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Fax on Skype?

Can you fax through Skype?

No, unfortunately not.

We had a bright idea one day. “Hey! If we can hook up an answering machine to Skype, why not a fax machine and send/receive international faxes without all of the cost!” So we performed a simple test to check if our bright idea would work.

To start off we hooked up two USBB2K Skype Telboxes to two computers that are connected to the Internet, and then connected a fax machine to each Skype Telbox. The theory was that the Skype Telbox would convert the skype calls into regular telephone signals and complete the connection between the two fax machines.

(Note: AU-600 and Yealink B3G Skype Diverter can also do the work.)

We found that the two fax machines could be connected to each other through this setting, however, the connection drops right after the fax machines start to handshake (talk to each other.) Normally, a fax machine will create long beeping or screeching sounds when it connects to another machine. In our trial the beeping sound was short before stopping, thus indicating that the connection failed.

After doing some more research over the Internet, we found the following description in Wikipedia.org about the G.729 codec Skype uses for its audio signal:

G.729 is an audio codec for voice that compresses voice audio in chunks of 10 milliseconds. Music or tones such as DTMF or Fax tones cannot be transported reliably with this codec.”

This is why faxes cannot be sent through Skype. In the future, we hope Skype will open up more ports on the computer for its service and provide a less compressed method of communication when a user needs to send a fax.

Update on 10/07/2008: Pamela Fax is a service provided from Pamela to enable users to send faxes using Skype Credit. Please find the step-by-step operation guide of using Pamela Fax in the following video clip.



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