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Is Faxing Obsolete? A Guide To Online Faxing in 2021

Here’s a question for you: are fax machines still relevant in your business? Over the past few years, the NBN rollout has disconnected the PSTN and ISDN fax lines that fax machines used. But that doesn’t mean Australian businesses have stopped faxing.

Nationwide, businesses are still faxing via the internet using a new technology called ‘online faxing’. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the state of online faxing 2021.

What Replaced The Fax Machine?

While fax machines aren’t entirely obsolete, fax users have progressively switched to online faxing since it was first released to the public in 1996.

Online faxing is sometimes called ‘internet faxing’, ‘web faxing’ or ‘digital faxing’. As the name suggests, online faxing uses the internet to transmit faxes. When you send a fax through online faxing, your faxing provider encodes the fax with Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption and transmits it via their servers.

Essentially, online faxing sends faxes like this: your computer → fax provider –>  internet → recipient’s computer. Alternatively, traditional faxing sends faxes like this: fax machine → fax lines → recipient’s fax machine.

So why is online faxing replacing traditional faxing? That’s simple: online faxing is more reliable.

Why Is A Fax Machine Unreliable In 2021?

Fax machines were a very innovative form of communication throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, but they have fallen short of modern standards. There are three key reasons fax machines are unreliable in 2021.

  1. They Aren’t Cyber Secure.

Fax machines are not cyber secure, as anyone can steal a fax by simply taking it from your fax machine’s printer tray. This can have disastrous consequences for businesses, as fax-thievery can result in your business losing client data, confidential business secrets or financial information that exposes your business to identity theft.

While becoming a victim of cybercrime may seem far fetched, it’s more common than you may think. Between the 1st of July 2019 to the 30th of June 2020, Australian’s reported 59,806 cybercrimes to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Additionally, data from the Victorian Government shows that the average business victimised by cybercrime loses $276,000 – meaning the consequences of cybercrime are devastating for small businesses.

  1. Fax Machines Are Expensive

Running a traditional fax machine adds up fast. To run a fax machine, you need to pay for the machine, fax line rental costs, paper, toner, maintenance and repairs. These expenses cost the average business $1,259.76 annually. For comparison, online fax costs as little as $169.50 through services like eFax.

  1. Fax Machines Are Slow

Traditional fax machines use a single line per machine, meaning they can only send and receive one fax at a time. While this is fast enough for occasional fax users, fax machines simply aren’t quick enough for fast-paced businesses that need to share documents within minutes.

Online faxing is generally faster, as 90% of faxes sent through online fax provider eFax arrive in under 60 seconds.

Online Faxing 2021: Your Options

As traditional faxing is unreliable and increasingly outdated, over 11 million people now use online faxing through eFax alone.

To use online faxing, you will need to sign up through a provider like eFax. Then, you can use eFax’s online faxing system to send faxes from either a new fax number or your current fax number.

Ways To Send Online Fax In 2021

There are four ways to send and receive faxes via eFax:

  • Email = eFax can connect to your email, giving you the ability to fax from your inbox.

  • Mobile = eFax currently offers an iOS app and an Android app. To fax from these apps, download them from the App Store or Google Play and log in.

  • Web = eFax allows users to fax through their eFax web portal. The web portal works on all popular browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari. To use the web portal, log in here.

  • Desktop app = eFax offers a desktop app for Windows computers. To use this app, download it and log in.

Once you have chosen a faxing medium, follow these instructions to send a fax with eFax.

  1. Open eFax.

  2. Click ‘New Fax’.

  3. Type in your recipient’s fax number, including their country and area codes. If you are sending your fax via email, include “” after the number (i.e. “[email protected]“).

  4. Click ‘Attach’ and select up to ten documents.

  5. Click ‘Send’.

What To Do With Your Old Fax Machine?

Once your business switches to online faxing, your old fax machine will become a paperweight. Thankfully for the environment,  you can recycle several components of your fax machine through Australia’s 2011 National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS).

To recycle your fax machine for free, you’ll simply need to take your machine to an approved drop-off point in your local area. You can find your nearest drop-off site through PlanetArk’s database. Currently, the NTCRS covers 98% of Australia.

If you cannot find a local supplier through the PlanetArk database, Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment also keeps a list of approved recycling suppliers on its website. Alternatively, you could donate your machine to a local thrift store if it is in working condition.

Tip: Before you recycle your fax machine, ensure you remove any identifying information from the machine, including your fax number, business details and any recent faxes you sent or received.

Pros & Cons of Fax Machine Vs Online Fax 2021



Online Faxing

  • Costs as little as $169.50 annually

  • Transmits 90% of faxes in 60 seconds or less

  • Uses document encryption for cybersecurity

  • Allows you to fax through phone, computer and tablet

  • Requires internet connection to work

  • Adjusting to new technology can be difficult

Fax Machine

  • Easy-to-use

  • Many people are used to fax machines

  • Prints faxes automatically

  • No cybersecurity

  • Can’t transmit multiple faxes simultaneously

  • Costs an average of $1,259.76 annually

  • Requires fax line connection


How to Find a Reliable Faxing Provider

If you’re looking for a reliable faxing provider, you can’t go wrong with eFax. eFax is a leading fax provider that works with businesses in 46 countries.

eFax’s online faxing system is full of features, including digital signatures, file transfer up to 3GB, unlimited cloud-based storage and a PDF converter. As their faxing system transmits faxes via the internet instead of fax lines, it’s NBN-compatible and future-proof. eFax is also an Accredited Business NBN provider who can help you transition to the new network smoothly.

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