Fax Modem: Definition, Types, Classes & Cards

Fax Modem


Definition of Fax Modem

A fax modem is an electronic device designed to send documents to a fax machine or another modem. This device can be integrated into a computer in several ways, including through a motherboard slot, an external Universal Serial Bus (USB) or a parallel port connection.

Types of Fax Modems

One specific type of fax modem is the fax modem card, which is compact like a credit card. This card belongs to the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) family and is commonly referred to as a PC card.

Overview of Fax Modem

Techbonafide provides a detailed explanation of the various classes of fax modems, categorized based on their functionality and performance.

Fact Detail
Functionality Enables transmission of digital data over telephone lines to and from fax machines and computers with fax software.
Integration Options Can be integrated through internal PCI slots, external USB ports or parallel ports.
Types Varies by class: Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 and Class 4, each with different speeds and capabilities.
Transmission Speed Class 1: Up to six minutes
Class 2: Up to two minutes
Classes 3 & 4: 10 seconds or less
Multitasking Capability Higher classes (Class 2 and above) support multitasking during data transmission.
Dependence on PC Classes 1 and 2 require a PC connection, Classes 3 and 4 can operate independently of a computer.
Modem Cards Fax modem cards fit into PC card slots, offering portable fax functionality for laptops without needing external devices.
Technology Use Still important in business settings for secure document transmission, despite the rise of digital communication methods like email and cloud services.

Class 1 Fax Modems

Class 1 Fax Modems

Class 1 fax modems typically take up to six minutes to transmit data. They are the most basic version, connecting to a personal computer (PC) and sending data in block frames only. These modems do not support multitasking and will stop transmitting if they encounter busy signals. They represent the slowest category and transmit data in analog form.

Class 2 Fax Modems

Class 2 Fax Modems

Class 2 fax modems reduce the transmission time to two minutes or less. These devices can connect to a PC or other compatible devices. They organize data through software sessions that receive modem commands for transferring data. Unlike Class 1, they do not transmit frames but do support multitasking.

Classes 3 & 4 Fax Modems

Classes 3 & 4 Fax Modems

Classes 3 and 4 fax modems offer the quickest transmission, completing the process in 10 seconds or less. These are the most common types found in modern setups, functioning independently of a computer or software, making them ideal for multitasking and handling emails. They are less expensive than Class 2 modems and do not require bulky equipment.

Fax Modem Cards

Fax modem cards, typically preinstalled, enhance the portability of machine data and eliminate the need for separate fax modems. The internal 56k versions are the most prevalent type of fax modem cards, offering a balance of speed and convenience.

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