Fax ( facsimile abbreviation ), sometimes telefax or telecopy, is the telephone transmission of printed scanned material (both text and images), usually to a telephone number connected to a printer or other output device. The original document is scanned with a fax machine, which processes the contents (text or images) as a single fixed graphic image, converting it into a bitmap, the information is transmitted as electrical signals through the telephone system.
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Parts of a fax
Fax is essentially an image scanner, a modem and a printer combined in a specialized device. The scanner converts the original document into a digital image; the modem sends the image over the telephone line; On the other side, another modem receives it and sends it to the printer, which makes a copy of the original document.
The first faxes only scanned in black and white, but as the technology improved, it went to gray scale; Now they are more modern and sophisticated. The arrival of the multifunction devices incorporated the scanner in color: although the images are still sent in gray, they can be sent to a computer or stored in color on a local hard drive.
The first faxes used thermal printers, which require a specific paper. There were very few machines that used a needle printer, let alone those that used a laser printer. The arrival and, above all, the cheapening of inkjet printing led to a normal paper fax boom, which in half of the cases also acted as multifunction devices (from acting only as a printer or fax/modem to the connected computer, to be able to control any of its parts).
Software emulator of fax
A computer with a fax/modem and the appropriate software is capable of emulating the operation of a fax machine. In multitasking operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, the fax transmission reception program is emulated by a printer that can be printed from any application. Fax reception always requires a program that runs in the background “listening” to the modem waiting for an incoming call.
Some advantages of using this system are:
- Documents sent and/or received can be stored on the hard disk.
- Documents can be exported to standard graphic formats and sent by email.
- Paper savings: received documents are only printed if necessary. Outgoing documents are printed directly from a text editor.
Some fax emulator programs:
- Cheyenne Bitware (DOS and Windows)
- Mighty Fax (Windows)
- Winfax (Windows)
- Hylafax (GNU / Linux and other Unix)
- [BGFAX] (DOS and Windows)
The fax became an essential part of the micro or hyper company, but the question was what would be the efficiency of the shipment and the problem of sending between America and Europe, and the time it would take to reach its destination. To correct this deficiency, the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector ( International Telecommunication Union, ITU) established in 1974 a global standard, better known as group 1 fax. Since then, 4 norms or groups have been created:
Group 1: created in 1974, is based on ITU-T Recommendation T.2. These faxes take four to six minutes to transmit a single page, with a vertical resolution of 98 lines per inch, at a speed of 2,400 bps. This type of faxes is obsolete and they are not manufactured anymore.
Group 2: created in 1976, is based on ITU-T Recommendations T.30 and T.3. These faxes take 3 minutes to transmit a single page, with a vertical resolution of 100 lines per inch at a speed of 9,600 bps. Although obsolete and not manufactured anymore, these faxes continue to be used to be able to communicate with Group 3 faxes.
Group 3: created in 1980, is based on ITU-T Recommendations T.30 and T.4. It takes between 6 and 15 seconds to transmit a single page (not including the initial time of synchronization and identification of the machines), at a speed of 14,400 bps.
Group 4: created in 1984, is based on ITU-T Recommendations T.563, T.503, T.521, T.6, T.61, T.62, T.62 bis, T.70, T. 72, T.73 and F.161. It has been designed to operate at more than 64 kbit / s over digital ISDN networks (Digital Integrated Services Network, in English, abbreviated as ISDN). Its resolution depends on recommendation T.6, which includes all of the T.4 extending them. It is capable of receiving faxes from a group 3 or 2 fax, although the communication must pass through a bridge between the analog and digital networks.
GSM mobile phones are also capable of sending and receiving faxes. Initially, they required a PCMCIA card or an IrDA port to communicate with the computer, but many current computers are able to receive and view faxes by themselves, and even send an existing document as a fax. The operator may require a special contract to activate these possibilities in its network.
To avoid costs in long-distance communications, the internet is also used to transmit the data. If the receiver does not have an internet connection, it is usually a machine connected to the corresponding telephone network (analog or ISDN ) that is responsible for transmitting the last section.
Initially, a fax was used exclusively in journalism; but its efficiency and the eagerness of modernization caused that it was later integrated to the businesses. The fax is used to send and receive images of all kinds. New technologies such as a hard disk and a semitone player have been integrated into it, and it was soon added to a regular telephone. Japan was the largest user of this technology, implementing cutting-edge technologies to this device. The fax has been extended to all current communications technologies.
Although currently, the use of faxes decreases in favor of the internet and email, many companies still maintain fax services. It is widely used in healthcare, finance and insurance companies (proposals, accident friendly parties, invoices, handwritten notes by inspectors and experts) among others.