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I have a rather strange problem and it might not have a solution and this might not even be the forum for this, but here goes :-)

I have a requirement for sending faxes from Word 2007 to a bunch of fax numbers in a particular user's contact list. Our corporate fax solution can't handle this. So, Ive done the following:

  1. Configured Word 2007's Merge to Fax feature; using the contact's business fax field
  2. Connected a Multitech Systems MT5634ZBA-V92 fax modem to a Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 machine's COM1 port. Latest modem driver is installed.
  3. Connected the fax modem to a direct outside phone line that bypasses our PABX.
  4. Configured the Windows Fax Service in the Win 2003 box and installed the Microsoft Shared Fax driver in the user's machine. The user is running Windows XP SP3 with all the latest updates.

Faxing works fine. The user is able to send faxes to persons on her contact list through Merge to Fax.

The problem is that it is very slow ... it takes roughly 30 seconds to transmit a page full of text and it takes upto 5 minutes to send a page full of images. I swapped out the MultiTech modem and replaced it with a U.S. Robotics K56 model and the performance is the same.

Any ideas on where I might have screwed up are greatly appreciated! Thank you.

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Thank you all for your responses. I am glad to know that I haven't messed up the configuration :-). I was very surprised by the performance. I think I will go ahead and look for a 3rd party vendor/tool that has some form of integration with Word + Outlook contact list. –  ChamaraG Jun 25 '09 at 15:21

5 Answers 5

Faxing is, unfortunately, slow - between 14.4kilobits/second and 33.6kilobits/second is the standard for faxing these days. And of course a complex page is going to require more data to be sent than a simple page, hence why you are seeing the difference between plain text and images.

I don't think you are going to see much improvement over that.

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Alternatively don't transmit them yourself - outsource.

We have a provider that we send specially formatted emails to, containing outbound faxes, and their systems transmit faxes on our behalf.

It gracefully handles attachments, be they Word docs, PDFs, Powerpoint slides, whatever. Very "sales department friendly".

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the service off hand but if you're interested then I'll look it up for you.

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ovh.com in france offers a mail to fax solution. 300 fax per mail, up to 5k/hour, and more using an API. –  petrus Jan 10 '11 at 20:58

Fax is just plain slow - I don't think you have screwed up at all. The numbers you are quoting are pretty typical for faxing. You could try addressing it by going a more parallel route, get a multimodem card (or multiple serial ports and external modems) and use the Fax Server as part of Server 2003 to queue up and send the faxes - assuming you have enough outbound phone lines available as well.

Perhaps a solution provider like eFax is worth looking at as well?

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I would definitely look into a different solution than Server 2003 for faxing. We use FaxRush from ZFirm which allows us to blast faxes over multiple lines quickly. The Windows XP box has a Brooktrout TR114 Fax Board with access to 4 lines to do simultaneous faxing to different hosts. It's a simple solution and shouldn't put you back too much to setup.

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If speed is very important, there are some services that will allow the sending of faxes asyncronously (i.e. you can start sending a 2nd fax before the first is finished).

The one we used to use here is called mBox. From memory, you just send an email with the content as an attachment, and include the phone number in the email address. e.g. +61444555666@myaccount.mbox.com.au (or something like that).

Of course, the fax is still going to take 5 minutes to send, but at least it's not you who's waiting...

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