FAX FAQ's

 

What are the advantages of Plain Paper Fax?
Plain paper facsimiles are superior to their rolled thermal paper counterparts for many reasons. Problems facing rolled thermal paper are curled output, fading, expensive paper, difficult to write on, and less than average print quality.

With plain paper facsimiles, cut sheet photo copier grade paper may be used in the machine to overcome problems faced by thermal paper.

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What types of print technology is used by fax machines today?
There are five print methods used by fax machines today.

1. Thermal - Thermal print technology is still widely used today. This is the original print technology used by fax machines when they first appeared. Thermal printing is a dry process that uses the heat from a thermal printhead to darken chemically treated paper (thermal paper).Advantages - Inexpensive print technology, widely available.Disadvantages - High cost per copy, curled output, fading, poor print output quality, frequent maintenance (changing paper rolls), slow print speed, difficult to write on, non-recyclable paper.

2. Thermal Transfer (Plain Paper Printing) - Thermal transfer printing is another printing method that prints on plain paper. It is similar to thermal printing, except that it is an indirect, instead of a direct, printing process. In other words, an ink film, or ribbon, is situated between the printhead and the paper. The digital signals received during the data transmission cause the printhead to heat, which heats the film. This allows the ink on the opposite side of the film to transfer onto the paper.Advantages - Uses plain cut sheet paper, inexpensive print technology, recyclable paper.Disadvantages - High cost per copy, frequent maintenance (changing ink film), average print output quality, slow print speed.

3. Ink Jet (Plain Paper Printing) - Inkjet printing is another printing method that uses cut sheet plain paper. The printhead injects tiny droplets of ink directly onto paper. Inkjet print technology has gained popularity over the past three years mainly due to its declining cost and colour printing capability. The negative aspect to inkjet printing is that in order to achieve the optimum print output, specialized inkjet paper should be used. If used on regular cut sheet photocopier grade paper, output quality is sacrificed.Advantages - Uses plain cut sheet paper, inexpensive print technology, recyclable paper.Disadvantages - slow print speed, high cost per copy, average print quality.

4. Laser Printing - Laser printing uses a laser beam electrostatic printing method. The laser recording process uses laser light to "write" the image of a faxed document onto a photosensitive drum. The sensitized areas around the drum then attract toner to print the dark portions of the transmitted document. Laser units produce letter quality print on cut sheet, plain bond paper.Advantages - Low cost per copy, letter quality print output, uses plain cut sheet paper, low maintenance intervals, recyclable paper.Disadvantages - Expensive print technology

5. LED Printing - LED printing uses an electrostatic printing method similar to that used by laser printing. The primary difference involves the method of creating the image on the drum. LED printers use an LED (light emitting diode) array, instead of a laser beam. LED printing uses cut sheet, plain bond paper, and offers all the benefits of laser printing. In fact, when using standard or fine resolution (see question 7), the image quality of LED is equivalent to the quality offered by laser.Advantages - Low cost per copy, letter quality print output, uses plain cut sheet paper, low maintenance intervals, recyclable paper, smaller processing units (which means smaller fax unit).Disadvantages - moderate cost print technology

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What is G1, G2, G3, G4?
Groups are ITU-T (International Telecommunications Union - Telecommunications Sector) pre-defined standards for fax machine transmissions to ensure that fax machines from one manufacturer can communicate with a fax machine from another manufacturer.

G1 or Group 1 - Transmits an 8.5" X 11" page in around six minutes. It conforms to ITU-T Recommendation T.2 (Q10).
G2 or Group 2 - Transmits an 8.5" X 11" page in around three minutes. It conforms to ITU-T Recommendation T.3 (Q10).
G3 or Group 3 - The most common fax communication standard in the world today. It transmits an 8.5" X 11" page in as little as 20 seconds. It is a digital machine and includes a 9600 bps modem. Group 3 fax machines can transmit over standard phone lines. Group 3 defines a standard resolution as 203x98 dpi and Fine resolution at 203x196 dpi. Group 3 uses Modified Huffman (MH) encoding scheme.G3 bis or Group 3 bis - An update to Group 3. It includes an image resolution of 406 x 196 dpi and a transfer rate of 14,400 bps. Group 3 bis can transmit to another Group 3 bis machines at approximately twice the speed of Group 3.
G4 or Group 4 - The latest fax communication standard in the world. It defines the standard for fax transmission on a digital channel at 64Kbps. It takes only 8 seconds to transmit a 8.5" X 11" page using G4 over an ISDN line. Unfortunately, the availability of ISDN networks within United States is quite low when compared to Europe and parts of Asia.

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What is the difference between a data modem and a fax modem?
Data modems and fax modems are different in modulation methods (tones) used to communicate data. Typically the modulation schemes used for fax are synchronous half-duplex while those used for data (at least by most UNIX and PC people) are asynchronous and full-duplex.

Also, data modems, once they have negotiated a modulation scheme, tend to continue with the same one through out the session.

Fax modems switch before and after each page between a high-speed modulation scheme used to transmit the image data and a lower (300 or 2400 bps) scheme to exchange control information.

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Can my fax machine transmit data?
The answer to this question is MAYBE. There is a standard proposed by the EIA/TIA/ANSI called Binary File Transfer (BFT) that extends the fax Group III modulation and protocols for data transfer.

Since this is not a standard, few fax machines and fax software in existence today support this extended data transfer mechanism.

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What resolution are fax images?
Standard Resolution is 3.85 scan lines/mm (approx. 98 dpi vertically) with 1728 pixels across a standard scan line of 215 mm (approx. 203 dpi horizontally).
Fine Resolution is 7.7 scan lines/mm (approx. 196 dpi vertically) with the same horizontal resolution.Superfine Resolution is 15.4 scan lines/mm (approx. 392 dpi vertically) with the same horizontal resolution.
Toshiba Ultrafine Resolution is 15.4 scan lines/mm (approx. 392 dpi vertically) with a horizontal resolution of approximately 406 dpi. This is a Toshiba proprietary feature used only between Toshiba fax units with Ultrafine resolution.Two fax machines (or modems) must negotiate a common resolution, page width, and page length before sending each page.

The standard requires that all Group III fax machines support at least standard resolution and A4 size so that common ground can always be found.Extensions to the Group III standard to support these higher resolutions in a standard way have been proposed.

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Can I take a fax file and edit it?
When faxes exchange information, it is done in the form of compressed images. Since faxes are "images", your fax software must have the option to save these images to a variety of graphic formats.

The Toshiba ImageVision software allows all received faxes to save in TIFF, PCX, DCX formats. After fax images are converted into one of these formats, you have two options:
1. Edit the graphic file using a "paint" program that will accept the appropriate graphic format (unfortunately there is a wide range of file formats for image files and you may have to work to find a format that is common between your fax application and your paint program).
2. Pass the file through an OCR (Optical character recognition) program that will attempt to convert the image into ASCII (or word processing file format). The difficulty is that most OCR programs are tuned to work with 300x300dpi images and faxes are either 98x204 or 196x204; therefore, reducing the accuracy of the OCR program.

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How can I share my single phone line with voice, fax, data, etc.?
There are a number of devices on the market that will try to distinguish between an incoming voice, fax, or data call and route the call appropriately.

These fax switches attach in between your phone line and the other devices (your normal voice phone/answering machine, fax machine, data modem, etc.)All devices work on one of two general principles: listening for CNG (a tone generated by all fax machines) or voice, or listening for distinctive ring patterns (cadences).In the first case the device will answer the phone and try to guess what it should do based on what it hears.

Most devices play back a sound of a phone ringing (Pseudo Ring) so that humans dialing in think the phone is still ringing when in fact the fax switch is listening to see if the call is from a fax machine (CNG tone) or a human. If the CNG tone from the calling fax machine is heard, then the switch connects the call to the fax machine, otherwise the call is deemed to be a voice call and is connected to your phone/answering machine.

A slightly more sophisticated approach is for the fax switch to answer the phone and play a short recorded announcement. If, during the announcement the CNG tone is heard, then the call is switched to the fax machine. If no CNG tone is heard but sound is heard after the announcement, then the call is assumed to be voice and switched appropriately.

If nothing is heard then the switch either considers the call a data call and switches it to a modem or considers it a fax call from a machine that does not generate a CNG and switches it to the fax machine.The other approach relies upon an optional service available from some telcos called "SmartRing", "Distinctive Ring", "RingMaster", "Ident-a-Ring", etc. This feature allows one to have more than one phone number associated with the same phone line. Incoming calls using the different phone numbers can be differentiated by the different ringing patterns (i.e. one long ring, two short rings, three short rings, etc.)

The fax switch distributes the call based on the ring pattern (cadence) it detects.The advantage of the first approach is that one does not have to send more money to the phone company (or depend upon the availability of the "SmartRing" feature being available).

The disadvantage is that it is not always reliable (especially in the face of fax machines that do not generate CNG tones).The advantage of the second approach is that it is very reliable. The disadvantage is that it requires the availability of the "SmartRing" feature from one's telco as well as sending more money to the telco every month.Majority of current Toshiba facsimile models have this "Switch" function built into the machine.

In addition, some Toshiba machines will also support the "Smart Ring", "Distinctive Ring" service provided by the telcos.

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What legal restrictions are there on the use of facsimile devices?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal statute that was enacted on December 20, 1991, to address concerns about the growing volume of unsolicited telephone marketing calls and the increasing use of automated and prerecorded telephone calls.

The TCPA imposes restrictions on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems ("autodialers"), artificial or prerecorded voice messages, and telephone facsimile machines to send unsolicited advertisements.

The TCPA also directs the FCC to adopt regulations to protect residential telephone subscribers' privacy rights to avoid receiving telephone solicitations to which they object.The FCC adopted rules and regulations, effective December 20, 1992, implementing the TCPA.

The FCC will be monitoring complaints about automated calls and unwanted telephone solicitations to determine whether additional action to limit or to prohibit such calls would be appropriate.

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Do FCC rules ban unsolicited advertisements to telephone facsimile machines?
Yes. Effective December 20, 1992, FCC rules ban the transmission of unsolicited advertisements to telephone facsimile machines. An "unsolicited advertisement" is defined as a transmission advertising the commercial availability or quality of property, goods or services without the prior express invitation or permission of the person or entity receiving the transmission.

Unsolicited advertisements may not be transmitted by any device to a telephone facsimile machine unless the person receiving the facsimile has given prior express invitation or permission to receive it. If the sender and the recipient have an established business relationship, an invitation or permission to receive unsolicited facsimile advertisements is presumed to exist.

However, the recipient may end an established business relationship by requesting that no further unsolicited advertisements be sent, thus revoking any invitation or permission to receive further transmissions.

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What other requirements apply to the use or manufacture of telephone facsimile machines?
FCC rules require that each transmission to a telephone facsimile machine must clearly contain, in a margin at the top or bottom of each transmitted page or on the first page of the transmission,
(1) the date and time the transmission is sent
(2) the identity of the sender and
(3) the telephone number of the sender or of the sending machine.

All telephone facsimile machines manufactured on or after December 20, 1992 must have the capacity to clearly mark such identifying information on the first page or on each page of the transmission.[Note, according to the FCC January 13, 1993 Public Notice, the requirement to mark faxes with the above identifying information on applied to fax machines and not for fax cards used in computers pending reconsideration proceedings.

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Who is responsible for compliance with FCC rules on telephone facsimilie transmissions?
The person on whose behalf a facsimile transmission is sent will ultimately be held liable for violations of the TCPA or FCC rules.

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Do the TCPA and the FCC's rules preempt state law?
The TCPA specifically preempts state law where it conflicts with the technical and procedural requirements for identification of senders of telephone facsimile messages or automated artificial or pre-recorded voice messages.

The TCPA and the FCC's rules do not preempt state law which imposes more restrictive requirements or regulations for
(1) the use of facsimile machines or other electronic devices to send unsolicited advertisements,
(2) the use of autodialers,
(3) the use of artificial or prerecorded voice messages, or
(4) the making of telephone solicitations.

Thus, depending on state law, the TCPA, the FCC's rules and/or state laws could apply to your company's services. You should contact the state public utilities commission in each state where your company provides the services listed in the previous paragraph to determine what laws apply in those states.

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Where can I order a complete copy of the TCPA and the FCC's order explaining implementation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act?
Copies can be ordered from the FCC's contractor for public records duplication: Downtown Copy Center,
1990 M Street, N.W., Suite 640,
Washington, D.C. 20036
(telephone: (202) 452-1422).

You should ask for copies of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Report and Order in CC Docket No. 92-90 released by the Commission on October 16, 1992 (In the Matter of Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991).

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Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice. For best results and reliable performance, always use supplies manufactured or designated by Toshiba.

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