Inbound fax routing

Inbound fax routing
Inbound fax routing
Femail® 2000, Modular Unified Messaging for business-critical communication
Terminology
Femail® 2000 is the open architecture and modular
Unified Messaging Software from Coteng.
A destination can be a single address or group of
addresses and an address can be a mailbox (MS
Exchange, Lotus Notes, SMTP), network printer,
application or part of any other environment supported
by Femail® 2000.
Introduction
When talking about inbound fax routing we have to start by looking at how we can collect the
information on which we will do our routing. The purpose of this white paper is to give you an overview
of the methods that are available to collect this routing information.
Manual routing
Line or channel routing
Sender based routing
OCR
DTMF
DDI/DID
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Unless mentioned otherwise in the description all these methods are supported by the Femail 2000
Unified Messaging System.
Not covered by this white paper is how this routing information can then be used to match with a
specific destination. For more information about our standard routing support or options like the
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Femail 2000 LDAP Search service, Femail 2000 Serial DDI service etc. please use the contact
information you can find at the end of this document or visit our Web site at www.coteng.com.
Manual routing
With manual routing, inbound faxes go to a common destination and are distributed ‘by hand’ by one
or more persons to the intended recipient(s). Routing is done by looking at the fax cover page and
then electronically forwarding the fax or physically delivering the print out to the recipient.
Although this method requires minimal initial investment, it has many disadvantages. Among these are
a loss of privacy, a risk of delivery to the wrong person, the potential for significant delivery delays,
and the overhead of having someone review each and every fax that is received. This technique only
makes sense if inbound traffic is minimal or initial costs must be as low as possible.
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Line or channel routing
With this method the routing is done based on the physical line or channel. All faxes received on a
specific line or channel will then be routed to the same destination.
While this setup is fairly straightforward and can be a good solutions in smaller environments, or
environments with limited routing requirements, the largest disadvantage is that the number of
different destinations your faxes can be routed to is limited by the number of available physical lines or
channels.
Routing table
Fax
Femail® 2000 .
12345678
Patrick
Channels
Users
Channel 1
Channel 2
Channel 3
etc.
Patrick
Paul
Peter
etc.
Paul
Peter
Sender based routing
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With this routing method, Femail 2000 automatically routes the inbound fax to a specific destination
according to the identification of the sending fax machine. Rather than the sender specifying to whom
a fax is routed, the receiver does, by analyzing who sent it. This can be accomplished in one of two
ways. Either for analogue lines by looking at the TSI (Transmitting Station Identifier) that is send along
with the fax as part of the fax protocol or for ISDN lines by looking at the Calling Party Number which
is part of the ISDN information during a call.
This setup is typically useful when you have a fairly fixed set of correspondents and messages coming
from a correspondent are typically handled by the same person or department.
OCR
For routing fax messages OCR (Optical Character Recognition) could be used to attempt to
electronically read a portion of the fax image to try and recognize the intended recipient. While this
sounds great the problem is that OCR technology is not currently good enough to interpret a
handwritten name or number reliably and even in many cases the quality of fax images will not be
good enough to allow recognition of typed text (especially when the fax was sent using a paper fax).
Obviously, this technique is not well suited to general purpose faxing but may work reasonably well for
special applications. Although manual intervention will still be required for faxes that cannot be
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electronically read. Note that, due to the disadvantages mentioned above, Femail 2000 does not
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currently use OCR for automatic routing purposes. There is however a Femail 2000 OCR service
available that supports OCR technology for integrating image to document processing into your
message flow.
DTMF
DTMF, which stands for Dual Tone Multi-Frequency, is a technique to send additional routing
information along with the normal fax number over an analogue line. DTMF routing information can be
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included in a fax message directly by the sender of the fax. The person sending the fax dials the fax
number and then waits until the other side pick up. The sender then keys in the DTMF code, which
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could be considered as a fax extension number. The Femail 2000 server will intercept this extra
extension number and will use it to route the fax message to its destination.
If you do not have a PABX this is an effective way if you want to do automatic routing to more
recipients than there are fax numbers available. However, because this way of working requires some
extra manipulation by your correspondents this method might lead to confusion. Also note that DTMF
is not supported in all countries.
Routing table
Fax
Femail® 2000 .
12345678 * 0236
DTMF
Users
0234
0235
0236
etc.
Patrick
Paul
Peter
etc.
Patrick
Paul
Peter
DDI/DID
Direct Dialing Inwards (DDI), also known as Direct Inward Dialing (DID) implies that you ask your
telecom provider to assign more than one telephone number to your physical line (or lines) for inbound
calls. You then are no longer limited to the number of fax lines that are physically available. Any
destination can now have his/her own direct fax number in the same way they have their own direct
telephone number. This means that, unlike with DTMF routing, the sender of a fax can simply dial a
typical fax number and does not need to worry about the ‘fax extension number’.
A DDI phone line is often referred to as a "trunk" because it is a single physical line that supports
multiple phone numbers. In order to be able to use DDI you do however need a PABX that supports it
(most PABX systems do).
When a fax call comes into the PABX via a DDI trunk line, the PABX will hand over the fax to the
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Femail 2000 server together with information about the fax number that was dialed. Femail 2000
detects that information and uses it to route the fax.
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The way in which the fax number digits are past to Femail 2000 will depend on the capabilities of
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your PABX and the type of lines that connect it to the Femail 2000 server. In case Femail 2000 is
connected to the PABX using analogue lines, typically DTMF is used to send the routing data from the
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PABX to Femail 2000. In case the connection is made via ISDN lines routing information can be
passed via the ISDN Called Party Number. Other PABX systems offer the routing information via a
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separate RS232 serial connection with the Femail 2000 server.
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Routing table
Fax
Femail® 2000 .
12340236
12340234
DTMF
Users
0234
0235
0236
etc.
Patrick
Paul
Peter
etc.
PABX
Fax
Patrick
Paul
Peter
Summary
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When working with Femail 2000, many different ways are available to achieve inbound fax routing,
based on the available resources and requirements. Giving you the possibility to select the technology
that is most suited to your needs. As, next to intercepting the routing information, it is also important to
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have a flexible and powerful tool to match routing information with various destinations Femail 2000
offers many standard features and options for inbound fax automation and integration. It was not our
intention to cover this in this white paper, but if you would like to know more about this visit
www.coteng.com or feel free to contact us, we will be happy to answer your questions.
Femail 2000 is also available for Microsoft Exchange  , Lotus Notes , Novell GroupWise .
Internet SMTP via InterFemT M and WebspressoT M a Web based client are also available. Ask us for more information
Femail is a registered trademark of Coteng n.v.
Coteng is registered as a Microsoft Solution Provider, IBM / Lotus Business Partner, Novell professional developer, Oracle
Business partner and member of the Network Professional association.
Coteng Belgium
Kruiningestraat 6+8
B-2100 Deurne (Antwerp)
Belgium
Tel +32-3-326.43.13
Fax +32-3-326.42.79
[email protected]
www.coteng.com
Coteng white paper: Inbound fax routing
Coteng Nederland
Einsteinstraat 67
3316 GG Dordrecht
The Netherlands
Tel +31-78-652.11.60
Fax +31-78-652.11.59
[email protected]
www.coteng.com
Coteng 2003
IT Bright pvt. Ltd
102/1 North Avenue
Srinagar Colony (Saidapet)
Chennai 600-015 India
Tel +91-44-2220.90.79
Fax +91-44-2220.07.62
[email protected]
www.itbright.com
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