Vonage Fax Communication Errors
By Keith Evans
, last updated March 13, 2012
New Jersey-based Vonage provides inexpensive telephone service to Internet users by way of a technology known as Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. Vonage customers can use the service to make voice phone calls or send faxes. People relying on such technology may notice differences when compared to traditional telephone service, however.
Fax machines convert printed documents into an electronic image, modulating the image data into sound and sending that modulated data over a standard telephone line. Vonage customers, however, send the modulated data to a special adapter that converts the sound back into data packets suitable for transmission across the Internet.
Because fax connections rely on a steady stream of modulated data to transfer electronic images, and VoIP connections rely on unregulated Internet connections of varying qualities to facilitate the fax communication, a number of conditions can cause faxing over a Vonage connection to end with an error. VoIP-specific issues like slight delays in sound delivery, known as latency, or poor quality sound, known as jitter, can interrupt a fax transmission and cause the fax machine to display an error.
When using VoIP services such as Vonage, heavy Internet use on shared connections can contribute to latency, causing fax transmissions to fail. Many Internet service providers limit the amount of bandwidth users have for sending files to upstream servers, leaving little spare bandwidth for fax communication during large uploads; for this reason, you may experience an error if you attempt to fax while uploading data, streaming videos or audio content or downloading large files.
Vonage users can take several steps to minimize errors, according to the VOIP Mechanic website. You can disable the fax machine’s error correction mode, allowing the device to complete fax transfers even if errors occur during transmission. Also, stopping any upload and download activity will increase available bandwidth. Although Vonage recommends setting a fax machine to the highest possible speed, media professional Chris Pirillo notes that slower speed faxes tend to experience less disruption from VoIP instabilities, and recommends using the fax machine’s slowest setting to minimize errors. In addition, VoIP Mechanic notes that some users have experienced reduced fax errors over Vonage by dialing *99 before dialing the fax number. This special code forces Vonage to use a non-compressed form of data transmission and disables call waiting, which can interfere with a fax.