5 Alternatives to the Traditional Fax Machine

Despite the undeniable migration towards cloud-based communication technologies, many organizations still cling ferociously to their fax machine. Businesses (especially those in older industries such as law firms and medical labs) see fax machines as efficient, secure, and reliable equipment that helps them get a document from point to point.

Without question, fax machines indeed enabled fast communication. But in the 21st century, why keep your bulky, noisy, and painfully-slow fax machine when there are already far better options available today?

Below, we take a look at some of the best alternative services to the traditional fax machine and how they can best serve your faxing needs.

Vonage Paperless Fax

Vonage offers an affordable fax solution for businesses. For only $14.99 per user/per month, users can send and receive faxes from their desktop or mobile (and eliminate the hassle of wasting paper, purchasing toner, or maintaining a clunky fax machine in the office).

This Paperless Fax features also offers convenience to employers and their staff, as each user can have individual fax numbers, meaning there’s no need to stand in line to fax something. Incoming faxes are also sent straight to the recipient’s email, making it easier to manage important documents from a single inbox.

RingCentral Fax

Another excellent internet faxing solution is RingCentral Fax. Bridging traditional faxing and modern, cost-effective internet communications, RingCentral Fax lets businesses send and receive faxes as emails from anywhere and from any internet-connected device. You can even choose to keep your existing number or get a new one.

The best thing about RingCentral Fax is that it moves beyond basic fax and comes with an array of great features. These include SMS fax alerts, online accounts, fax logs, secure incoming and outgoing faxes, and cloud storage integrations with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box, among others.

Businesses can also choose from four plans:

  • Fax 500 – starts at $7.99 per user/per month, with free 500 pages included monthly
  • Fax 1000 – starts at $12.99 per user/per month, with free 1000 pages included monthly
  • Fax 2500- starts $49.99 per user/ per month, with free 2500 pages included monthly
  • Fax Unlimited – starts at $39.9 per user/per month, with unlimited pages

VirtualPBX Online Fax

If you’re subscribed to a VirtualPBX plan, then you no longer have to worry about keeping bulky physical equipment because every VirtualPBX plan already has online fax capability. You can conveniently send and receive faxes from your account at no extra cost. Most plans let you send 100 fax pages every month at no cost (and only charges 5.9 cents for excess pages). Nevertheless, you can also customize it to increase your faxing capabilities.

Nextiva vFAX

Another excellent online faxing solution is Nextiva vFAX. Like other virtual faxing options, Nextiva lets users send and receive faxes from work, from home, or on the go through email. You can easily manage your faxes through their online portal that is accessible using any web browser. The best thing about Nextiva VFAX is you can take it on a 30-day free trial to find out if it’s a good fit for you.

They currently offer three plans:

  • Single user – starts $4.95/month, and includes 500 pages per month
  • Small business – starts at $12.95/month, and includes 1000 pages per month
  • Business pro – starts at $29.95/month, and includes 3000 pages per month

All three plans come with standard features such as Fax by Email, Fax Machine Support, Fax with Mobile Device, Access Fax Anywhere, Online Portal, and more.

Jive Virtual Fax

Jive also offers a virtual fax service that’s integrated on all Jive plans at no extra charge. Using this feature, you can quickly send and receive unlimited faxes, and view faxed documents straight from your inbox. To start sending and receiving faxes, you can simply set up an extension for it. Users can also configure fax settings in real time through Jive’s online portal.

No matter what plan you choose, if you are a small business or have a home office you should definitely considering upgrading to virtual fax!

Hosted PBX VS SIP Trunking: Which is Right for Your Business?

For companies that are hoping to save money and streamline business communications, the decision to choose a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system is a smart move. When compared to traditional telephone services, VoIP is far more customizable and feature-rich. Plus, the ability to scale at will on top of the system’s increased reliability make VoIP highly attractive.

It’s important to emphasize, though, that VoIP is not a single solution. Rather, it’s an umbrella term that covers any form of voice communication that is carried out over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. When implementing a VoIP solution, there are various options businesses can choose from. Two of the most common solutions are Hosted Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and SIP Trunking. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at each service to help you decide which option is most suitable for your business.

What is a Hosted PBX?

Also referred to as an IP PBX or virtual PBX, a hosted PBX solution is a telephone system that provides PBX functionalities (such as call conferencing, automatic call distributions, call forwarding, do not disturb, etc.) to businesses but without the need to own or maintain any onsite equipment. With hosted PBX, the call platform and its features are hosted or handled by the VoIP service provider in the cloud. It is no longer the business’ responsibility to own, operate, secure, maintain or upgrade the necessary hardware. This allows companies to focus on their core competency, as well as enjoy significant cost savings through limited required equipment.

What is SIP Trunking?

With Session Initiation Protocol (or SIP trunking), users are able to continue using their existing telephone system or PBX equipment, but without the exorbitant costs of connecting to the PSTN. SIP trunking replaces traditional phone trunks with the internet; which means your phone calls will be routed through the internet instead of traditional phone lines. This solution requires an IP-enabled on-premise PBX and a VoIP gateway that connects your PBX to the cloud.

So Which Solution Should You Choose?

As with any business technology, the decision depends on the needs of your business. You need to consider various factors first before making the switch. The following are only some of the things you should weigh in order to make an informed purchasing decision:

    • The size of your business – For startups and smaller businesses (with anywhere from 5 to 20 employees), hosted PBX is usually the better choice as it provides all of the standard and advanced VoIP features at a lesser cost. SIP trunking, on the other hand, is ideal for larger enterprises that already have an existing PBX in place and simply want more affordable calling.
    • Scalability – As a business expands, so do their communication requirements. Both options are highly scalable, but with SIP trunking you would need to purchase additional on-premise servers (and thus spend more money) to be able to add new phones and users to your phone system.  A hosted PBX service, on the other hand, would only require a notification to the provider or a few changes in your account’s web portal, which can be completed in a few simple steps.
    • Maintenance – If you’re choosing SIP Trunking solutions, maintenance issues must be handled by your IT staff. They are responsible for the upkeep and must ensure that your software is up-to-date. This can prove extremely challenging for some businesses, especially if they don’t have highly skilled and knowledgeable IT personnel. With hosted PBX, on the other hand, all of the necessary upgrades and maintenance will be taken care of your VoIP service provider.

Assess your business’ wants and needs and choose the most appropriate VoIP service solution today!