How can professionals continue to leverage fax in a way that aligns with today’s technology?

R.I.P POTS: Ensuring successful fax transmission in the age of IP telecom networks


Just a few decades ago, faxing was viewed as one of the most advanced forms of communication available. And the fact that they relied on Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) lines was an innovation all its own. Fast forward 40 years or so, and things have changed tremendously. Now, traditional fax machines are often viewed as legacy hardware, with users preferring the near-instantaneous capabilities supported by the Internet.

This prompts the question: How can professionals continue to leverage fax transmissions in a way that aligns with today’s technology?

Faxes are still being sent?

The short answer here is an emphatic “yes.” Thanks to the inherent nature of faxing, which takes place over a secure telecom network and supports protected communication, it is still the main form of data transmission for sensitive information bound by compliance regulations. This includes the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

POTS dying off: Rising costs, decreasing demands

While faxing is still a top-used channel in many health care and retail settings, the POTS lines traditionally used to support it are nearing their end of life. Many top-tier telecom service providers are actually phasing out copper POTS lines in favor of the alternative: more robust fiber and IP-based networks for modern fax transmission.

“Having to maintain two networks – one legacy, one modern – diverts resources away from new deployments,” explained FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. 

“Having to maintain two networks – one legacy, one modern – diverts resources away from new deployments,” explained FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “By definition, every dollar that is spent maintaining fading copper networks cannot be spent on fiber.”

As consumer and business demands for copper phone lines sharply decreases, and the cost to maintain legacy Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) rises, it simply makes sense for providers to abandon these outmoded networks for a more advanced alternative.

The problem with faxing over IP-based services

IP connections are most cost-efficient for providers, consumers and business users, and while these networks work well for voice calls, their quality is wanting when it comes to fax transmissions. Fax “calls” have very specific requirements for timing and connectivity, and any waning or interruption prevents successful transmission.

Because it lacks the proper support, experts found that faxing over fiber, IP-based networks can significantly drive up the rate of fax call failure – from the industry-standard 2% percent to more than 50%.

The solution: Partnering with an expert fax solution provider

Because so much activity rides on IP Internet networks, it’s hard to avoid this technology. The solution to ensure proper modern fax transmission is to leverage the services of an expert fax solution provider like etherFAX.

We’ve established partnerships with the most reliable telecom providers. In this way, when a fax cannot be properly transmitted over the main fiber line, we can reroute the fax call through our other telecom partners’ networks. Your faxes always take the route of least resistance from the sender to the recipient, and failed fax transmissions become a thing of the past.

Because etherFAX supports thousands of fax numbers within our expansive network, we’re able to support a 99% success rate for fax transmissions – and we’re improving the quality of our service all the time.

This level of reliability, alongside our patented Secure Exchange Network (SEN) technology, means that faxes are sent successfully and securely, and you never have to worry about the security or dependability of your fax transmissions.

Let’s continue the conversation. Connect with us at etherFAX today to learn more about our fax solutions.