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I have a fax machine in a location that is accessible only through nearby WiFi. I'm in an unusual situation where it must be an ancient fax machine and not a nifty eFax solution (much to my chagrin.) Is there any way I can get a phone line over WiFi to this machine?

The last step in this solution would have to result in an analog phone line to the fax machine. This is where I'm stuck. Does a consumer grade solution for this problem exist?

I tried using one of those telephone over power line adapters only to discover there is no way I can reach a telephone line with this solution either! It's hard to explain without getting in to the details of the building, but the area which has telephone service must also have a separate power service as well.

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  • There is no way to make a normal dial-tone fax machine wireless. Even if the fax machine had 802.11 support it wouldn't be able to make a call to send the fax. You need to upgrade your solution or run a phone line to the machine.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 26, 2013 at 17:57
  • @Ramhound I know I'm looking for a VoIP solution, I just don't really know what it is exactly. Something like 1. Asterisk 2. Converter box 3. ??? 4. PROFIT!!!
    – rtf
    Feb 26, 2013 at 18:12
  • can you explain a little bit about why you absolutely must use a fax machine rather than some sort of scan-to-server-to-fax solution? Your comments suggest that new or repurposed hardware is an option.
    – horatio
    Feb 26, 2013 at 18:16
  • @horatio What I really need a transparent solution. There is a markedly not super user who can't handle anything but a plain-old fax machine... I guess I don't care where the actual faxing takes place, so long as there's a piece of paper scanned and a number input on a non-computer device.
    – rtf
    Feb 26, 2013 at 18:25
  • I suspected that might be the case. I don't have a specific answer ATM, but I can tell you that at my location, the fax machine is still on an analog phone line, despite the VOIP server which handles voip extensions in 2 separate towns.
    – horatio
    Feb 26, 2013 at 18:29

5 Answers 5

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You can use a Voice over IP analog adapter, but there are two important caveats:

  1. These are one-directional devices that assume you have existing VoIP infrastructure. They won't extend a normal analog line, but rather want to use an existing VoIP PBX.
  2. Fax signals often have trouble using these devices. Look for one that specifically supports faxing. Some of these devices are advertised to support fax machines, but as a practical matter will not, so do your homework.

If you don't have or can't setup a VoIP PBX, you can buy appliances that make it easy... but even simple ones usually run a few hundred dollars. You might find something like the Nettalk duo more to your liking.

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  • I havent dealt with it much, but I have heard faxes and VoIP dont mix well.
    – Keltari
    Oct 21, 2014 at 1:59
  • @Keltari: Yes, fax does not work (well) over VoIP, because, as the name says, VoIP is optimized for voice transmission. However, there is a special protocol for fax transmission, T.38. If the adapter supports T.38 (and your VoIP provider also supports it), faxing should work.
    – sleske
    Jun 28, 2016 at 0:25
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Get an InstaJack or similar device that can send the phone line over your power lines.

GE InstaJack wireless phoneline jack

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  • Great solution! Unfortunately I had already attempted this and it seems there's an entirely separate power service which the InstaJack and similar devices cannot traverse.
    – rtf
    Feb 26, 2013 at 18:03
  • Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, Tanner. As I wrote this, I thought about mentioning the caveat that both ends have to be on the same transformer. Feb 26, 2013 at 18:05
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Connect your fax machine to a supported "email to fax" service with a HTTPS Fax ATA. Connect the Fax Machine to Phone 1 port using standard RJ-11 telephone cable, connect to your WiFi connection using a standard RJ-45 network cable. The HTTPS FAX uses a secure connection through your WiFi service to send the fax to the email to fax service. Here are some providers offering this service: Concord Fax, etherFax, FaxSIPit, Hunt Telecom, MetroFax, Momentum, and Vitelity. You will need to check with Virtual Fax or email to fax services that support the HTTPS Fax ATA.

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  • Can you include some examples of these "email a fax" services to your answer?
    – slm
    Mar 4, 2013 at 17:51
  • I think you can edit your own answer, add this info into the answer and delete the comments. Easier to follow for others that may come across your answer.
    – slm
    Mar 4, 2013 at 18:47
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Maybe check out this type of approach. I'm a little confused over it, but I'm looking for something similar and this is what I came across.

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http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=&cs=04&sku=A7791506&dgc=ST&cid=293344&lid=5616479&acd=12309152537461010&ven1=sE1inYhPj&ven2=,

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The only thing I can think is the following setup:

The required equipment

  1. Vontage Box
  2. Fax Machine
  3. 802.11 Network Extender with 1 10/100/1000 lan port.
  4. Existing Wireless Router

Wireless Router -> Network Extender -> Vontage Box -> Fax Machine

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