I have used a lot of VoIP providers over the years, as you would expect since I am in the VoIP comparison market.
For the last couple of years I have been using Phonepower at home. It’s been working great, the quality is very good and it’s low cost so my lovely wife is happy.
However, one thing that does frustrate me a little with VoIP, is fax service. It isn’t always as reliable as you would hope for with VoIP, mainly because the fax specs are old and it is tough for VoIP providers to guarantee their service will work with ALL fax machines.
This is not a huge deal for home as I rarely have to send or receive faxes these days…..BUT there is always once or twice a year when I need a fax machine. The options are use my neighbors or pop down to Kenkos and pay for sending a fax. Not a huge deal but a pain when it happens.
I was looking at my Phone Power portal yesterday – this is where I access the settings for my service – and I noticed a setting called “Fax to Voicemail” as shown in the image below.
Yes I am ashamed to say I had not come across this feature before with Phone Power. Better test it first though………
First I enabled it using the setting above and then some basic configuration was needed in the voicemail settings area so I could tell it to send incoming faxes to my email – a simple checkbox. Voila, all ready to test, that was easy.
Now how this actually works in practice is that Phone Power has some fax servers that intercept the call that is for me when it sees it is an incoming fax, translates it to a digital format and then emails it to me. My phone does not ring, thankfully – no interest in hearing those lovely fax tones.
Only problem now was I needed a fax machine to test the fax to voicemail service, since this is incoming only. There are many options but I decided to use MyFax for this – they have a pretty neat free service.
I sent a fax to my Phone Power home line and it arrived in my email Inbox. Nice! For the non-believers, here’s the fax below.
My Phone Power service is currently $5 per month (WhichVoIP Special) so very low cost and I have a free fax voicemail service thrown in. Tough to beat!
By the way PhonePower is not alone here in offering this service for residential customers. ITP, VoIPo and others you will find on our site also offer support for fax. In fact ITP also offers email to fax on the transmission side but are a little more expensive than Phone Power if cost is your key care-about.
Try it out if you think this may be useful for your home. It’s a great way to get rid of your old fax machine and no more paper rolls or ink to worry about. Of course if you send and receive more faxes than I do, consider a full featured eFax service.