Fax stands for facsimile, meaning that a fax machine doesn’t actually send a document, it sends a reproduction of the document. In fact, fax technology involves the digitization of a text or a picture through an optical scanner, the transmission of data through a telephone line, and the interpretation of data on the receiving side as a printed document. It’s overall a fairly simple process, which makes it a fast, easy and cheap mode of document transmission.
There are different models of fax machines, intended for different users. Entry-level units are perfect for domestic use or small businesses, as their speed and printing quality are usually subpar. They often use thermal paper, which tends to turn brown with time and curl up. Therefore, faxes which must be filed need to be copied first on plain paper. However, these machines are cheap and perfectly sufficient for low volumes, under 20 faxes a day.
Most offices are equipped with inkjet or laser fax machines. Modern technology allows these multi-function printers (MFPs) to carry out multiple tasks such as printing, copying, scanning and of course receiving or sending faxes. They are suitable for large volumes of documents, offer good resolution and acceptable to outstanding speeds of transmission, around 25 pages per minute for a mid-range machine.
Even if in later years the internet has become the preferred medium of communication, fax machines are still relevant in today’s business world. They are perfect if you need to send an estimate, or an invoice, and expect it to be returned with your customer’s hand signature as quickly as possible. Likewise, when an internet connection is impossible, sending a fax is still the best way to exchange paperwork.
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