Sizing a fax server is one of the more important aspects of deploying a network fax solution. There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when planning your fax server deployment. Here are a few tips to help tackle this task.
Faxing – Who, What, When, and Where?
This is an information gathering exercise which can take some time, but is an important step in the process. You’ll need to determine the W’s – who, what, when, and where faxes are being created, sent, received, etc. You can start with your fax machines. The more important piece of information is the number of pages being sent and received by each machine. Secondary considerations can include storage and management of faxes processed by each machine. Once you review the fax machines, you can the drill down and find out what processes are associated with these machines. Who’s faxing? How many users are faxing? Are there other paper-based machines such as multi-function peripherals (MFPs) being used to fax documents? And then there are applications like ERP, CRM, and reporting applications that need to be reviewed. Useit Messaging Fax Solutions from Imecom are ideal for consolidating fax document processing and delivery network-wide.
It’s Simple Math
Whether you deploy a TDM fax server that uses traditional analog or T1/PRI lines, FoIP, or a Hybrid Fax Server (HTTPS Fax Server), the fax server has ports or channels that equate to bandwidth. As with any bandwidth calculation, you need to determine how much traffic you have and how much “bandwidth” you need. Start by estimating the total number of pages you send and receive. Next, determine the time frame in which faxes are sent/received. Is it during a normal 8-hour business day? 12 hours? 24 hours? Is it five days per week or seven days per week?
Once you have this information, it’s actually rather easy to calculate your bandwidth requirements. A general rule of thumb today is 1 fax page takes roughly 1 minute to complete on a phone network or IP network. So, if your total page count per 8-hour day is 2,500 pages, than you take 2,500 and divide that by 8 hours, then divide that by 60 seconds. 2,500/8/60 = 5.208. You will need a minimum of 6 fax ports to handle this daily volume.
Of course, there are other important things to consider here too, such as the ratio of inbound faxes to outbound faxes, are there surges in traffic at points during the day, and so on. Doing the math is not hard, but it never hurt to have another set of eyes review your calculations. Imecom representatives have performed many, many calculations like this and we’re happy to help you find the right configuration for your needs.
Plan For The Future
It’s always good to plan ahead as you never know what the future will bring. I’ve personally seen on a number of occasions following a fax server deployment where additional groups and users get wind of the new fax server, and they want in. That increased usage may mean more ports are needed. Or, perhaps the fax server was purposed for one thing, and other integrations and uses surface. This goes back to initial planning. The Imecom Fax Server is quite versatile and scalable. It’s easy to add more ports or add additional integration connectors and modules.
Other thing worth considering… What are the specifications of host server machine or virtual machine designated for the fax server? Can it handle the current volume and any future growth that might surface? What database platform will be used and is it robust enough? What about a disaster recovery plan? Hmmm… that’s a topic large enough to merit its own post.
Like all important things, a fax server deployment needs careful consideration, but it’s not terribly difficult, and Imecom is here to help. Work with one of our Sales Experts to create a configuration and deployment plan that’s right for your needs.