People who travel for business often have the need to send and receive fax documents when away from the office. “Fax by email” services may satisfy this need in some locations, but the hazards of finding an appropriate Internet signal make this solution unsatisfactory in many places. Privacy is too often an issue (doing business at Starbucks, anyone?), and one never knows who might be snooping on the signals. Another solution would be to find a Kinko’s store or other public service facility, which can be a problem, especially late at night. Many business-oriented hotels have a communications room available for use – which may be fine if you can find an open desk and don’t mind doing your private business in a public place, not to mention the charges for use of the machines and the hazard of a private fax coming in when you are not there to catch it. In some hotels faxes come in to the office, and any number of people may read your fax before you see it.
This small portable device resolves all the issues. It is small and light enough to carry in a jacket pocket or corner of a briefcase, requires no outside power connection to operate, and can receive and send faxes anywhere in the world where a live modular telephone wire is available. Business can be conducted in the privacy of a hotel room or other secure location at any time of the day or night.
The device is appx. 3 x 5 x 0.75 inches in size. Connections are a standard modular RJ1l type plug in the rear to connect to the telephone line and a USB plug in the front to connect to a computer. The sending and receiving of faxes is powered by the standard telephone line current. A lithium ion battery, such as is used in small digital cameras, is included for powering of status lights, etc., when the unit is not connected to the telephone line or to the computer. This battery is charged by a standard charging unit through a plug in the rear of the unit and will hold enough current to maintain idling function over a period of months.
Sufficient memory is provided to save a substantial number of received faxes waiting for retrieval by a computer. Additionally, a slot is provided for a standard SD card. Fax software is provided with the device and may be either installed on the computer or operated from a thumb drive as a USB drive. In the alternative, commercial fax software, such as Winfax Pro, may be configured to interact with the device.
Operating costs are limited to the cost of using the telephone line. Incoming faxes will usually be free. The cost of outgoing faxes is limited to the regular long-distance charges, same as voice. The only significant operational hurdle is notifying the fax sender of the telephone number to use in sending the fax.