Intermittent Fax Issues

Hi Guys!

My office is having some intermittent issues receiving faxes. Basically, the reason I know this is because we have a network of 1200+ healthcare providers that have to fax paperwork back to us on a daily basis. Some of these offices are complaining that fax’s are not going through.

I test our faxes and the only error codes I am returned when I can recreate the problem is:

“The error code means that The remote machine has failed to respond to a fax command from the local machine because the connection is interrupted. If you’ve successfully sent faxes to this number before, then you can reattempt the fax transmission at a different time when line condition have improved. You can also run a fax test from your printer and check if all tests pass. A line test can also be run by your telephone company to ensure stable fax line conditions.”

Can someone please point me in the right direction towards troubleshooting this problem? Or possibly let me know which configs to share with you guys to find the problem?

I’ve found that faxing can be hit-and-miss. Some ‘remote’ fax machines are really picky when they talk to a ‘digital’ fax machine. We setup fax lines and if people had issues we just told them to email us an attachment. We didn’t have to do a lot of faxes so it was an ok solution… probably not a acceptable in your situation… but if you can do ANYTHING to steer people away from fax and to email attachments… that’s the route to go.

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Medical Offices will never give up their FAXes - there is a HIPPA exception for faxing - even though it is far less secure than any decent E-Mail, by regulation, you can’t use E-Mail for patient data.

We suffered for YEARS getting FAXing working reliably, but we finally did it and here are the key components:

  1. Asterisk 1.11+ - They finally got the T.38 code correct in Asterisk 1.11.6 or their about and since then it has worked great - 1.12 and 1.13 also have solid code for SpanDSP and T.38 FAX.

  2. Nothing faster than 14.4 - SuperG3 machines that try to do 28.8 and 33.6 will fail often - If the Asterisk is receiving, set the max speed to 14.4 and you are good on that score.

  3. Linksys (Sipura) SPA-2102 with current firmware for physical FAX machines. While there may be other ATA’s that work, they are the only ones we have tried that are 100% - If you find another as good, post here - since they are discontinued, they are getting a little more challenging to find.

  4. T.38 from a SIP VoIP provider that does it right - we use a carrier out of CA that uses several Broadsoft switches for SIP trunking - it works every time.

Finally, you can control everything on your end, but you will occasionally find a remote sender with a crappy connection that blames it on your end - if you are receiving hundreds of FAXes successfully, and only that sender is failing, it makes it easier to get them to check their end.