Even though it was invented more than 170 years ago, faxing is still highly used nowadays. This communication method is still necessary for business purposes, for legal documents that require a signature and so on. The only thing that’s changed is the technology used to send faxes and internet was what changed faxing for the better.
Online faxing, also known and referred to as digital, virtual, e-faxing or internet faxing, has taken the digital world by storm and it is gradually replacing traditional faxing all over the world.
How does online faxing work?
Online faxing is the technology of sending faxes via internet protocols, instead of the PSTN (public switched telephone network).
In order to be able to send/receive faxes over the internet, you first have to sign up for an online fax service. You will then receive a fax number that can be a toll-free number, a local or an international one.
To send a fax over the internet, you have to go to your e-mail account, create a new mail and complete all the fields. You type in the fax number of the recipient, which has a format that looks like: firstname.lastname@example.org. You attach the content you want faxed (depending on the provider, online fax services support most of the common file formats, from PDF to docx, TXT, RTF, JPEG, PNG and others). You can also add a subject and message in the body field, although these are optional. Than you click on ‘send’ and that’s it.
After you send a fax over the internet, you also get a confirmation e-mail, so that you can ensure the fax has reached its recipient.
Benefits of online faxing
Online faxing helps you significantly cut your expenses, because it eliminates some costly investments: the fax machine itself (although internet faxing works with fax machines as well, they are not a requirement, you can send/receive faxes just using your computer, as long as you have an internet connection), the cost of paper, toners and so on.
It is also better for the environment, because fewer trees have to get cut for paper production.
It is convenient and easy to use and you don’t have to deal with moody fax machines that break down or need regular maintenance.
Online faxing is also more flexible than traditional faxing, because you can send and receive faxes no matter where you are in the world, as long as you have a reliable device and internet connection at your disposal. Most online fax services also have mobile apps so you can send faxes straight from your smartphone.
RingCentral fax – is it any good?
RingCentral is a renowned communication technology company headquartered in Belmont, California. It doesn’t just offer online fax services but also VoIP services and it is a leader in the industry.
When it comes to fax services, RingCentral has 4 plans to choose from: Fax750, Fax1500, Fax2500 and Fax Unlimited.
FAX 750 is their most basic plan and it costs $12.99/month. It includes 750 pages per month and web support. Phone support is not available with this plan, only with the other three.
FAX 1500 is priced at $17.99/month and includes 1500 pages per month and also comes with phone support.
FAX 2500 is $49.99/month and includes 2500 pages per month.
FAX UNLIMITED is their most expensive plan and it will cost you from $39.99 per month. However, you have to contact RingCentral’s sales team to get a customized offer. There is no limit in the number of pages you can send and this plan is the only one that includes 2 shared fax numbers instead of just 1, as it is the case with the rest of the plans.
Aside from the 4 plans, RingCentral also offers a free trial for 30 days, so you can test the service and the interface before you actually pay for any of the plans.
All plans come with Cloud integration via Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and Microsoft Outlook.
There are also add-ons available as follows: additional fax-numbers for $4.99/month and additional 800 and vanity numbers, for a $30 fee (one-time charge).
Features included with RingCentral
- RingCentral operates in 49 states and also in the district of Columbia. You can keep your existing fax numbers or you can choose between toll-free, local or vanity numbers
- As mentioned above, RingCentral offers cloud integration with Google Drive, Box, Dropbox and integration with Microsoft Office
- RingCentral sends alerts on your phone when you have new income faxes
- You can send up to 200 pages in a single fax (the limit is 20MB), but that should be enough for most users
- You can send faxes to an unlimited number of recipients
- RingCentral supports all the common file formats, such as pdf, psd, rtf, xml text files, as well as jpg, jpeg, bmp, gif png, tif, tiff, pcx and tga graphic image files, html, wq, csv
- RingCentral offers storage for up to 200 faxes for an unlimited period of time
- You can create Groups for FaxOut and send faxes to all the members included in the group
- You can block faxes from senders without caller ID
- You can create custom cover sheets, preview and print faxes
- RingCentral has a clean, straightforward interface and from your online account you can see detailed electronic fax logs
All in all, RingCentral is a complex service with plans suited for all types of faxing needs. You can port your number or choose between a variety of numbers, including vanity ones, you can send your faxes to an unlimited number of recipients, you can receive alerts on your phone and block faxes from unknown sources. Cloud storage for your faxes is unlimited, which is another great thing. The only problem with RingCentral is that it is not among the most affordable online fax services on the market, so if you only need to send/receive faxes occasionally, you might want to consider a cheaper service.