Quadrant Simplifies Path To FoIP Glory
April 1, 2015 Alex Woodie
One of the biggest challenges in setting up a virtual fax over IP (FoIP) system is getting the telephony settings right. Screw up one of the dozens of settings in a typical install, and you’ll quickly be on the phone to tech support. With a new release of Quadrant Software‘s QuadraDocV FoIP software, the vendor added a graphical wizard that significantly simplifies the setup process.
Quadrant launched QuadraDocV two years ago to provide a virtual FoIP solution, primarily for its large base of existing IBM i customers. As a replacement for its popular FastFax “black box” appliances, QuadraDocV installs on any existing X86 server as a VMware partition, and allows customers to cut fax cords (and costs) as they route production fax workloads over the public Internet–all without changing how fax integrates with ERP and line of business applications.
While QuadraDocV has been very well received by Quadrant’s IBM i customer base, the rollout has had a few bumps as well. According to Quadrant brand manager Jon Jeuck, the hardest part of the QuadraDocV installation is the telephony setup.
“There can be more than 50 parameters you have to set up to integrate your fax server with the phone system,” Jeuck tells IT Jungle. “You have your telephony system protocol settings, like T38, gateway IPs and network settings. That’s always been the hardest and longest part of a QDV installation.”
Making matters worse was the fact that the settings had to be coded directly in a text parameter file. “It was hard for customers to change these parameters to match their telephony setup,” Jeuck says. “It would usually require them to call in to tech support and we’d have to try and figure out what parameters need to be modified. It was a long and arduous process.”
That process has changed with the latest release of QuadraDocV. In this release, Quadrant is integrated with a GUI setup wizard developed by Dialogic, which traditionally built fax cards but now is providing FoIP code for partners like Quadrant to use.
Because the wizard pre-populates many of the settings for the user, the wizard will save QDV customers a lot of time and grief in setting up the FoIP system, Jeuck says. “It’s a lot faster for users to install, modify, and diagnose,” Jeuck says. “It also means we’ll always be up to date with the latest Dialogic diagnostic tool.”
Quadrant has also simplified how QDV integrates with multifunction printers (MFPs). In many office environments, employees rely on MFPs as to do a range of tasks, including printing, copying, faxing, and printing. However, any faxes sent through an MFP would be separate from the production fax environment that QDV powers. Since one of the benefits of using QDV is that it centrally logs and archives each fax transmission (not to mention housing directories of names and fax numbers), having a separate fax environment is not a good thing.
Quadrant users have been able to hook their FoIP system to the MFP since QDV launched, which enables users to get the best of both worlds. But, again, the setup was difficult and time consuming. With the new release of QDV, Quadrant has simplified the integration by standardizing on simple message transport protocol (SMTP).
Using SMTP makes it easier and faster for customers to integrate into their MFP devices without setting up a complex configuration, Jeuck says. “In the past, a MFT printer might require a special configuration to set up and a lot of customers would have to call into support and we would have to walk them through configuration and IP setting,” he says. “Now as long as the printer supports SMTP–and virtually every office printer does–we can easily integrate with that.”
The last piece of integration news with QDV revolves around Microsoft Outlook, which remains the go-to productivity tool in many office environments. Again, Quadrant has supported Outlook in QDV, but the integration left something to be desired, as it required users to manually type in a special email to send a fax.
With the new release, Quadrant is now directly supporting Outlook’s standard business fax contact fields. Jeuck explains: “So anytime a user wants to send a fax through Outlook, all they have to do is select them from their Outlook address book and click send and QDV automatically knows how to grab the phone number from the address book. It makes it a lot easier for customers to send faxes.”
Fax, like tape and mainframes, has long been considered dead and gone by tech pundits. But like a zombie, it keeps rising up and continuing to provide business value. With products like Quadrant’s QDV, the undead facsimile appears to have a long and healthy life ahead.