Faxing with Ooma

With the proper equipment, it is possible to send and receive faxes. There are several configuration options, allowing you to select the setup that will be best for you. Before you begin, please keep in mind that you will need to have access to a working fax machine, and possibly a phone splitter in order to use this feature. Once you have all of the necessary tools, check out the guides below for your desired configuration.

Table of Contents

Using your phone and fax machine on the same line

To use your home phone and fax machine on the same line, you'll connect both devices to the PHONE port on the back of your Ooma device. This setup is great if you don't use your fax machine often, or if you usually send faxes, but don't receive them. To get started, you will need the following equipment:

  • A standard phone splitter
  • Your fax machine
  • Two phone cords

Plug the phone splitter into the PHONE port of your Ooma device. Connect one of your phone cords to your telephone, and the other to your fax machine’s phone input as shown in the image below.

Note: If you are using an Ooma Hub setup, it is recommended that you connect your fax machine directly to the Ooma Hub and not to an Ooma Scout.

 

If you don’t want your calls to be picked up by the fax machine, you should turn the auto-answer mode on your fax machine off by putting it in “manual” mode. If you prefer to leave auto-answer on, you may want to set your machine up to have a long delay before pick up in order for you to answer your voice calls. You may need to refer to your fax machine's user manual for more information on how to do this.


Using your fax machine on a dedicated line

If you're a power user who does a lot of faxing, you'll want to set up a dedicated line for your fax machine. This means that you'll need the following equipment to set up your machine:

  • Your fax machine
  • One phone cord
  • One or more Ooma Telo Handsets to use as your phones in your home

The PHONE port on the back of the Ooma Telo will be dedicated to your fax machine, so your existing home phones can't be used. You'll also need a subscription to Ooma Premier since you'll need to have two lines - one for voice and one for fax.

Note: If you are using an Ooma Hub, your fax machine will need to be connected to your Hub directly. You have the option to connect your existing home phones to an Ooma Scout (sold separately).

To get started, use the phone cord to connect the PHONE port of your Ooma device to your fax machine’s phone input as shown in the image below.

 

Next, you are going to set up your Ooma Telo (or Ooma Hub) to be on a dedicated line, separate from your Ooma Telo Handsets (or Ooma Scouts). You can do this by following these instructions:

  1. Log into your My Ooma account
  2. Navigate to Phone Numbers under the Preferences tab
  3. Click on Add a Personal Device to bring up the Manage devices screen below
  4. Fill out all of the information in the Manage devices screen, making sure to select "Telo" (or "Hub") as your Device Type
  5. Save your changes

Next, you'll need to select a second phone number. This will be the number that is dedicated to your fax machine. Again, please keep in mind that you will need to have an Ooma Premier subscription in order to have two phone numbers. You can choose a second phone number by following these instructions:

  1. Under the Ooma Telo device you set up in the previous step, click on Add a New Phone Number to bring up the screen pictured below:   
  2. Select your preferred area code and first three digits and hit Search Note: If your search does not yield results, you will need to try a different combination
  3. Pick a phone number
  4. Fill in the name you would like to show on outbound caller-ID, and your preferred ring pattern

How to send a fax

Ooma needs to know that you are making a fax call so the connection can be optimized for fax transmissions. Dial the prefix *99 before dialing the number you wish to reach.  When you are ready to send a fax, follow the instructions for your particular fax machine.


How to receive a fax

If you've set up your fax machine on a dedicated line

You're ready to receive faxes at all times!

If you have your phone and fax machine set up on the same line

You'll need to configure your fax machine to auto-answer the next call. Once you're done receiving your fax, turn off auto-answer on your fax machine to avoid having your fax machine pick up all incoming calls.

 

I followed the directions but my faxes still aren't working. What can I do?

Faxing over Ooma is highly dependent on the quality of your Internet connection. Faxing technology was developed to work over regular phone lines, which do not experience the same amount of delay and data loss that Internet networks do today. Although it is already possible to send and receive faxes with Ooma, we're always looking into new ways to improve the reliability with faxing with the Ooma system. In the mean time, ensuring that your setup is configured in the optimal way is your surest way of successfully sending and receiving faxes. If you are having difficulties sending or receiving faxes, please try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Ensure that your Ooma device is hooked up directly to your modem, ahead of your router (Setup Option A in your Quick Start Guide
  • Disable “ECM” (i.e., “Error Correction Mode”) on your fax machine
  • Decrease the transmission or baud rate
  • Reduce the number of pages that are sent per fax
  • Decrease the desired image quality of the fax
  • Discontinue any large file downloads (for receiving faxes) or uploads (for sending faxes)

Background Information: Voice over IP (VoIP) and Fax Machines

A common question comes up - why are faxes not guaranteed reliable 100% of the time when using VoIP technology?  The reason has to do with how faxing was originally developed. The faxing protocol was originally developed for regular landlines.  Unlike IP networks which route VoIP, landlines are fairly lossless.  This makes faxes less resilient to dropped packets and delay inherently present in all IP networks today.  Ooma is currently looking into new ways to improve the reliability of faxing with the Ooma system, including use of the T.38 FoIP protocol.   

Note: If you find a need for reliable faxing, we recommend that you keep a Landline for this purpose.