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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Magic Jack Plus For Faxing?


I was going to create my second-ever Youtube video on this subject but after reviewing the multitude of videos already created by others, I figured mine would just add to the cloud of confusion, testimony both good and bad.

One hotly disputed feature is whether or not a person can use the device for faxing. The Magic Jack company itself takes an official position that faxing is not supported however, some people have been successful at it. One technical reason that using a common fax machine over the internet should not work is documented here. So then, what are all these claims that some are successful while others adamantly claim it is not possible and go so far as to claim that those who say they can send faxes over Magic Jack are mistaken or lying? The answer lies in the opening paragraphs of the cited article—it might work, but it is not dependable.

My experience with this: I have maintained contact with a couple business associates from my last employer. I talk to one of them at least once every two to three weeks. Here is the test we ran together: First, I sent him an email containing the one-page fax I was going to attempt to send him. That way, he could compare the document to ensure the whole thing was sent. Then I connected my fax machine to the phone-line connection on the Magic Jack Plus device and used the stand-alone configuration (circumventing the computer).

In the first attempt, I heard my fax machine sending out its “hello” and being answered and accepted by the remote machine. The connection lasted for about 1 minute but then disconnected and my Canon MX860 all-in-one device (printer, fax, scanner) printed a “zero pages sent” notice. I tried to send it again but it never even connected to the remote machine. (I later found out that someone in my associate’s office was sending a fax, which would explain the “no answer” experience.)

For my third attempt I decided to plug the Magic Jack into the computer. This required removing the Ethernet cable connected to the Magic Jack, seeing as the computer already had such. This time the handshake between the two units and the subsequent data dialog lasted about one minute and then ended. This time I received no acknowledging printout of a failed transmission. Within about ten minutes my associate called and said he had received the complete fax.

So my experience pretty much supports the authoritative explanation offered by soft-switch. Bottom line for me would be: In those cases wherein I do decide to use Magic Jack for faxing, I will need to call and confirm the success of the transmission. I also do not trust it enough that anything past a few pages will be possible.

PS: There is one video on youtube that was sort of upsetting because of the self-confident nature of the poster. His “handle” is tech1587. People tend to believe those that claim to be technically qualified and then go on to make a bandstand performance supporting whatever conclusion they want you to reach. In this case he made one attempt sending a document from a fax machine connected to Magic Jack and sending to an on-line service known as efax. He should know that efax is itself an internet solution for faxing and not a straight solution (to another analog device). But instead he concludes that it is Magic Jack that failed and never even considers the possibility that efax may be the culprit or that both together just are not compatible. Having worked as a technician for large corporations I know real testing of anything (software or hardware) takes a bit more diligence.

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12 comments:

  1. I am still not able to find a reliable and cheap VOIP device, lot of people tell me to buy magic jack plus but many buyers complained of their bad customer support where people reported that they waited 2 hours for someone to get back to them and they disconnect if they are not able to answer your questions

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    1. For cheap & reliable voip service, try voipo.com. I have used them for over a year & am satisfied with the service & love the price. Support is U.S. based. I have used MJ Plus to send & receive faxes, but would not call it reliable. Presently, I can receive but not send faxes.

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  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FOfP3YeX3Y&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Have a look at this. This may help undetstand why.

    Great tut. By the way thanks

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  3. I have used magicJack to fax many times. It's not the most reliable but it does the job.

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  4. Bought a Brother MFCJ470-DW , hooked it up to my Magic Jack Plus and Faxed some documents. It Worked fine!

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  5. I own a business in Altoona, PA I tried to fax over regular Magic Jack no go, but using the Magic Jack Plus my faxes work every time! I also use a Brother Fax MFC-J430W

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    1. Of all the articles I've written, this one has the most comments. It appears to be something that a lot of people want. I'm glad to collect & display all the experiences (good and bad) my readers have. So far, though, no bad experiences. I'm also glad you clarified that the "Plus" version is the one to have. I never had the older version. I worked for ATT for long time and, as an employee, I had free landline service as an employee concession. After losing the job, getting MagicJack was a no-brainer for me. Disconnected my landline and saved a good $40/month.

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  6. As of 12:25 pm PT, the MagicJack website's FAQ Knowledge Base states that you should be able to fax directly from MagicJack Plus "should work fine."

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  7. Note to poster identified as "bradleyinthesun:" My blog is a personal blog. I am a consumer like anyone else and am not otherwise related to MagicJack. Posting your billing issues here really doesn't help you. Yes, their billing and poor customer service issues are well-known. However, posting here won't help you resolve the issue.

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  8. Figured I would add a little info that may help when trying to iron out fax/phone line using a MJ+. I just bought a Magic Jack+ and have it set up in a pretty unorthodox setup and it works way better than my old copper Tel line and even a bit better than Time Warners cable phone service. This is what I have. I have cable internet (TimeWarner standard) witch is 15mbs down and like 1mbs up Nothing special. I have my MJ+ hooked up thru a Netgear Prosafe Firewall that is connected to my Cable modem. My MJ uses a dynamic IP set by the firewalls built in dhcp server. It connects and has no issues remaining on line. On the phone side I have my MJ+ hooked up to a US Robotics USR4000 Phone/Fax/Modem switch. From the switch phone port I have a Vtech cordless phone system and a cheap brother fax machine used for sending faxes only. The Fax port of the USR4000 is connected to a computer with an old GVC Data/Fax modem. The computer is setup to pick up the incoming fax directed by the USR4000 via the modem and Email the faxes to a centralized email account that forwards them to other users email in boxes. This way I can stay as paperless as possible. And it all works flawlessly.
    All normal corded household phones are analog and if you plug it in your MJ it works right! Then your analog modem that (converts digital to analog) hence MOdulate DEModulate should work as well. And the same for your Fax machine. In essence your Magic Jack is just a modem its self just with a lot more bells and whistles. Faxing is essentially one fax machine screaming at the other! Faxing is a slow antiquated means of transferring data over an analog "voice network". So if you can scream in one end of something and have it come out the other end you can send a fax thru it. Remember the modems where you would set the telephone receiver on it and it would connect to the computer at the other end by squealing and screeching into the modem? Yea no one is that old right! :) Well the concepts are still the same. Your MJ connects your analog telephone equipment to the internet. The internet is a full digital network consisting of fiber optic, copper and electromagnetic networks that far out pace the old two wire analog copper phone lines that have been hanging around for the past few hundred years. Don't get all hung up on this part of it! The analog phone, fax, modem or switch connected to your MJ+ phone plug should work as if it was still on the old copper lines only maybe better. Obviously a good "always on" and quick "low response time" internet connection will be more reliable.

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  9. I use a magicjack plus and it only fax's to some numbers. It takes several trys to send a complete fax some times

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    1. Hello, Talk Parts. Although some have disagreed with me, it has been my personal observation that if the fax number you are trying to reach is actually a computerized bank of digital recorders, those will not complete the handshake with MagicJack.

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