Atlanta, GA – April 22, 2013 – Commetrex, known for its ability to “make FoIP work,” announces support for the fax media-feature tag specified in RFC 6913, released by the IETF in March. The company plans to add support to its BladeWare fax platform to support intelligent FoIP routing in SIP networks. According to Cliff Schornak, Commetrex’ CTO, “Less-than-optimum routing of FoIP calls by carriers is the primary reason for poor FoIP success rates in international FoIP calls, and it’s not because they don’t want to, it’s because the SIP standards didn’t support it prior to RFC 6913.”
For the last three years, there has been unprecedented cooperation between the international carriers of the i3 Forum and the SIP Forum FoIP Task Group to perform the testing needed to get to the bottom of the poor success rate of international FoIP calls. As reported on the SIP Forum website, these organizations know that the global network can’t complete the move to IP until fax over IP becomes reliable. Fortunately, the testing uncovered systemic problems that can be solved by making small but significant changes to how FoIP calls are routed by the carriers. The SIP Forum recommended a change to industry standards, resulting in RFC 6913, and the i3 Forum is publishing a best-practices document. Together, these initiatives will enable the “PSTN cord to be finally cut,” according to Mike Coffee, Commetrex CEO.
“Today, FoIP calls are sent over routes that, although they might be optimum for voice, are ‘mean and cruel’ to fax,” according to Steve Hersee, of Copia International, which participated in the testing. “These routes were ‘fax-hostile,’ while what we needed were ‘fax-friendly’ routes,” explained Hersee. “There was one big problem: in the standard way FoIP calls are handled, the carrier’s routing algorithms could not know that a call was going to be a fax until the called terminal answered. This made it impossible to route the call over those fax-friendly routes using the current standards. Fortunately, the SIP Forum’s recommended changes were accepted by the ITEF. And now carriers can use the ‘SIP.fax’ media-feature tag to proactively route FoIP calls over qualified rotes. Obviously, we need to get the industry’s equipment and carrier communities on board.”
“That’s where RFC 6913 comes in,” added Coffee. “Fax don’t get no respect,” he says. “There are 16 media-feature tags defined in RFC 3840 that may be put in SIP headers to aid in routing decisions, but not a single one specified that an originating SIP UAC was a fax in order to allow the carrier to select that fax-friendly route. But that’s a thing of the past if we can get the industry to support this initiative. We are excited about these developments and pleased to support them in our products.”