It seems to have disappeared from business cards, company contact details, and application form fields, but there was a time that fax numbers were as common as phone numbers. Hard to believe, we know. But not having a fax number for your business would have been considered a little odd as recently as a decade or two ago.
The fact is, however, that many businesses still have fax numbers. The only difference is that they don’t advertise them too commonly. If you ask most companies for a fax number, it might take the confused secretary a moment or so to gather their thoughts. Eventually, after a moment or two of shuffling through papers and opening drawers, a fax number will be found and given to you. It’s just not a common thing to ask for these days.
WHAT IS A FAX MACHINE?
Simply put, a fax machine is a desktop phone with a scanner, printer, and modem built in. The fax machine is then connected to a landline, using that phone number as a fax number.
You feed a document into the paper tray, which is then scanned and copied. After entering a recipient fax number, you next hit the send or go button. Minutes later, an exact document copy is printed at the recipient’s end. Simple.
Have you ever heard your fax transmission making screechy beepy squawky sounds? Well, this is the sound of the modem doing its thing when transmission starts.
SO, WHAT IS A FAX NUMBER?
With traditional fax machines, a fax number isn’t technically a thing in its own right. A fax number is simply a landline telephone number used for regular calls. By plugging the fax machine into that standard landline, you are using the phone number allocated to that landline as a unique fax number.
Many businesses would have two telephone numbers on two landlines. One landline would be for regular phone calls – the other would be a dedicated line as a fax number only. When a fax is sent to you, the machine’s fax tone answers the call, switching it from voice to fax.
IS A FAX NUMBER THE SAME AS A PHONE NUMBER?
Although the numbers might look similar, a phone line uses a number that performs a different function from a fax number. A regular phone number is a local number that consists of country and area codes. For example, 1(205) where ‘1’ stands for a country code and ‘205’ for Alabama. In contrast, fax numbers do not necessarily need to have a geographic area code; e.g., 1 (855) has a country code (1) but does not refer to any specific location.
TRADITIONAL FAX NUMBER PROBLEM
Some businesses would not bother with two telephone lines where one of them could provide them with a unique fax number. Instead, they would connect the fax to their regular phone line.
However, this would be problematic. When someone sends a fax to them, the fax machine rings for a few seconds before detecting the incoming fax and receiving it.
The problem is that many people, assuming a phone call was inbound, would pick up the handset before that detection was complete and say “hello.” Usually, a fax tone answers the incoming call, but with a human answering, the call is terminated, and the fax will not be received. For that reason, it was common to have a second, dedicated phone landline used only for sending and receiving faxes. In other words, a fax number.
VIRTUAL FAX NUMBER FOR UTMOST CONVENIENCE
Fax technology isn’t the same as it was decades ago. Now, you can start faxing without connecting an extra phone line to your printer. All you need is a mobile phone.
HOW TO GET AN ONLINE FAX NUMBER?
To receive your fax number, you don’t need to have a telephone line or a fax machine anymore. Wondering how? The answer is internet faxing – stay tuned to learn more about online faxing later in this blog post.
A stable internet connection and a smartphone are enough to send faxes. FaxBurner provides an online fax number for you as soon as you sign up for our application. You can choose an online fax number to be:
- a temporary 24-hour number (under our free service) or
- a permanent, dedicated number (under our premium service).
Internet faxing through the Fax Burner app is effortless, really, and begs the question of why anyone outside of doctors and lawyers would ever need to use a fax machine again. The next chapter will satisfy your curiosity.
INTERNET FAX, A NEW ERA
Over the last decade or so, there has been a popular development in faxing, commonly known as internet faxing. You can view online fax services as a distant cousin to traditional faxing, just like sending voice messages instead of calling.
Internet faxing delivers the ability to send and receive faxes without the need to maintain an actual fax machine. Companies (and even just regular individuals) might have a need to broadcast a fax message but no longer own the primary fax machine to do so. Or maybe they have a poorly maintained machine (out of ink or simply refuses to work).
That’s where internet faxing through a fax server comes into the fold. The Fax Burner app is an excellent example of how convenient, ultra-low-cost, and, quite frankly, practical internet faxing can be for your company.
Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
In short, as an online fax provider, we do most of the work for you by using internet faxing to send and receive documents through our fax server. The whole Fax Burner process is simple:
- The first step is to download our Fax Burner app (available for iOS and Android users) – or simply sign up for an account with our online service.
- Log in to the app or website anytime you need to send a fax.
- You scan a document directly from your handset, select it from the gallery/file location, and load it into the app. Alternatively, just select a file on your computer and upload it through the online service – there is no difference either way.
- Next, enter the recipient’s fax number into the app or website and send.
- You will soon receive a confirmation showing the result of the broadcast.
FaxBurner is accessible through a mobile app and our official website. Choose which device you find faxing most convenient and proceed with it.
IF MANY COMPANIES HAVE A FAX NUMBER, FAX MACHINES MUST STILL BE A THING, RIGHT?
Right. But why, you might wonder? Why, in this digital age of instant internet communication, would anyone need a fax number for a machine that takes two minutes to spit out a bit of paper? Emailing, in comparison, seems to be a much faster option.
In reality, there are lots of reasons, believe it or not, why someone would require a fax transmission over alternative methods.
WHAT IS IT USED FOR?
A traditional fax machine is used for sending and receiving exact replications of any document you wish to send to a third party.
Pre-internet, the only way to get documents to a third-party location would be by your own leg-work, courier, or post. In some parts of the world, maybe a donkey would have been deployed to transport documents in some way!
The fax machine (in its current form) came along in the sixties and revolutionized document sending, enabling instant broadcasting of contracts, agreements, hand-written directions, letters, announcements, newsletters, etc. Given that you and the recipient had a fax machine with a fax number, documents could be fired out whenever needed, quickly, and easily.
HONESTLY, PEOPLE… FAX SERVICES AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE
You might have presumed fax is an antiquated technology, consigned to the doldrums as an old-fashioned communication system that is no longer needed. Fax is so nineties, you might think; lost to a period in time belonging to CD players, polaroid photographs, and Vanilla Ice.
As internet-based technologies began to creep into modern communications, the humble fax machine was almost viewed as suffering from a terminal illness in some way. But still, clutching onto an IV drip, it soldered on. Not long now, people would think. I give fax until the end of this year, and it will be gone, they would say.
But the fax hasn’t gone anywhere and is probably here to stay for at least another decade or two, especially in its digitalized form. More than that, however, the fax machine is still the default method of communication for many businesses and industries worldwide.
Medical institutions and law offices – or any industry which must adhere to HIPPA regulations owing to the management and transmission of sensitive information – use traditional and online faxing services as a default to send confidential files. Over 60% of documentation sent or received by these two industries is broadcast through fax. Think about that – it must be millions of documents every month alone.
Given the vast contributions fax machines have made over the years, we are happy for them to stick around and hope it continues to be a feature of offices and businesses for a long time to come.
With FaxBurner, sending faxes online is fast, convenient, and affordable. Go ahead and sign up for our outstanding online fax service and get your fax number instantly!