Quadrant Updates Fax Server for OS/400, Other Platforms
February 3, 2004 Alex Woodie
The facsimile has come a long way since it was first invented by Scotsman Alexander Bain in 1843. Standardized in the 1960s, and hit hard by the rise of the Internet and e-mail in the late 1990s, fax volume is on the rebound today, and being able to send and receive faxes is still a requirement for companies of all sizes. It’s a good bet that the new inbound routing capabilities that Quadrant Software introduced in its FastFax solution would have impressed Bain.
Quadrant’s FastFax products are hardware/software solutions that transmit, receive, and centrally manage faxes within OS/400, Windows, and NetWare environments. FastFax gives users the capability to manage faxes from their e-mail clients, if they want, and the software can also be tied to other modules in Quadrant’s Electronic Document Distribution suite of document management software.
Quadrant sells four variants of its FastFax solution. FastFax/Ultra is for pure OS/400 environments, while FastFax/LAN works with Windows and NetWare servers. Companies needing to support OS/400 and NetWare and Windows can choose FastFax/Enterprise. The company also sells a pure software solution, called FastFax/Blue, designed for customers who already bought a fax card for their OS/400 server from IBM. Otherwise, Quadrant’s FastFax offerings include a Wintel box loaded with Brooktrout Technology fax cards.
With the Version 4.5.2 release of the FastFax eFax Server, Quadrant has beefed up its three hardware/software solutions. The company says users will benefit from more flexible inbound fax routing with the expanded support for two services–dialed number identification service (DNIS) and automatic number identification (ANI)–which are provided by telecommunication carriers. Whereas DNIS tells FastFax what phone number the inbound fax was calling (useful if a single trunk line), ANI tells FastFax what phone number is doing the calling, like Caller ID.
FastFax users can do a couple of neat things with ANI and DNIS support, Quadrant says. First, DNIS lets companies route faxes directly to the intended recipient’s desktop fax client or e-mail inbox. When specific people within a department are assigned to handle certain customers or vendors, the combination of ANI and DNIS support provides even more intelligent routing, based on the fax’s originating area code, telephone exchange number (the first three digits), or the entire telephone number. Faxing has come a long way from Bain’s steel drum days.
Quadrant says it has also made the product more efficient in other areas. First, the purge process has been improved and now takes less time to complete. Also, the software now allows users to send batch cover sheets that have been customized by department, which decreases the cost of batch faxing without sacrificing recipient recognition, the company says.
Improvements have also been made to Quadrant’s fax hardware. First, the FastFax servers can now be fitted with a single high-performance T1/E1 fax card, which can send and receive transmissions at up to 33.6 Kbps, the company says. Quadrant also offers high availability capability, which we reported on last month.
Licenses for FastFax/Enterprise 4.5.2 start at $10,700. The high availability option can add up to several thousand dollars to this price. For more information, go to www.quadrantsoftware.com.