Overview: The New V.34 Fax Standard Delivers Significant Cost Savings
Fax continues to be an important and cost-effective means for business-to-business and business-to-customer communications. It is estimated that more than 90% of U.S. businesses have fax machines in the office and sales of fax machines in recent years have maintained a slow, but steady growth rate. Even with the popularity of email, more than 7.5 million fax machines were sold in 2002 alone.
Recent advancements in fax technology have resulted in a renewed interest in fax in the business environment. One such advancement is the introduction of the V.34 fax standard, which can help businesses increase productivity and reduce costs.
What is the V.34 Fax Standard?
The V.34 fax standard was established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as the standard for full-duplex modems sending and receiving data across phone lines at up to 33.6 Kbps. Compared to the V.17 (14.4 Kbps) standard and 9.6 Kbps fax, V.34 allows faster transmission time per fax page, greater adaptability to varying line conditions, and a reduction in the number of resends per fax. These improvements result in cost savings from reduced fax phone bills.
In order to understand the benefits of the V.34 standard, it is first necessary to understand how a fax call takes place. The first step is the “handshake” that determines key factors in how the fax call will be set up. The handshaking stage enables the sending and receiving fax device (such as a fax machine or fax server) to find a common speed at which the fax can be transmitted. With a 9.6 Kbps or a V.17 modem, the handshaking is done at 300 bps. With V.34 fax, the handshaking is done at a much faster rate of 1,200 bps. The result is that handshaking time is reduced from approximately 16 seconds with 9.6 Kbps and V.17 to seven seconds with V.34.