Why does my fax fail?

Faxes can fail. Sometimes it's for obvious reasons such as busy signals or disconnected fax numbers but there are other reasons a fax may fail and we'll go into why some fax services are not the same as others.

Fax icon with an X in itImagine a scenario in which an important business deal or patient outcome depends on delivering a mission-critical document right away. You send it using a multi-function printer (MFP), – or perhaps a SIP-based fax service, – only to discover later in the day that the transmission never went through. What happened? Perhaps more importantly, – how can you ensure that it doesn’t happen the next time something this important is at stake?

Here are some of the common reasons why faxes fail, – and what you can do to prevent failures from happening in the first place.

The receiving fax is busy: Many of us have encountered this scenario. You walk across the office to the fax machine, load a document, dial the number, and hit send. Then you hear a busy signal. You try again. And again. Eventually, you get through, but it has cost you considerable time and frustration along the way. In this case, it helps to have a more efficient means of sending faxes than a multi-function printer or standalone fax machine. A modern cloud-based fax service mitigates this problem by retrying the transmission multiple times and notifying the sender promptly in the event of repeated failures.

The connection was interrupted: Jobs can sometimes fail because the receiving party disconnects, there’s a carrier outage, or because of other connection issues. Again, it’s helpful to be working with the right tools, which can reattempt transmission and notify the sender if the problem persists. If disconnects are common, you should look to the overall quality of the connection as a possible root cause. Read further to learn more about the problem of poor connections.

There’s no fax device on the receiving end: Occasionally, you might dial the wrong number and reach a line to which you didn’t intend to send a fax. In this case, you might get a message that says “No Fax Device”, or simply “No Answer”. Verify the number and try again. A high-quality cloud-based fax platform can prevent these kinds of problems in several ways. If it provides a “phone book” of numbers to which you frequently send faxes, you can avoid a good many of these misdialed numbers. If you have the ability to fax directly from your desktop computer, copying and pasting fax numbers will likewise prevent many such errors. WestFax offers both of these capabilities, making it easy to send and receive from a list of frequent contacts, or to copy fax numbers directly from an e-mail.

The quality of the connection is poor: Finally, there are problems associated with a poor connection. A common root cause has to do with the technology used for cloud-based fax. Time-division multiplexing (TDM) is the gold standard, and it’s the one we use here at WestFax. Many of our competitors use the SIP protocol, simply because it costs them less. The difference matters.

Unfortunately, SIP-based or FOIP (Fax over IP) services simply can’t achieve the high baud rates necessary to deliver consistently reliable results. Most SIP transmissions max out at a low (9600) baud rate and don’t come with a built-in error correction mechanism (ECM). This can result in a frustrating situation where a 100-page medical record takes hours to transmit. When time is critical, that can be a show-stopper.

If you’re working with a bundled VOIP offering that includes fax, then you aren’t benefiting from TDM, and you’re a lot more likely to have problems. The WestFax network is built on technology that is tried and true. It has been in use for years, and it’s rock-solid and reliable. WestFax applies cutting-edge AI technology on top of that. We deploy algorithms that use historical calling data to determine the best carrier route, the highest possible baud rate, and the best retry algorithm to optimize reliability and ensure your fax has the highest possible chance of being delivered quickly, the first time.

When the speed and reliability of communication matters, fax delivers great results. Unless, of course, you’re using technology that cuts corners to work around underlying limitations. Quality matters, - and for cloud-based fax services, hardware-based TDM is the way to go. Low-quality SIP and FOIP fax fails more often. They can also be much slower than gold-standard TDM technology. WestFax is proud to have the best fax delivery rates in the industry. If you’re looking for higher performance from your fax systems, contact us today about porting your number, or use our free online tool to test the portability of your number here.

WestFax can service all your Secure HIPAA Compliant Fax needs from a simple email/fax portal to full API Integration with your EMR / EHR / Salesforce and more.

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