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Fax Modems - Turn Your Computer Into a Fax Machine (For Cheaps)

In order to send or receive faxes on your computer, you will need either to get an internet fax service or use a fax modem (see product pictures) that works with your regular phone line/land line. (If you do not have a land line but only an internet connection, check out the Ring Central fax service.)

Fax modems are usually sold bundled with electronic faxing softwares, or they work with a free software like Windows Fax and Scan that is included with Windows PCs. Similarly, Mac computer operating systems also come with free faxing utilities.

Years ago, a fax modem used to be standard issue with computers as people mainly relied on dial-up internet access. Fax modems work with standard phone signals, as opposed to DSL modems that work with a different set of signals, even though they are all delivered through the phone line. Today, with the popularity of DSL and cable services, a DSL/cable modem that establishes an internet connection for your computer no longer functions for faxing.

However, the fax modem technology has been around for a long time, and as such, the prices for these modems are low, starting from under $10. This makes it inexpensive to purchase as an add-on, for anyone who needs to send or receive faxes.

They are also easy to use, and most are plug and play, even if you are not technologically savvy.

A fax modem is simple to hook up. The simplest ones use external USB connections. All you need to do is to plug a phone cable into one end, and the USB connector to a USB slot on the computer. You may also need a phone socket adapter/splitter to share the line so it connects to both your phone and the fax modem (pictured below).

There are various advantages to using a fax modem:

  • Low one-time cost - no monthly fees, or costs for faxing/receiving additional pages.
  • No need to head out to the Staples or a local office store to send/receive a fax
  • Reliable level of service.
  • Send and receive faxes while sharing the same phone connection for DSL, voice calls.
  • Easy set-up. Lots of external USB modem choices.
  • Usually comes bundled with free fax software, and/or works with Windows Fax and Scan (comes free with Windows).
  • Doubles as a dial-up modem, as a back-up or for regular internet connections.


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