When Comparing Cloud Fax Providers: Understand Network Deliverability
As the second installment in our blog series examining the most important attributes of successfully purchasing a new fax solution for your organization, this post is dedicated to helping decision-makers understand the various components of network deliverability when auditing a potential electronic fax system and vendor. Network deliverability is a vendor’s ability to successfully transmit and receive faxes on a timely basis. Organizations using fax to exchange critical documents as a key business support cannot afford to have any issues with deliverability. High deliverability ensures effective request processing, dialing, and fax termination across myriad devices, protocols, networks, and locations. To determine deliverability, you have to understand how cloud fax providers’ systems are built and their combination of networks, carriers, etc.
Whether your organization is looking to eliminate fax machines or on-premise servers, or you’re seeking a replacement online fax provider, our checklist will get you started. Use this checklist to assess what’s important to all of your organization’s stakeholders in this project, so that you can find the right fax solution for your entire organization’s requirements.
The Role of Telephony Technology in Network Deliverability
Playing a critical factor in successful fax service, telephony relies on two technologies:
- TDM (Time-Division Multiplexing), a pre-Internet telephony in which lines are owned and managed by Telecom carriers, is the most efficient method for sending faxes, with fewer compatibility issues connected to recipients’ hardware and less likelihood to suffer from packet loss issues. However, this kind of line can only connect to a single data center, making reroutes difficult. During TDM problems, fax delivery fails until the issue is resolved.
- FoIP (Fax Over IP/Internet Protocol) involves digital fax delivery over packetized networks using Internet Protocol. Not being tied to a data center is a strength—inbound faxes reach their destinations via any available data center—as well as its significantly lower cost. For outbound fax, however, FoIP is more susceptible to hardware compatibility issues and potential packet loss.
The optimal telephony structure mixes these two technologies—TDM for outbound faxing and FoIP for inbound. Balancing the cost advantages and routing flexibility of FoIP with outbound performance of TDM meets most user needs for deliverability and efficiency. The telecom carriers used for TDM have strengths and weaknesses, and some may have regional performance issues related to fax destination, propensity for outage, and service degradation. Look for providers using multiple carriers for outbound faxing via TDM to increase the ability to consistently deliver calls.
Call Completion a Key Aspect of Network Deliverability
Call Completion measures consistent successful delivery of faxes, but many vendors reluctantly share this data, or only share their data in part. Some may control for issues like busy signals or efforts to dial non-fax numbers. When evaluating a provider, ask them share what goes into the calculation. Before becoming a client, a best practice is to have a trial account provisioned to verify a vendor’s call completion rates.
Focus on Call Optimization and Error Handling
There will always be faxes that don’t get delivered, but how a provider addresses them is very important. Get answers to the following questions about call optimization and error handling when considering a new provider:
- What happens when a fax is not delivered?
Make sure that you have an understanding of how the fax provider handles delivery failures; organizations can’t afford to have delivery failures go unadressed. Your provider should have a process to ensure that your faxes are delivered, and be able to alert you right away in the event that something prevents successfuly delivery.
- Can the fax service adapt its delivery method once a failed delivery is encountered?
For time-sensitive transaction failures, the client should be notified, and the sender should employ another delivery method. For persistent issues involving network, carrier, or hardware compatibility, a fax may need to be transmitted differently, and a vendor should therefore offer multiple methods for how faxes can be sent, i.e., fax to email in the event that a receiving organization’s fax hardware is preventing delivery.
- Can the fax service optimize delivery by re-routing call paths to avoid “black spots?”
A cloud fax vendor option is to optimize a call path around persistent choke points, which limits recalls, improves call completion rates, and enhances delivery success.
This blog post touches on some basic considerations involved in network deliverability—your organization’s specific fax requirements will help you pinpoint must-haves in terms of telephony technology, call optimization, and error handling. At a basic level, deliverability data can help you determine whether an electronic fax vendor can successfully support your operations.
Download fax requirements checklist
To help you gather the right questions to ask other internal stakeholders for your fax solution purchasing process, we’ve put together a checklist of considerations to help you begin scoping your project. Download the checklist below.
Start asking the right questions about your organization’s fax uses and needs, so you can find the right solution for the entire organization.