Sending a fax normally takes between 30 to 60 seconds per page.

The factors that affect the duration of sending a fax

  1. Number of pages in the fax. It’s straightforward – more pages mean a longer transmission time.
  2. Resolution setting on the fax machine – Fax machine resolutions can be set to “standard” at 204 x 98 dpi or “fine” at 204 x 196 dpi. A higher resolution setting will cause each fax page to take longer to send.
  3. Fax machine transmission speed – Fax machines can send faxes at different rates, with modern machines typically being capable of faster fax transmission speeds than older machines. Standard rates (also called baud rates) of fax machines range from 2,400 to 28,800 bits per second, with nine steps in between. These exist so that fax machines can negotiate the optimal baud rate between them given various conditions.
  4. Quality of the phone line – If a phone line is “noisy”, it can slow down the fax transmission speed. The sending and receiving fax machines know how to negotiate the rate at which they communicate, and reduce it on noisier lines, taking the fax longer to send.
  5. Type of phone line – Phone lines can run on different types of infrastructure, one of which is Voice over IP (VOIP). VOIP is optimized for voice calls, meaning it is capable of relaying a large number of voice calls on a relatively low-bandwidth IP connection. VOIP takes advantage of our brain’s capacity to fill in occasional missing bits in speech transmission, a capacity which unfortunately does not exist on fax machines. Therefore, faxing is likely to fail on a regular (non-fax-optimized) VOIP lines similarly to how it would fail on a very degraded regular phone line.
  6. Level of detail in the fax – The level of detail affects the fax machine’s ability to compress the transmission. Low-detail faxes get compressed more than high-detail faxes. So, a high-resolution document will take longer to transmit than a lower-resolution document.
  7. Error Correction Mode – Also known as ECM, this is a setting that determines whether the sending and receiving fax machines should verify absolute correctness of the image being transmitted. While it raises the reliability of the fax, it also reduces the transmission speed slightly.

Does online faxing affect transmission time?

When you use an online faxing service, you’re actually using your internet connection to outsource the task of faxing. Someone (actually, a server) somewhere needs to take on the task of sending a fax over regular telephone lines. So the answer is, no, using online faxing does not make a difference in the transmission time of a fax.

Is faxing faster than email?

In general, email is usually faster than faxing. This is especially true if both parties are using up-to-date equipment with good internet connections. That said, faxing can be beneficial in certain situations, such as sending confidential documents or in the absence of an internet connection. But for most purposes, email is a more efficient choice.

How do I confirm if my fax was sent?

Once you send a fax, you should typically receive a confirmation that the fax has been transmitted. This confirmation usually includes the date and time that the fax was sent, as well as the recipient’s fax number. If you don’t receive a confirmation, it’s likely that the fax didn’t go through.

Note that it’s possible that the problem isn’t on your end. Sometimes fax machines get jammed or disconnected, so it may be that the fax was sent successfully but never got to the recipient. If this is the case, try sending another fax.

For a deeper dive into fax confirmations, check out our article “Understanding fax confirmations”.

How can I improve the transmission speed of my fax machine?

Here are some practical tips to enhance your fax machine’s transmission speed:

  1. Use a lower resolution setting: High-resolution settings provide clearer and sharper images but also take longer to transmit. If the quality isn’t a top priority for your document (like a text-only document), consider using a lower resolution setting.
  2. Minimize detail in documents: The more detailed the document (e.g., images, complex diagrams), the longer it takes to fax. If possible, try to minimize the level of detail in your documents.
  3. Ensure your fax machine is well-maintained: Regular maintenance and cleaning can prevent many problems that slow down transmission speeds. Refer to your fax machine’s user manual for maintenance instructions.
  4. Use a direct phone line: If possible, avoid using a shared or busy line for your fax machine. The best results usually come from a direct, dedicated phone line.
  5. Turn off ECM: While Error Correction Mode (ECM) can improve the quality of your faxes, it also slows down transmission. If speed is more important to you than reliability, consider turning off ECM.

Are there specific times when faxing is faster?

The time of day can potentially impact faxing speed, especially for businesses. Here’s why:

  1. Off-peak hours: Faxing during off-peak hours (like late evening or early morning) can be faster because phone lines are generally less congested.
  2. Business hours: If you’re faxing to a business, consider their working hours. They are more likely to receive and acknowledge the fax during this period.
  3. Time zone differences: If you’re sending a fax internationally, be mindful of the recipient’s time zone. Your midday fax might arrive in the middle of the night on their end, possibly causing delays in receipt or response.
  4. Network traffic: Network traffic can impact transmission speed, particularly if you’re using an online faxing service. Faxing outside of peak internet usage times might result in faster transmission.