Wed, Jan 25 2006 20:20
Some old fashioned guidelines about Fax
It's funny...faxing is such old fashioned technology ...but some firms just can't live without it. For my firm, we don't use centralized fax, but for others, the fax solution that SBS provides is exactly perfect. But the one thing I've noticed about faxing... is that "it's the hardware, stupid" and while this white paper can tell you the "White paper way", Danne "the LAN Man" on the SMBTN listserve has the "Been There, Done That" way:
- Premium-grade EXTERNAL Modems are the RIGHT solution for SBS fax and dialup data applications, because they can be power-cycled when necessary – and it does become necessary for any modem to be cycled. You don’t want to have to boot the entire server to accomplish that. Plus, having meaningful modem status lights is VERY reassuring to you or anyone you ask to look at them for you over the phone and tell you what they see…
- Multitech is a top name modem and communications gear manufacturer with US-based support services.
- Multitech’s MT5600ZDX is a sure fire winner and costs about $100 wholesale. Add more for the data cable, as it isn’t included. SBS has drivers built-in for this modem; no disk needed!
- For NOW, avoid the newer, cheaper MT5656ZDX-V at the lower cost of about $80 wholesale. Needs a special driver and It has caused me nothing but fits on one SBS installation. Maybe I’ll get that sorted out when time permits, but as soon as I replaced it with the recommended model, 99% of faxing issues disappeared. And maybe I won’t even bother.
- In SBS FAX Wizard, set your MT5600ZDX to auto-answer on 1 ring and ALWAYS daisy-chain your dedicated FAX telco line TO, then THROUGH the fax modem, terminating it at a physical fax machine (set for 4+ rings), for those times when the server is in some kind of maintenance mode, rebooting or ???down???. Any time the client tells you they are dying because they can’t get any faxes, just have them slide the modem’s little black power switch OFF and the old fashioned fax machine will take over until the problem can be resolved. (Faxes remain important for my Mortgage Banking, Construction, Produce Distribution and Naval Manufacturing clients… they still live by faxes, but fewer and fewer need them printed on paper. SharePoint’s Incoming Fax viewer is S W E E T !
Just a final comment from me...If you want to just play a bit and see how faxing works and have never done it before on a SBS box, grab a US Robotic External V Everything off of Ebay and set it up. Brooktrouts are probably the premo...but the price tag for that 'premo' comes with that. The key is having an external modem that you can cycle on and off without rebooting the server. But it seems like when you do get decent hardware, you end up not cycling that much anyway.
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