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I need an office fax solution - I'm totally clueless

Posted on 2006-10-31
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Looking into GFIFax solution.  I have no idea how this works, or what I need.  Currently we have three standard fax machines that we use.  We want the ability to send and receive faxes from within Outlook.  Do I need to install a special fax card on the email server?  Or a different server??  ??  And then install GFIFax ON the Exchange server?  Sorry for all the questions, but they are now telling me we need to get this in place, like YESTERDAY!!  Thanks.
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Question by:tenover
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lollygagr earned 2000 total points
ID: 17845045
I've just implemented the newest version of GFI Faxmaker for a customer with multiple Exchange servers, and recommend the solution highly.   It will allow you to send and receive faxes within Outlook, and has a lot of different options as far as number assignment and routing.  Brief answers to your questions:

1. "Do I need to install a special fax card ...?"  
 - You will need a fax card (we recommend Brooktrout).  You will install the fax card on the server that will run GFI Faxmaker (see below), though the actual driver and configuration are handled by Faxmaker.

2. "... on the email server?  Or a different server??  ??  And then install GFIFax ON the Exchange server?  Or a different server??"
 - You have the option of installing GFI Faxmaker on the Exchange server or on a separate server.  I generally recommend on the Exchange server in a smaller environment with low fax volume to get more bang for your hardware and licensing bucks.  

Hope that helps.  Let me know if you have other questions.
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by:tenover
ID: 17845747
Thanks, that helps.  We run a very simple network, with a few servers, on AD, with Exchange 2003.  Do I need to have an analog line (or any telephone line) available for this?  For some reason, this stuff just flies over my head.  Here are all the Brooktrout cards supported by GFI.  I have NO IDEA which one I would need....

Brooktrout TR1034 Series

    * Brooktrout TR1034+P2-2L-R (2 analog loop-start lines)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P4-4L-R (4 analog loop-start lines)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P8-8L-R (8 analog loop-start lines)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P2-1B-R (1 digital BRI Euro-ISDN interface, 2 channels)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P4-2B-R (2 digital BRI Euro-ISDN interfaces, 4 channels)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P4H-E1-1N-R (1 digital PRI Euro-ISDN interface, 4 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P8H-E1-1N-R (1 digital PRI Euro-ISDN interface, 8 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P10H-E1-1N-R (1 digital PRI Euro-ISDN interface, 10 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P16H-E1-1N-R (1 digital PRI Euro-ISDN interface, 16 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P20H-E1-1N-R (1 digital PRI Euro-ISDN interface, 20 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P30H-E1-1N-R (1 digital PRI Euro-ISDN interface, 30 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P4H-T1-1N-R (1 digital T1 interface, 4 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P8H-T1-1N-R (1 digital T1 interface, 8 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P16H-T1-1N-R (1 digital T1 interface, 16 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034+P24H-T1-1N-R (1 digital T1 interface, 24 channels, 1 NIC for FoIP)
    * Brooktrout TR1034-uP2C-R (1 analog loop-start line, 1 analog DID line)
    * Brooktrout TR1034-uP2D-R (2 analog DID lines)
    * Brooktrout TR1034-uP4C-R (2 analog loop-start lines, 2 analog DID lines)
    * Brooktrout TR1034-uP4D-R (4 analog DID lines)
    * Any other variant of the cards listed above being number of lines and T1 interface.
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by:lollygagr
ID: 17846621
From a server hardware & OS standpoint, any of those cards will work.  The card choice really depends more on your phone system, i.e. how your current voice & fax lines are set up.  Do you have a PBX and if so, what kind and who administers it?  (The key question for the administrator has to do with call routing).  Are there analog lines to the fax machines now, or is everything going through a T1?    Are you locked into a contract with your telco provider or do you have flexibility?

Here is a pretty good comparison of the different inbound routing setups: http://kbase.gfi.com/showarticle.asp?id=KBID001349.  Also, If you're not the voice/PBX administrator, you'll need to include that person or vendor in the planning and implementation.

Here's a high-level, dead simple setup example, assuming you have two free analog lines..  You download the 30 day fully-functional evaluation copy of GFI Faxmaker to get going.  You buy/borrow the first card on the list, the Brooktrout TR1034+P2-2L-R (2 analog loop-start lines), and install the card and Faxmaker on your Exchange server.  The install wizard sets up Exchange to route all outbound faxes to Faxmaker, and all incoming faxes to be delivered to Exchange as emails.  Take the analog phone lines and plug them into the Brooktrout board.  You set each line to send and receive, configure your cover page/header/footer, and configure your users by adding them from Active Directory to Faxmaker's licensed user list.  You can then designate users or distribution lists to receive the inbound faxes.  Now you've gone and implemented e-faxing. :-)  
If you want the full details, the administration manual is quite good:  http://support.gfi.com/manuals/en/fax12/helpcontents1.htm

Hope that helps.  
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