service in Small Business Server 2003. They had a cheap USB modem and receiving faxes was very unreliable. Their response? "It has always worked before". Thankfully they are no longer a client.

I did some research and the following modems are recommended for use in a fax server:

What if I'm running SBS under Hyper-V?

The actual hardware will not be visible to a Hyper-V guest OS. Therefore you will need to look into Ethernet to Serial converters... Be careful about reliability, can you guarantee it? If clients start getting dropped faxes here and there, they will blame you for suggesting that it will work.

There is one by Fabulatech, but I've heard that it can be flakey.

There's also the Moxa NPort series, with local sales and support offered through TriStar Automation.

Fax Gateway Service

Depending on volume, a fax to email gateway service may be a more sensible option. There's no hardware investment required, no line rental, and availability is someone else's problem.

The following are some Australian fax gateway providers that have been recommended to me:

I've used utbox for very low volume faxing, it seems to work well.