International faxing for businesses: A complete guide

Faxing has been a cornerstone of business communication for decades. Originating from the era of telegraphs, it evolved into the modern fax machine in the 1960s, offering businesses a dependable means of transmitting vital documents over vast distances.

As digital communication methods, like email, gained momentum, the intrinsic value of faxing, especially in international business contexts, has remained steadfast. Its unparalleled reliability and legal recognition have kept it at the forefront of secure and timely document exchange.

Fax machine

Understanding how to fax internationally is paramount in our interconnected world, where business transactions routinely cross borders and time zones. This guide will explore the enduring significance of international faxing and provide insights into its best practices, ensuring that businesses choose the most effective solutions for their global communication needs.

Why do businesses still use international faxing?

Despite being around for decades, international faxing remains a relevant and trusted method of communication for businesses. Here are some reasons why:

Legal and security reasons.

In many countries, faxed documents hold the same legal weight as original papers, making it a preferred choice for transmitting important documents and contracts. Additionally, faxing provides a higher level of security since it cannot be hacked or intercepted, unlike emails.

Immediate delivery and confirmation.

International faxing provides an immediate delivery option, and it is also received with a delivery confirmation, leaving no doubt that the recipient has received it. This is particularly important when timely communication and urgent exchanges are needed.

Universal accessibility and lack of digital infrastructure in certain regions.

In some global markets, there might be an absence of technological infrastructure, or digital infrastructure might be unreliable.

This makes international faxing an ideal choice of communication.

Backup for digital methods.

As digital technology evolves, businesses have invested heavily in digital communication methods. However, in certain cases where digital communication methods fail, faxing provides a reliable backup for businesses to fall back on.

Understanding the basics of international faxing.

To effectively utilize international faxing for businesses, it is crucial to understand the fundamental aspects of this communication method.

This section will delve into the basics of international faxing, including the anatomy of an international fax number, time zones, and the associated costs and charges.

Anatomy of an international fax number.

International fax numbers contain several essential components for successful transmission. The country code is the first element and identifies the country where the fax is sent. It is followed by the area code, which designates the region or city within that country. Finally, the local number completes the fax, ensuring precise delivery to the intended recipient.

Including the correct country and area codes when dialing an international fax number is essential to ensure accuracy and efficient transmission.

Time zones and optimal sending times.

When dealing with international faxing, it is vital to be mindful of the sender and recipient’s time zones. Understanding the time differences will help determine the best times to send faxes internationally to maximize efficiency and ensure timely receipt.

Consider the most appropriate sending time for work hours, weekends, and holidays. By doing so, you can increase the likelihood of your fax being received and processed promptly.

Understanding potential costs and charges.

Sending faxes internationally may involve additional costs and charges compared to domestic faxing. Different service providers have varying pricing models, which may include factors such as duration, page count, or a combination of both.

It is crucial to research and compare the pricing structures offered by different providers to find the most cost-effective option for your business needs. Additionally, consider any potential long-distance or international calling fees for traditional fax machines or analog phone lines.

Technical aspects of sending an international fax.

Businesses can choose between traditional fax machines or online fax services regarding international faxing. Understanding the technical aspects of sending international faxes will help you make an informed decision.

This section will explore the differences between traditional fax machines and online fax services, how international faxing works technically, potential issues that may arise during transmission, and the role of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in international faxing and its challenges.

Traditional fax machines vs. online fax services.

Traditional fax machines require a dedicated telephone line and physical hardware to send and receive faxes. They operate by dialing the recipient’s fax number and transmitting it over the phone. On the other hand, online fax services leverage the internet to send and receive faxes. They typically involve using a computer or mobile app, eliminating the need for physical equipment.

How international faxing works technically?

International faxing involves dialing the recipient’s international fax number, including the appropriate country and area codes. Traditional fax machines convert the document into analog signals and transmit them over the phone line until they reach the recipient’s fax machine, where they are decoded and printed. Online fax services convert the document into digital format and then transmit it over the internet to the recipient’s email or online fax interface.

Potential issues during transmission.

Despite advancements in technology, fax transmissions can still face technical issues. Line noise, for example, can occur due to poor-quality phone lines and affect the clarity of the fax. Signal drops can disrupt the transmission and result in incomplete or missing pages. It is important to troubleshoot these issues by checking the phone line quality, ensuring proper connectivity, and optimizing settings for optimal transmission.

The role of VoIP in international faxing and its challenges.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) enables fax transmission over Internet-based networks. While VoIP is widely used for voice communication, it poses certain challenges for faxing. Fax signals are sensitive to packet loss and latency, which can lead to incomplete or garbled faxes. Implementing protocols like T.38 can help address these challenges by optimizing the transmission of fax signals over IP networks.

Online fax services for international faxing.

In today’s digital era, online fax services offer businesses a convenient and efficient solution for international faxing. This section will explore the advantages of online fax services, highlight popular providers in the market, and discuss essential features to consider when choosing the right online fax service for your international faxing needs.

Advantages of using online fax services.

Online fax services offer several benefits over traditional fax machines. First and foremost is eliminating physical equipment and dedicated phone lines, reducing costs and maintenance requirements. Online fax services also provide the flexibility to send and receive faxes from anywhere with an internet connection, eliminating the need for being tied down to a physical location. Additionally, these services often offer features like cloud storage, advanced security options, and the ability to send faxes directly from email or mobile devices, streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity.

Popular online fax service providers.

There are several reputable online fax service providers to choose from, each offering unique features and pricing plans. Some popular names in the market include eFax, RingCentral Fax, MetroFax, and HelloFax. These providers have established themselves as reliable and user-friendly platforms for international faxing, offering a range of plans to suit various business needs.

Features to consider.

When selecting an online fax service for your business, there are essential features to consider. Security should be a top priority, so look for services that offer encryption and compliance with industry standards like HIPAA or GDPR if necessary for your specific industry. Ease of use is also crucial, as the platform should have an intuitive interface that allows for easy sending and receiving of faxes. Cost is another significant factor to consider, as pricing plans may vary based on factors such as the number of faxes sent per month or the level of features offered. Finally, mobile accessibility is important for businesses on the go, so ensure the service has mobile apps or a responsive web interface compatible with your devices.

Best practices for international faxing.

International faxing can be a reliable and efficient way for businesses to communicate across borders. However, to ensure successful transmission and avoid potential issues, it is important to follow some best practices. This section will outline several key best practices for international faxing, including pre-checking the number, being aware of local holidays and business hours, using cover sheets appropriately, ensuring document readability, and confirming receipt.

Pre-checking the number.

Before sending an international fax, verifying the recipient’s fax number is crucial. International dialing codes and formats may vary across countries, so double-checking the number ensures the fax reaches the correct destination. Errors in dialing can result in faxes being sent to the wrong recipient or not being delivered at all.

Being aware of local holidays and business hours.

Different countries have varying public holidays and business hours.

It is important to consider these factors when sending international faxes to ensure that they are received and attended to promptly. Sending a fax on a local holiday may result in delays or the recipient’s inability to receive and process the fax.

Using cover sheets appropriately.

Cover sheets are often used in fax communication to provide essential information about the fax. When sending international faxes, it is recommended to use cover sheets that include clear details such as the sender’s contact information, recipient’s contact information, number of pages, and any specific instructions. This helps ensure the recipient properly identifies, understands, and processes the fax.

Ensuring document readability.

Certain factors need to be considered to ensure that the fax is legible and can be easily read by the recipient. Pay attention to the resolution of the faxed document to ensure that it is clear and not distorted during transmission. Additionally, use an appropriate font size and format that is easy to read, especially if the recipient uses a traditional fax machine.

Confirming receipt.

After sending an international fax, confirming that the recipient has received the fax is essential. You can follow up with a phone call or an email to verify receipt and discuss any further actions or responses required. This confirmation helps avoid any potential miscommunication or delays in important business transactions.


In today’s rapidly advancing digital landscape, the sustained significance of international faxing in the business realm might surprise many. However, its utility in ensuring secure, instantaneous communication transcends contemporary digital methods in various contexts, especially where universal accessibility is paramount. As we navigate this evolving technological frontier, businesses must stay abreast of the latest technologies and regulatory shifts.

Embracing innovation while respecting and understanding the roots of traditional communication like faxing ensures a holistic approach to global business communication.

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