ActFax can not just be used with traditional analog and ISDN phone lines or VoIP/FoIP. As an alternative, using ActFax in combination with a Web Fax Provider (Cloud Fax) would be a very easy and economic way to connect the fax server to the public switched telephone network.
When using ActFax with a Web Fax Provider, no modems or fax boards and no local phone lines are needed, because the complete infrastructure to connect the fax server to the telephone network is provided by the Web Fax Provider. All you need is an account from your provider. Since Web Fax Providers are connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) with a very large number of phone lines, even huge fax volumes can be sent in a short time and dozens of parallel inbound faxes can be received.
The connection between the fax server and the Web Fax Provider is done through a normal encrypted Internet connection. The fax data is submitted in digital format, which makes the connection immune to transmission failures (this often is a major issue with Voice over IP connections). The setup of the fax server is very simple when using a Web Fax Provider; you typically just need to enter the login and password of your account in ActFax (see screenshot of the menu Communication / Web Fax Service on the fax server). ActFax supports the Web Fax Providers RingCentral, etherFax, PC-Fax.com, InterFax, Phaxio, Retarus and ConcordFax.
For the highest level of availability and compatibility, we recommend using one of the Web Fax Providers RingCentral, PC-Fax.com or InterFax. For large fax volumes with 1,000 faxes per week upwards and highest demands on the reliability of the fax service, the Web Fax Provider Retarus is the best choice. The interface between the fax server and the telephone network, as well as the physical transmission of outbound and inbound faxes is provided directly by the fax service provider. All faxes are delivered promptly and in best quality, which is guaranteed by a high-performance data center with 24/7 monitoring, connected with high-speed fiber optic links to all important phone providers all over the world.
When using ActFax in combination with PC-Fax.com, you need to use at least ActFax version 7.10, for InterFax, at least ActFax version 7.60 is required and when using RingCentral or Retarus, you need to have at least ActFax version 7.65 installed. An account for PC-Fax.com can be created directly through the PC-Fax.com Registration Page, for InterFax use the InterFax Registration Page and for RingCentral you can get an account through the RingCentral Plans & Pricing Page. To use the Retarus fax service, contact the Retarus Customer Service.
Installation on Virtual Machines
Web Fax Providers do not require any additional hardware or software and can therefore be used without any limitations on virtual machines (i.e. VMware ESX, Citrix XenServer, Hyper-V). The installation is completely hardware independent that way. The communication of the fax server with the Web Fax Provider is done directly through the built-in network interface of the fax server PC.
Incoming Faxes with Web Fax Providers
When using a Web Fax Provider, you automatically get a fax number that can be used to receive incoming faxes. If you want to continue receiving faxes through your existing fax number, set up call forwarding to that number in your phone system. For certain countries, most providers also offer the option of number porting to transfer your existing fax number directly to the provider. If you have more than one fax number or multiple accounts with your provider, incoming fax messages can also be automatically routed to different users.
Web Fax Pricing
Because you do not use your own phone lines when faxing through a Web Fax Provider, there are no local phone charges when sending fax messages that way. Billing of transmitted faxes is done directly by the Web Fax Provider in that case. Prices for such fax transmissions are often much lower compared to the phone charges when sending through your own local phone lines, because of the huge number of fax calls the provider typically handles. Depending on the fax volumne, most providers offer packages with an included fax contingent or contracts with individual rates.