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Routing Faxes

fax server hylafax routing

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#1 TheFunk

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:55 AM

Howdy yall! Been a while!

This isn't the most phreaking related post ever, but if anyone knows how the phone system works, it's you guys. I'm looking to set up a fax server to replace 15 or 16 fax machines. Rather than continuing to pay maintenance on the lines and the machines when they break, I figure, with the relatively low volume of faxes that I receive (read: generally none) I could keep one line/number and get rid of everything else. Therein lies my problem. Routing incoming faxes when you only have one line is rather difficult so I'm here to ask for advice.

My intended setup (I could be talked out of it, but you guys know how much I like FOSS):

 

- An okay desktop sitting in the networking closet

- Hylafax Server Software

- 1 Good modem (not a Windows modem)

 

My routing plan:

 

- Client program written in Java or C# (because high level Hylafax APIs) to interface with server from desktops OR PREFERABLY a program on the server set to run whenever a faxing event is triggered (can cron do this?)

- 2 core methods, OnSend() and OnRecvd()

- OnSend() when a fax goes out, this method records 1 metric boatload of information and stores that away in a DB. (which floor/department the fax came from, what time it was sent, what number it was sent to, etc)

- ONRecvd() looks at all that stored information when a new fax comes in, maybe even OCR's the document and parses the text for keywords. Assigns a weight to every value in the DB and routes based on highest weight. For example, one category might be: Which department last faxed this number? If any, give the most recent a +2 weight, and every other department that has faxed that number gets a +1. Departments who have never faxed that number get +0. Eventually this system would route the fax to the most likely department's printer/network share.

 

I can see this system working 9 out of 10 times, with the other 1 out of 10 relying on the honor system to get the document where it needs to go. Eventually fax communications will completely die off, so this is only a project that will live on for a few years, but I was hoping for opinions/advice/ideas, from BinRev before moving forward! All code and setup results will be posted later (much later) as per my usual!

Best wishes as always,
TheFunk



#2 ThoughtPhreaker

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 03:28 PM

If I'm understanding your question, usually the way faxing is done with a small amount of incoming lines is to have the auto attendant on your main number listen for the tone a fax machine makes when it calls out. I don't know it off the top of my head, but it's a single frequency tone, and most IVRs know to listen for it. Assuming the spare lines won't be routed back to the PBX, you might want to see if your phone company will forward them to your main number. Changed number intercept messages really don't work well for faxes; people generally don't listen to messages through fax speakers, and if they do, they'll just hear SIT tones and assume the number was disconnected.

 

If you have an IVR and a PBX, you might want to consider using a hunt group, and putting at least one other fax modem in there for the sake of redundancy/flexibility during high volume calling events.



#3 jfalcon

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 03:07 PM

You can get DID's with more than one SIP/IAX channel so that your asterisk can just fork that portion of the dialplan.  Check with your VSP.



#4 chthonic

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:40 AM

I recently set up a HylaFAX box with Avantfax. It's not too terribly difficult to get HylaFAX up and running with IAXModem. So far it's been quite reliable sending and receiving faxes over SIP. I compiled asterisk with the new ulaw/alaw algorithm option for higher quality/less dropped faxes, in theory anway. Avantfax is a very full-featured frontend for HylaFAX, and has many of the options you're looking to implement. You might want to take a look at it, as it's open source.

 

-chthonic






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