How To Connect a Fax Machine to an Office Network

Fax machines might seem outdated, with today’s prevalence of email, scanning and teleconferencing. However, faxing still has importance in the workplace, as it lets businesses easily send copies of documents to other businesses without the fuss of running it through a computer. This can be particularly useful for documents that need signatures or annotations. Also, some businesspeople are still old-school. They want to have a printed-out document rather than emails or SMS messages. Some government offices might also prefer faxing, particularly with the need to reflect handwritten signatures on documents.

In this connected world, though, fax machines have had an upgrade. Many higher-end models from popular brands like Brother, Panasonic and Sharp will now include network connectivity, so that you can share the fax machine with the rest of the network.

In some cases, your fax machine would be a standalone fax. In other cases, it might be an all-in-one scanner, copier, printer and fax machine. While this might not necessarily be an office workhorse, it can do its job well in a small office or home office environment.

  • Plug in all the fax machine’s cords. This will usually include the power cord and the telephone cord, which should connect to your telephone line’s RJ-11 jack. If the fax machine has a USB connection, then connect it, too.
  • Next, find out if the fax machine can connect to the network using a LAN cable. If it can, then you will need to secure an Ethernet cable that’s long enough to run from the fax machine to your broadband router.
  • If your office network runs a DHCP server, or if each port has an assigned IP address, you will not need to do any more setting up of the network. You can now search for the fax machine as another connected device on your network. Most of the time, you can detect it as a networked printer.
  • If your fax machine came with an installer CD or DVD, run it now. It’s best to do this after your computer has just been booted up for a fresh start.
  • After installing the software, review the application on how you can send faxes from your computer. You can also use this interface to retrieve faxes from the networked fax machine if the model supports saving of soft-copies and not just printouts.
  • You will need to run the installer CD on other computers that need to connect to the fax machine.
  • Different fax models might come with different interfaces and different software. When in doubt, get in touch with the brand’s tech support hotline through phone or email.

The office network makes it easy to share resources, such as printers, storage and even fax machines. Take advantage of this, which can be particularly useful in a small office environment. You don’t have to buy a fax machine for each department or floor. You can run a single fax machine and have everyone connect to it through their computers.


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