Home >> February 2008 Edition >> SatFax
by Riley W. Tookey


Have you ever had one of those days when you absolutely, positively had to get a fax copy to someone and the fax machine simply refused to cooperate in any way, shape, or form? Throwing the machine out of a window may be one solution… putting your foot through the fax another…

Most of us have experienced “issues” when using the facsimile machine in the office. Yet, when at a remote site, the frustrations incurred while at the office when using the machine could, actually, become the norm. Most attempts at faxing over an IP connection… or even worse, a satellite link… are at the least unreliable and, more often than not, seemingly impossible!

Whether you use a satellite or cellular connection, or even a VoIP telephone system, faxing becomes a substantive issue. If you remained near your office fax machine and counted how many times a day coworker’s use the item, you would quite quickly realize faxing is not an endangered activity… it’s not going to go away in the near future.

At SatFax Networks, we had challenges faxing documents via the satellite IP connection. We quickly understood destroying, or otherwise instigating a vendetta against the fax machine, simply was not a reality. We needed the machine.


We asked our software designers to find a viable solution. They accepted the challenge and created today’s only true fax machine to fax machine solution that will absolutely, positively, fax over almost any IP connection with a realistic bandwidth. The end user simply places his or her document into the fax, enters the receiving fax number, pushes the send button, and walks away. It really is that easy.

The Fax Terminal AdaptorFTA—emulates the dial tone of the receiving fax machine and receives the fax from the sending fax machine. The FTA converts the fax into a data transmission and sends the data to the SatFax Gateway. The gateway back office records the transaction and copies the fax for storage. Subsequently, the SatFax servers convert the data back into a standard fax transmission, which is sent to the destination fax over the public switch telephone network. The SatFax system is not affected by latency, jitter, packet loss or any other issue related to faxing over the Internet.

The Internet was invented after the fax machine, and it became the ideal tool for business and personal communication. Many thought email would eliminate the need for faxing, and the fax would become a technology of the past. Unfortunately, the Internet has no provisions for facsimile transmission protocols. We continue to need the fax copy for a variety of reasons, ranging from legal signatures to supporting other offices and staff not as IP-capable as today’s average 20-year old.

After our fax machine discovery, we thought it highly advisable to see if other wished to share our solution to the fax dilemma. We discovered the entire world, seemingly, requires this solution. We met with networks operators and service providers—everyone agreed—our solution works for them.

The SatFax is the first device solving three, persistent, satcom problems…
  • Superior quality voice calls using minimal bandwidth
  • Reliable faxing each time; every time
  • Efficient VPN connectivity regardless of carrier
The SatFax eliminates any risk of eavesdropping or message interception through the application of advanced encryption technology applied to all transmissions. The procedure is secure; the United States Army uses the identical compression and encryption in their Land Warrior system that’s deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

VoIP - In the past, customers had to choose between call quality and bandwidth when selecting a VoIP solution. The SatFax delivers audio quality equal to a major telephone company’s service, but at a fraction of the bandwidth required by any but the lowest quality audio codecs. Bandwidth economy compounds as the number of lines running over the system increases. SatFax simplifies setup and administration because calls automatically traverse NAT at the firewall (unlike the popular VoIP transport SIP which requires additional procedures to NAT). This VoIP system is so efficient that the savings on bandwidth alone could cover the cost of the telephone service.

Fax - Studies report that 30 percent of all IP faxes fail. Faxing over satellite is even less reliable, with results varying greatly, based upon the quality of the satellite link.
The SatFax employs proprietary procedures to send and receive fax messages across any IP network successfully, 100 percent of the time. Faxes reliably arrive regardless of whether or not the network is optimized for VoIP; regardless of packet losses, jitter, or latency. Drop a document in a standard fax machine and dial a number. It’s that easy. Never resend a fax with the SatFax unit.

VPN - In the past, a secure connection meant required users selecting between encryption devices that cost thousands of dollars or by sacrificing performance. Worse, the expensive boxes often required a separate entry point from the outside, raising serious concerns about network vulnerability. The SatFax costs a fraction of those other systems and delivers standard IP sec tunnel traffic to the corporate firewall. No special treatment required. No security issues. The unit supports AES, 3DES, and other encryption schemes in addition to full dynamic routing (RIP, OSPF, BGP, etc.), plus data compression, and web caching for extra efficiency. The SatFax works equally well over cellular, Wi-Fi, and WiMAX… certainly a logical choice for most remote communication needs.

Riley Tookey worked for many years within Telco and Mobility companies before moving to the RF side to consult on Radio and Satellite system solutions. When asked to join the SatFax team, as Vice President of Sales & Marketing, the concept of recreating the fax to work over IP struck him as a natural evolution. A long-term member of the communications industry, he is called on regularly to assist in designing and implementing systems that will bring ‘downtown communication features’ to remote locations in support of Forestry and Oil & Gas Industries throughout Canada.