In 3Q2012, the state of FoIP is good. Why? Because the right things are happening. In the enterprise, FoIP has become a given in the corporate network. True, many smaller organizations still keep their POTS lines for fax, but in larger private networks, fax is either done over SIP trunking or via gateways to the PSTN. But the real action is in service provider and carrier networks.

Just returned from ITEXPO. It was in blazing-hot Austin, TX, which is a very cool town. And it was very cool for Commetrex and NetGen Communications, our sister company, which is producing and marketing Smart ATA, which we announced at the show. It also turned out to be way cool for the ITSPs who stopped at our booth when they learned about Smart ATA, and what it could do for their success with FoIP.

If you read our newsletters, you may remember that Commetrex has developed a new FoIP technology, Smart FoIP, which, among other things, improves the success of FoIP session establishment by up to 10% in SIP networks. Now, instead of talking about technology, we’re talking about a product that uses the technology to solve major problems for the industry.

[caption id="attachment_2477" align="alignright" width="133"]Cliff Schornak Cliff Schornak[/caption] In marketing, it’s axiomatic that the market leader enjoys the highest margins, but it doesn’t end there. It extends to giving the large company a ride when it comes to interoperability problems in the field. If there’s a problem, it must be the little guy. Right? In this case, the little guy is Commetrex. And even though we can make a very strong case for being the industry’s interop leader, we still must prove that it’s not our problem if the other vendor is much bigger then we are. Goes with the territory.

Smart FoIPThe wide-scale deployment of V.34 fax terminals is making the design of FoIP-capable IP-PSTN gateways much more of a challenge since V.34 terminals employ a completely different start-up sequence than non-V.34 machines. Moreover, since gateways typically begin calls in G.711 pass-through mode (rather than T.38), V.34-capable endpoints can actually “hear each other” well in advance of the resolution of the SIP signaling resolving the session’s setup. This means the gateways must take an “activist” role to ensure that T.38 is “given a chance” prior to the endpoints going on their merry way, leaving the gateways behind.

Whenever I hear someone tell me that T.38 isn’t capable of bringing reliable real-time fax to IP-carrier networks, I resist the temptation to roll my eyes. Instead, with missionary zeal, I explain that if T.38 provides reliable fax in enterprise IP networks, and, if real-time fax is problematic in carrier networks, it’s not because there is a problem with T.38, there’s a problem with the way it’s being used ... possibly abused. You might argue that it doesn’t matter why, either it does the job or it doesn’t. Good point. Read on.