Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fax over Bluetooth


I personally prefer email over facsimile to send and receive document. But in government, business and financial sectors, facsimile is still frequently used. Various solutions exist to address the need of people who don't have access to a fax machine and/or service to send/receive faxes. Many companies offer numerous fax services on the Internet. Most operate by converting email to fax for fax-sending and fax to email for fax-receiving. On my part, I would like to share my experience when using a practical solution, that's using my Bluetooth phone as a fax modem.

These are the requirements:

- a Bluetooth enabled phone
- a fax service subscription, already activated by your cellular operator
- a laptop or desktop PC running Windows XP SP2 (Home or Professional)
- a fax software (there is one that comes with Windows, that's the Fax Console)

Here are the step-by-step guide:

- Install your Bluetooth phone on your computer, find the detailed instructions on this link. If your installation succeeds, you'll see Standard Modem over Bluetooth link on the Device Manager and Phone and Modem Option.
- Open Printers and Faxes on Windows Explorer (Control Panel>Printer and Faxes)
- Right-click Fax icon, select Properties to open the Fax Properties window
- On Fax Properties, go to the "Devices" tab. Select Standard Modem over Bluetooth link, click Properties.
- On the modem Properties window, on the "Send" tab, you can specify your fax-sending settings, i.e. TSID and fax-sending number of retries.
- On the "Receive" tab, you can specify your fax-receiving settings, i.e. CSID, manual or automatic answer, fax-printing, and fax-backup.
- The settings you've defined in the fax modem Properties window, will appear on the "Devices" tab of Fax Properties window.
- Click Apply and OK.

Now you are ready to send and/or receive faxes using your Bluetooth phone as a fax modem.

You can send a fax using Windows' Fax Console (start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications> Fax > Fax Console) or via other Windows applications (File > Print).
I'll compile the screenshots. When they are ready, I'll put the link here. In the meantime, happy bluefaxing...

FYI: If you are planning to upgrade to Windows Vista, you can only find built-in fax software (i.e. Windows Fax and Scan) on Vista Business and Ultimate. You can't find it on Home Basic and Home Premium.

Bluetooth FAX Profile

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been attempting to fax over bluetooth. All the instructions work but my fax doesn't go through...it just says sending ...number busy.

Well, the fac line is not busy it's next to me...no matter what number I dial it says busy... any ideas?

Zenca said...

If you are sure that your mobile fax number had been activated by your cellular operator and your home fax worked properly, your connection problem might be caused by:

- your Bluetooth connection between PC and phone temporarily lost (unstable link). Check "Turn discovery on" and "Allow Bluetooth devices to connect to this computer" on Bluetooth Devices > Options. By default, after adding a Bluetooth device Bluetooth radio on PC is turned off.

- you didn't "authorize" (usually available as option on mobile phone Bluetooth menu) the link between both paired devices, so you might miss one or two connection requests (from PC to phone or vice versa) and therefore failed to respond on time.

- setting mistake. I experienced this several times during the test (I also use my home facsimile machine as the target receiving/sending fax). Make sure that you input phone/fax number area code correctly.

- partial Bluetooth fax profile support on either phone or PC's Bluetooth stack. However this is only my opinion, I have no document to prove it :)

I think a bit perseverance will help. Watch the connection status during your test from Fax Console.

Anonymous said...

I've been at it for about three weeks...based on your response and my conversation with T-mobile I may have the problem.

I called T-Mobile today on the issue...they told me i need an additional line on my mobile phone designated for faxing and I need to sign up for CSD service...

Before I started this venture i was told by T-mobile i only needed to sign up for their data plan (for unlimited email, texting and others), which i did, and to sign up for Faxmail. The fax mail works great. I send a fax to my mobile number and it's on my voicemail, I simply download it and that's it.

I know faxmail is not a part of bluetooth faxing. It seems as if it's not getting a signal pass my phone.

So, I'm going to check into this CSD service but my question for you, based on your experience, is this required: a second number and CSD service? or have you been able to simply use the services on your computer to send a fax. To me bluetooth is simply looking for a link not a dialtone...

thanks for your support.

Anonymous said...

probably before you respond, i'm online (wikepedia looking up CSD and it says at the bottom you need a second line and ...most customer reps won't know it to speak to a data specialist...it cost about $3.99 a month.

is this the process you went through? thanks

Zenca said...

Hi,

- Yes, you need a dedicated fax line and sign up for CSD service. It's just a bit variation in term of wording and charging between one cellular operator and another.

- Usually, operator charge an extra fee for this fax service (i.e. a dedicated fax number). This is different with faxmail.

- I was assigned a different number for faxing. So I have one phone number and one fax number from the same operator.

- No dialtone, means you don't have an active fax service (the number you were using is not recognized in your operator network).

- I have used it for sending/receiving fax from/to my laptop using my mobile phone as a Bluetooth fax modem.

- If your phone has a fax sending/receiving software, you can test faxing over it prior to using it simply as a fax modem for your PC.

Please, update me again once your fax can get through T-Mobile network and arrive at your home (PSTN) fax line.

Anonymous said...

Why not just get a Magic Jack and use your high speed data card to send fax? Verizon said they don't support analog services on their digital network so MJ was for me.

lala said...

Good post.
I am thinking of faxing over bluetooth. It seems quite convenient. However, I am not so sure whether it can fax to the email address? Just as Joyfax Server, the fax software I am using now.

Danielle Carothers said...

Your post is really awesome. Is there any some more products like this that gives some more information about this services.
Looking forward for your reply.

Danielle
Fax To Email

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