Fax, a shortened form of the Latin word ‘facsimile’ (meaning “make alike”), sometimes called telefax or telecopying, involves the transfer process of printed material which were scanned, made up of text and/or images via telephonic means. To make fax exchanges possible, a printer with a connected phone number or any similar output device is required. The traditional process is comprised of scanning the source document through a fax machine (telecopier), which in turn converts the content into a binary image. The machine then transmits it through an analog telephone line or system in order for it to be received by another fax machine in a remote location, which would reconvert the data carried as electrical signals to produce a hard copy of the document. Over the years, a lot of developments have been introduced to this technology; one of the most pivotal being the switch from analog to digital transmissions.
Alexander Bain received a patent for a mechanical fax type device he invented in 1843, several years after Samuel Morse invented the first successful telegraph machine. While some easily christened and embraced Bain’s work as the “evolved” telegraph, a few other inventors followed suit and worked hard to improve the technology. There were patents for a “copying telegraph” (1850), a Pantelegraph (1860), a Telediagraph (1895), a Bildtelegraph (1900), and many more. In 1924, Richard Ranger of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) came up with the wireless photoradiogram or transoceanic radio facsimile; this is the device upon which the modern fax machines were based on. It wasn’t until 1964 that fax started to become widely-used, when Xerox Corporation introduced the Long Distance Xerography (LDX)--what could be considered the first commercialized version of the modern fax machine. Faxes sent and received using these devices were transmitted using analog signals.
A major breakthrough in faxing came as a result of the onset of digital technology. Instead of transmitting continuous analog signals, analog data from scanners were converted into digital signals and then compressed to allow transmission of high data rates across standard phone lines while reducing transmission times exponentially. This landmark development helped lead to the emergence of fax technology as a widely accepted standard for communication among individuals and businesses.
As technology progresses even further, old fax machines are slowly being replaced with newer and more efficient faxing options. The major growth of the functions of the Internet as seen in the early part of this century has contributed to the development of Internet fax. Rather than using only phone networks with a fax machine, people now exchange fax documents through the Internet. When performed through its Internet-based equivalent, faxing becomes easier for several reasons:
Faxing has been such a successful method of communicating that people are truly finding it hard to replace it because of its reliability and its rather secure nature. Thanks to newer technologies like online fax, the fax machine continues to roll on – now quicker and more secure as ever.
*Based on annual plan. Regular monthly price is $9.99 for Fax 500, $24.99 for Fax 1000, $59.99 for Fax 2500 if paid on monthly basis.
Rates for additional minute charges and minutes included with each plan are based on Domestic and Canadian calling only. International calls will be charged at the current rates published in our international rates table.
**Plan includes specified minutes; fax pages count assumes the average document takes 1 minute per page to send.
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