What Is Fax?

As technology has advanced, the use of fax machines has diminished dramatically.

However, many businesses and organizations still rely on faxing for important documents. So, what is a fax?

In this article, we’ll take a look at faxing, how it works, and some of the benefits of using fax machines.


Key Takeaways

  • Fax is supported by three different technologies– Landline Faxing, Internet Faxing, and Cellular Faxing.
  • Faxing is affordable, faster, reliable, and easy to use.
  • Fax machines are a big-time saver because they provide a way to send and receive physical documents without having to use the postal service.

What Is Fax?

What Is Fax

Fax is an abbreviation for facsimile, which is also known as telefax. It is a time-honored method of sending or receiving documents by radio waves or wire.

A fax machine uses a scanner to convert the document into an electrical signal, which is then sent over a phone line or other type of connection.

The receiving machine uses a printer to convert the signal into a physical copy of the original document.

One of the main reasons that these machines are still in use is because they provide a way to send and receive physical documents without having to use the postal service.

This can be a big time-saver, especially for businesses that need to send out a lot of documents regularly. 1

Read: 10 Best Fax App For IPhone And IPad

Also Read: 10 Best Fax Apps For Android

Types Of Technology That Support Fax

Types Of Technology That Support Fax

Fax is supported by three different technologies. They all handle transmission differently; therefore, how fax works depends on the technology you’re using. 

The three different fax technologies include:

Landline Faxing

Landline faxing is how documents are “traditionally” faxed. It requires a fax machine or multifunction printer and a wired connection to the public switched telephone network.

This method involves feeding hard copies of your documents into a fax machine, which converts the document’s black/white gaps into a signal.

Internet Faxing

Over the last two decades, people have started sending and receiving faxes using the internet rather than the PSTN. This requires an internet connection and an online fax service.

You can transmit faxes online using a computer, laptop, or mobile device. A fax machine or multifunction printer (MFP) can also work via the internet with an adapter.

Cellular Faxing

You can also get a cellular-enabled fax machine if you don’t have access to a landline or a reliable internet connection.

The machine, like just a cell phone, has a different number, a SIM card, and transmits signals through cell towers.

What Are The Benefits Of Faxing?

What Are The Benefits Of Faxing

Now that we’ve discussed fax and the different ways you can send it let’s look at some of the benefits of using this technology.

Getting Hard Copies

There’s nothing like getting a hard copy of a file. Although email is excellent for transmitting attachments, printing a document can help you review it more thoroughly. 

Plus, if you’re sending an important contract or agreement, you’ll want to make sure that the other party has a physical copy. Fax machines can help you accomplish this.

Faxing Is Fast

Faxes are sent to locations all around the world right away. When access to email or file-sharing is unavailable or impractical, this type of data delivery works well.


Fax machines are reasonably priced, and many are integrated into multifunction devices.

You can toss in the machine for a minor improvement, especially if you’re already planning on getting a printer and scanner.

Installing Fax Machines Is Easy

Installing a fax machine is a relatively simple process. As previously said, this machine can be integrated into your current setup. In order to install a machine, you’ll need a dedicated phone line. 2

Also Read: GotFreeFax Review | Is It Safe To Use?

Final Thoughts

Fax has been around for many years and continues to be a popular way to send documents.

Now that you know how fax works and the benefits of using this technology, you can decide if it’s right for you.


Is fax an input or output device?

A fax machine is considered both an input and output device.

When you use it to scan documents to send to other fax machines, then it is considered an input device. And when you receive a fax from someone, then it is an output device.

Is email and fax the same?

Both email and fax are meant to send messages to be read only by the recipient.

But a fax is a single fax image, whereas an email contains text that can be edited.

Also, fax is often required to send documents that require your signature or legal documents, whereas email can be used to send just about anything. 3

Why do people still use fax?

Fax machines offer the best security as it is very difficult to hack them.

It is also not prone to viruses or malware, which is why people still prefer to use a fax machine. 

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The National Planning Cycles is committed to producing high-quality content that follows industry standards. We do this by using primary sources, such as white papers and government data alongside original reporting from reputable publishers that were appropriate for the accuracy of information while still being unbiased. We have an editorial policy that includes verifiable facts with due credit given where applicable.

  1. https://www.techtarget.com/searchnetworking/definition/fax[]
  2. https://www.wales247.co.uk/why-people-still-fax-benefits-of-fax[]
  3. https://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/email-vs-fax#:~:text=Email%20messages%20contain%20editable%20text,legal%20documents%20that%20require%20signatures.[]
  4. https://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/email-vs-fax#:~:text=Email%20messages%20contain%20editable%20text,legal%20documents%20that%20require%20signatures.[]

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