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How Internet Faxing Works

Internet Faxing From a PDA
Faxes can be sent to PDAs.
Faxes can be sent to PDAs.
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Internet faxing from a handheld device like a BlackBerry, Treo, PocketPC or Palm is also called mobile faxing. Just like with desktop Internet faxing, you'll need three things to be able to fax from these personal digital assistants, or PDAs:

  1. Internet connectivity
  2. Ability to send and receive e-mails
  3. A subscription Internet-faxing service

Getting Online

Handheld mobile devices use various methods and technologies to connect to the Internet:

  • Some PDAs have traditional modems that plug into a phone line or a cell phone for dial-up Internet connectivity.
  • Most PDAs have the ability to "sync" with a computer through a cradle or direct connection to the PC. If the PC is connected to the Internet, so is the connected handheld device.
  • Like higher-end cell phones and smartphones, PDAs can connect to the Internet through cellular carriers operating over wireless wide-area networks (WANs).
  • And, much like a laptop computer, a PDA with a wireless card can connect to the Internet through wireless local area networks (LANs) or Wi-Fi "hotspots," like those in most airports.

Once you have Internet connectivity on your mobile device, you send and receive faxes the same way you would from a computer.

Advantages of Mobile Fax

The most important advantage of mobile fax is that you can send and receive faxes from anywhere, any time with an Internet-enabled handheld device. For the sales representative or other worker who's rarely in the office, mobile faxing is yet another useful communications tool.

Mobile fax also gives you the ability to print documents from your handheld to any nearby fax machine. There's no need to buy a fancy mobile printer or worry about having the right drivers installed to use the printer at the hotel.

Printing to a fax machine is exactly the same as sending a mobile fax.

  1. Simply attach the document you want to print to an e-mail, and send it to the fax number of the closest fax machine.
  2. Your subscription Internet-faxing service will convert the document to a fax.
  3. Seconds later, the fax machine will print out your document.

Now that you know how to fax from a desktop, laptop or PDA, let's look at some reasons people use this feature instead of the traditional fax machine.