Problems with incoming faxes


J

JoeSpareBedroom

Not sure if this is a hardware (fax modem) issue, or a problem with software
(Winfax 10.03, running on XP Pro SP2):

Once or twice a day, Winfax answers an incoming call, and the only result is
the progress box (with no progress), the sound of the modem trying to
handshake with whatever's on the other end, and the computer gets VERY slow
for about a minute. I've always figured it was an incoming voice call, and
figured "oh well". 99% of the time, incoming faxes work smoothly.

But, I just discovered it's one of several fax machines (not a computer
sending a fax) from my company's home office, not playing nice with my
modem. It's a reasonably new machine, 14.4 k modem inside. Anyone know what
would cause this type of mismatch between two devices?
 
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P

Paul

JoeSpareBedroom said:
Not sure if this is a hardware (fax modem) issue, or a problem with software
(Winfax 10.03, running on XP Pro SP2):

Once or twice a day, Winfax answers an incoming call, and the only result is
the progress box (with no progress), the sound of the modem trying to
handshake with whatever's on the other end, and the computer gets VERY slow
for about a minute. I've always figured it was an incoming voice call, and
figured "oh well". 99% of the time, incoming faxes work smoothly.

But, I just discovered it's one of several fax machines (not a computer
sending a fax) from my company's home office, not playing nice with my
modem. It's a reasonably new machine, 14.4 k modem inside. Anyone know what
would cause this type of mismatch between two devices?

From a hardware perspective, the various kinds of modems are compared and
described in these articles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winmodem
http://www.56k.com/reports/winmodem.shtml

With a soft modem, the driver can make all the difference to how well
they work. On a machine I worked on a couple years ago, I did an
A-B comparison between an external modem (in fact, one very similar to
the one mentioned below, a USR) and a soft modem, and the soft modem
was consistently 1% faster at transferring data than the external modem.
Which surprised and shocked me, because soft modems always used to suck
in the distant past.

But if this really bothers you, you could try an external modem
like this. It may not cure the incompatibility with your office
fax machine, but it has little reason to slow the computer down
while doing so. This one is controller based, so the only
thing coming across the RS-232 cable, will be the fax data.
Your software shouldn't be stuck in a loop doing digital signal
processing (DSP), just the normal FAX protocol stuff.

http://www.usr.com/download/datasheets/modem/568x/5686e-ds.pdf
http://www.usr.com/solutions/modem101.asp (eighth slide shows different types)

The external modem, with controller, is much more expensive, thus the
attraction of the soft modem to replace it. I'm really surprised
USR is still making these. I have an earlier version of the USR
external one and had no problems with it for Internet usage. Only
used it a couple times for sending faxes, and never had it set up
for auto-answer. Connect rate improved considerably, after I fixed
my house phone wiring :) Connector corrosion will do wonderful things
to your connect rate.

HTH,
Paul
 
J

JoeSpareBedroom

Paul said:
From a hardware perspective, the various kinds of modems are compared and
described in these articles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winmodem
http://www.56k.com/reports/winmodem.shtml

With a soft modem, the driver can make all the difference to how well
they work. On a machine I worked on a couple years ago, I did an
A-B comparison between an external modem (in fact, one very similar to
the one mentioned below, a USR) and a soft modem, and the soft modem
was consistently 1% faster at transferring data than the external modem.
Which surprised and shocked me, because soft modems always used to suck
in the distant past.

But if this really bothers you, you could try an external modem
like this. It may not cure the incompatibility with your office
fax machine, but it has little reason to slow the computer down
while doing so. This one is controller based, so the only
thing coming across the RS-232 cable, will be the fax data.
Your software shouldn't be stuck in a loop doing digital signal
processing (DSP), just the normal FAX protocol stuff.

http://www.usr.com/download/datasheets/modem/568x/5686e-ds.pdf
http://www.usr.com/solutions/modem101.asp (eighth slide shows different
types)

The external modem, with controller, is much more expensive, thus the
attraction of the soft modem to replace it. I'm really surprised
USR is still making these. I have an earlier version of the USR
external one and had no problems with it for Internet usage. Only
used it a couple times for sending faxes, and never had it set up
for auto-answer. Connect rate improved considerably, after I fixed
my house phone wiring :) Connector corrosion will do wonderful things
to your connect rate.

HTH,
Paul


Thanks, Paul. Actually, I've got a (relatively) late model external USR
modem that's not being used. Sounds like a project for Saturday, untangling
the wires under the desk, killing the dust monsters, and finding a spot for
yet *another* AC adapter block. :)
 
M

Mike Walsh

The most common reason for serial communication not connecting is different baud rate e.g. one machine set at 9600 baud and the other set for 14400 baud.
 
J

JoeSpareBedroom

Mike Walsh said:
The most common reason for serial communication not connecting is
different baud rate e.g. one machine set at 9600 baud and the other set
for 14400 baud.


OK, but how do you deal with that? 75% of the fax machines I receive from
are sending at 14400. If I tell WinFax to limit all activity to 9600, won't
I cause a mismatch also? What I *did* do last night was change the option
from "As fast as possible" to a limit of 14400. We'll see what happens.
 
M

Mike Walsh

JoeSpareBedroom said:
OK, but how do you deal with that? 75% of the fax machines I receive from
are sending at 14400. If I tell WinFax to limit all activity to 9600, won't
I cause a mismatch also? What I *did* do last night was change the option
from "As fast as possible" to a limit of 14400. We'll see what happens.

If both machines are set to "As fast as possible" they should connect at a speed that works with both machines. The problem usually occurs when each machine is forced to a different speed.
 
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J

JoeSpareBedroom

Mike Walsh said:
If both machines are set to "As fast as possible" they should connect at a
speed that works with both machines. The problem usually occurs when each
machine is forced to a different speed.


I wish I knew how they had their fax machines set up at my home office. But,
they have a tradition there: Any time they buy new hardware, they take the
instruction book outside and burn it. It's pathetic.
 

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