Corporate fax server for Windows Faxination

Fax server for MS Exchange Faxination

Faxination is a true integrated messaging system for Microsoft Exchange. It allows users to send and receive fax messages, from their desktop, using the familiar Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Mail interface. Faxination lets the user install and configure the Standard and Corporate versions of Faxination for Microsoft Exchange, associated fax products and their device drivers. The system is to be installed on Microsoft Windows NT server running Microsoft Exchange Version 4.0 or later or Microsoft Mail Version 3.x. From large companies to small departments, Faxination offers a fit-to-size solution for all your corporate fax needs.

The Faxination Server

Faxination for Microsoft Exchange supports every size network, from a small workgroup with a single telephone line, to an enterprise backbone comprising thousands of users, with a virtually unlimited number of lines. The Faxination architecture is based on a three layer structure:

  • Host Layer - The interface to the messaging system. All system specific characteristics are implemented in this layer and isolated from the kernel.
  • Kernel Layer - The core functions: message conversion (mail to fax), address resolution, for example, proxy addressing, security, auditing and scheduling.
  • Device Layer - The interface to the actual hardware devices. Sends and receives messages between the hardware and the kernel.

The interface between the layers is based on RPC (Remote Procedure Calls), a communication mechanism which is also available in Microsoft Windows NT. It is automatically integrated in the protocol that you are using, for example, TCP/IP, and allows implementation of the different layers on different systems. Inbound addressing features, for example, DID, DTMF, ISDN DID and CCITT T.30, are supported on selected devices. These standards provide the functionality for mapping telephone/telefax extension numbers to Microsoft Exchange mailbox ids, therefore enabling faxes to be automatically routed to the addressees mailbox without intervention by the Gateway operator.

The Gateway Process

The Gateway periodically checks the assigned mail store for incoming messages. If a message is waiting, the Gateway will remove it from the mail store, convert it to a graphic format and generate the assigned fax coversheet. The fax is now ready to be sent.

The Gateway attempts to send the faxes according to its internal schedule. If the fax number is busy, it will automatically retry a set number of times. When the final status (sent/not sent) has been determined, the Gateway will return a notification message to the sender. When a fax transmission is successful, the user will receive a notification stating, for example. Transmission to "fax number" at "time of transmission" - successful. For an unsuccessful transmission, the user could receive a notification message containing an explanation such as, Transmission to "fax number" at "Transmission Time" - Number does not Exist, or Transmission to "fax number" at "Transmission Time" - Unsuccessful after "n attempts". The Send Again option of the Non-Delivery notification allows the user to re-submit the fax message for another delivery attempt.

The type and level of information, and the language, of the notification messages can be tailored to the requirements of your organization or specific departments. All gateway activity is logged and can be retrieved using the Faxination for Microsoft Exchange - Fax History Log.

The Gateway periodically checks the message store for outbound messages. These messages are converted to the TIFF graphical fax format and sent to the assigned fax number. The specified, or assigned, coversheet of the user will automatically be attached to the fax message.

The user will receive a mail notification from the Faxination Server containing information about the success or failure of their fax message. A feature of Faxination for Microsoft Exchange is that you, the System Administrator, can determine the type and level of information, and the language that will be used in the mail notifications.

Incoming faxes in the Gateway are automatically converted into a Microsoft Exchange message with the fax as a graphic attachment. The Wang Image Viewer for Windows NT and Windows 95, or Faxination Fenviewer will automatically display the fax when the message is opened.

Sending a Fax Message

Sending a fax message is the same as sending any other message within Microsoft Exchange. The message can actually be sent to a fax recipient, and Microsoft Exchange recipients simultaneously. The fax message is composed in the exchange client and addressed to a FAX-type. ASCII, DCX, and most OFFICE 97 files can also be attached to the fax message.

Addresses can be selected from a global Microsoft Exchange address book, a personal Microsoft Exchange address book, or they can be created individually. When the message has been created, it is sent to the local post office from where, Microsoft Exchange handles the delivery of all fax messages to the Gateway server.

The Routing Workstation

Faxination for Microsoft Exchange fully supports DID, DTMF, ISDN DID, and CCITT T.30. These features, however, may not be available from your local Telecom Service Provider, or they may not be supported by your installed faxboard or internal P(A)BX. In this case, inbound faxes without sub-addressing, or routing information, will be sent to a routing workstation where the workstation operator can quickly view the cover page of the incoming fax and then forward the fax, by email to the recipient.

A routing workstation can be assigned to each fax line connected to the Gateway. This routing workstation can be a member of a downstream PostOffice.

Using the application printer queue for sending fax messages Faxination for Microsoft Exchange provides an add-on feature for Corporate Editions: Application Printer Queue Support. Application Printer Queue Support enables users to send faxes from any application, by simply printing the fax to a network printer queue which is serviced by the Faxination Gateway. Notifications of messages sent via this medium are received directly in the inbox of the user. Fax coversheets can be assigned to each printer queue that is connected to the Gateway.

Scheduling and Bundled Transmission

Faxination for Microsoft Exchange provides features for scheduling and bundling transmissions of faxes. Faxes with, for example, a low priority, can be scheduled to be sent by the gateway at a time, generally after office hours or weekends, when the Telecom rates are low. The transmission time is based on the dialling prefix (often containing the country code) of the fax number and the priority of the message.

The bundled transmission option enables faxes to frequently used destinations to be queued, depending on a given time frame, and sent as one transmission.

Least Cost Routing

Faxination for Microsoft Exchange users with a multi-server configuration in a multi-national environment can use least cost routing for generating and transmitting faxes. For example, if the Faxination Server A is located in the UK and the Faxination Server B is located in the USA, the systems can be configured so that faxes can be sent as individual or bundled messages in Microsoft Exchange and forwarded from the most suitable server. Using the Microsoft Exchange server is far more cost effective than dedicated telephone lines. The result would be, for example, that Server B (USA) can be used as the Gateway for all fax transmissions from Europe to North, Central and South America, whereas Server A (UK) could be used as the Gateway for all fax transmissions from the Americas continent to the European continent. This method allows full utilization of lower continental telephone charges as opposed to inter-continental call tariffs.

Receiving Faxes

The Faxination for Microsoft Exchange server automatically converts incoming faxes to Microsoft Exchange messages with the fax as a graphic attachment. The format of the attachment, for example, TIFF-image or DCX, can be determined in Faxination for Microsoft Exchange.

If DID, DTMF, ISDN DID or CCITT T.30 addressing is available, the Gateway can translate the extension numbers to a full Microsoft Exchange address and automatically route the fax directly to the users inbox. See the Faxination for Microsoft Exchange - System Administration for a full description for mapping extension number to mailbox addresses.

When inbound messages have been converted and addressed, they will be sent to the addressee via Microsoft Exchange. Messages that do not contain inbound addressing information are delivered to the Routing Workstation where a designated user can read and route the message based on information in the coversheet. The addressee will receive the fax in their Microsoft Exchange inbox in the same way that they receive any other email message. The fax is an attachment to the Microsoft Exchange message. Opening the message will automatically open the Wang Viewer for Windows NT or Windows 95.

Cost Management

Faxination for Microsoft Exchange - Corporate Editions are also provided with the Faxination Cost Manager and a licensed Crystal Reports Report Generator. These products combine to provide a powerful and flexible tool for financial administration and reducing telecommunication costs.

The Faxination Cost Manager enables you to create and edit tables which are used for calculations by both the Cost Manager and Crystal Reports. The totals are then incorporated in reports that can be customized to the companys requirements. Generated reports can be used for calculating costs per, for example, fax/user and fax/department. These reports can incorporate:

  • Fields Various fields including, user name telephone, country, call duration, and department.
  • Records Select and/or sort records from the log database on a Per User, destination or department basis, or per time period, such as week or month.
  • Totals Calculate totals per charge code, user, department ......

Faxination Add-Ons

In keeping with Fenestraes philosophy for True Integrated Messaging (TIM), several add-on products are available for Faxination for Microsoft Exchange Version 3.0. These add-on products include:

  • Telex Connector The Faxination Telex Connector enables users to compose and send telexes from within the Faxination for Microsoft Exchange environment. Telex is the only legally recognized form of electronic communication and is still, therefore, an essential medium for many companies.
  • SMS Connector The Faxination SMS Connector enables users to send Short Message Service (SMS) messages to, for example, mobile messaging systems.
  • Sitatex Connector The Faxination Sitatex Connector enables users, generally within the Airline industry, to communicate using Sitatex.

Faxination for Microsoft Exchange add-ons are, like Faxination for Microsoft Exchange, easy to implement and easy to use. Because of this strategy, no additional training is required and the learning curve for the individual user is very short, making Faxination for Microsoft Exchange a very efficient and cost-effective telecommunications medium.