February 13, 2023

How Long do Faxes Take to Send

Woman in black tank top at computer thinking

Source: Pexels


Speed and efficiency are the marks of the global business world in the 21st century.

As the world became smaller due to globalisation, technology has evolved at a rapid speed and that includes faxing.  

What took 5-10 minutes in the 1980s to transmit one page of data is now accomplished in as little as 15 seconds [1]. However, this is affected by various factors that make the difference in transmission speed.

Let’s investigate together.

How does a fax machine work?

Sending a fax the traditional way using a fax machine and a phone connection requires the sender to scan a document through the fax machine. 

The image of the document is then recorded by the fax machine and communicated between the transmitting fax and the receiving fax, opening up with the dialling of the fax number.  

This entire process is called a ‘handshake’ between two fax lines and allows for an identical copy of the document to be produced on the other end.

How long will it take to send a fax using a fax machine?

There is no single answer on how long it takes for the fax to be sent. The time needed depends on the fax machine's type and make. The exact time can range from 1 minute to 6 minutes to send a document. 

In the early days, mainly text was transmitted and graphics really slowed the process down. But with today’s technology, text, graphics and even digital signatures are no problem for the fax machine.

There are certain elements that will determine the speed of a fax transmission.  If these elements are problematic in your business, the answer is to address them with the service provider or move to an online fax app.

- How long does it take to transmit a fax?

The fax machine’s transmission speed is determined by the baud rate, which is the rate at which data signals pass through a transmission channel [2].  

The baud rate for the modern fax is usually set at 9600bps to prevent data loss and increase dependability. Faxing a page takes around a minute at 9600 bps: the larger the bps, the faster transmission.

- Phone line quality

The major challenge with fax has always been a slow phone line.  A copper phone line limits the data transmitted through it as a medium.  Companies have been largely at the mercy of phone companies to remedy bad phone connections.

Fax lines with a 9600bps capacity can be slowed down by noise on the line or an unstable connection.  What should take roughly 15 seconds to 1 minute to send can be slowed to 2 minutes or more.  The number of pages per transmission will also be affected. 

Diagram of fax transmission process

Source: Britannica

What is an online fax service?

An online fax service allows documents to be faxed electronically via the Internet. Often called electronic faxing or virtual faxing, it involves paperless transactions. A separate system is required for its operation. 

How long does it take to send a fax via an online app?

Although fax machines have long been applauded as technology that moved business communication many steps forward, they present their own challenges.

Fax machines needed an upgrade and found it in the form of online faxing apps. Even so, there are factors that can affect the transmission speed. 

- Internet connection speed

Internet connection speed is one of the advances that have made electronic fax a winner over the fax machine.  

Internet speed is the amount of data or content transmitted between two devices. It is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).  Currently, high-speed internet is defined as 25mbps.  The higher the Mbps, the more data can be transferred. 

- Transmission speed of the device

Transmission speed will depend on what kind of device you use, but sending an electronic fax can take between 15 - 30 seconds if scanned at 200 -300 dots per inch resolution.   

Any device that can download a fax app will be easy to use and offer instant scanning, printing and faxing of documents from your computer or mobile phone.

Lousy phone connections are a problem of the past!

Commonly used online faxing apps

Apart from paid apps, there are some that are available with no or minimal costs.  Here are some popular fax apps which can help you make fax machines a thing of the past.

  • Google Online Fax
  • Windows fax and scan
  • Apple iPhone 
  • Snapfax for AppleMac

Thatch has a simple process to get your business sending and receiving faxes and digital communication today!

The benefits of electronic fax over the fax machine

  • No heavy machinery, only an internet connection required
  • A fax sender has easy access to the service anywhere in the world
  • Transmission speed drastically increased
  • Digital storage of documents and the ability to purchase cloud storage
  • Legal documentation received on devices with electronic signatures and stamps
People at a meeting table with two people shaking hands.

Source: Pexels

In conclusion

An online fax app can transmit data much faster than a traditional fax machine. Even as fax machines became part of multi-function copiers that print and copy and fax, the speed is still reliant on phone lines.

A good fax app will send large files and has numerous other benefits, such as increased security and the ability to confirm that documents have been delivered.


[1] https://www.britannica.com/technology/fax

[2] https://www.geeksforgeeks.org

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