Foiled by old tech – FAX

We are doing some financial things, and needed to send some important documents. As many of my old friends at Open Text would not be surprised by, I needed to Fax these documents. Scan and email is not acceptable, it had to be a fax.

Not a big deal, we have Comcast with a voice line, and an old but very serviceable Brother Fax machine. It has served us well for probably 15 years.

I printed, filled out, and signed the forms, extracted the Fax machine from the hidey hole it was stuffed into, and connected it to our POTS port on our Cisco cable modem/router.

Dialed the number, it range, answered, and negotiated the line. All seemed good.

Key word: "Seemed".

Alas, after 5 minutes, and not completing the first page, I hung up and tried again.

No dice. Alas, my suspicion is that the POTS port is not really a full telephone line, analog converted to 64kbps, but more likely a VoIP compressed optimized for voice 8kbps channel. Pretty common, but it does mean that things that expect the full bandwidth (like modems and fax machines) will error like crazy.

So, off to the FedEx office, and $2.00 a page later the fax was sent.

Fax isn't dead, but POTS lines are on life support.