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Comparative Analysis of Techniques for Eliminating Spam in Fax over IP

Comparative Analysis of Techniques for Eliminating Spam in Fax over IP

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Published by ijcsis
Fax over PSTN line suffered heavily in terms of high costs, call drops, improper imaging, corrupt messages etc. Fax over IP (FoIP) came as substitute to eliminate costly connection and transmission fees. With growing usage of FoIP, the spam is also rising and ruining business prospects. The approaches from the point of view of regulations and technologies to curb spam have been examined. Three technologies have also been compared to suggest most suitable anti-spam technology.
Fax over PSTN line suffered heavily in terms of high costs, call drops, improper imaging, corrupt messages etc. Fax over IP (FoIP) came as substitute to eliminate costly connection and transmission fees. With growing usage of FoIP, the spam is also rising and ruining business prospects. The approaches from the point of view of regulations and technologies to curb spam have been examined. Three technologies have also been compared to suggest most suitable anti-spam technology.

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Published by: ijcsis on Feb 15, 2011
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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 9, No. 1, 2011
Comparative Analysis of Techniques for EliminatingSpam in Fax over IP
Manju Jose
Research Scholar,Mother Teresa Women
s UniversityKodaikanal, Indiamanjusaje@gmail.com
Dr. S.K. Srivatsa
Senior Professor,St.Joseph College of Engineering,Chennai,India.profsks@rediffmail.com 
 Abstract
 — 
 
Fax over PSTN line suffered heavily in terms of highcosts, call drops, improper imaging, corrupt messages etc. Faxover IP (FoIP) came as substitute to eliminate costly connectionand transmission fees. With growing usage of FoIP, the spam isalso rising and ruining business prospects. The approaches fromthe point of view of regulations and technologies to curb spamhave been examined. Three technologies have also beencompared to suggest most suitable anti-spam technology.Keywords-
 
Fax over IP (FoIP), S/Fax, SharePoint, Spam,Filtering Spam Fax, Digital signature
I.
 
INTRODUCTIONFacsimile or fax over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) line revolutionized the electronic transmission of documents and made Telex obsolete. A fax machinetraditionally is an electronic device having scanner, modemand a printer inbuilt. Fax machine transmits data in pulsesthrough a PSTN line to a recipient using a compatible faxmachine. The recipient fax machine transforms these pulsesinto images and prints the same on fax paper. The traditionalmethod reserves its usage for PSTN line, and only one fax canbe sent or received at a time.Fax over PSTN line suffered heavily in terms of high costs,call drops, improper imaging, corrupt messages etc. There wasa need to transform the way traditional fax systems worked.Instead of using PSTN line, an idea of using IP wasexperimented with. This experiment was found to beextremely successful as it cut down the costs and made faxingeasier for users. Since fax over IP (FoIP) transmits data overan already established network, it eliminates costly connectionand transmission fees.Initially, fax over IP suffered from lack of quality as well asefficiency and was not being considered as an ideal alternativeto traditional fax systems. These issues plagued fax over IP
system as it didn’t have a technology of its own. Initially, it
used Voice over IP (VoIP) as its base technology. However,this technology has improved over the years and now haselaborate standards and mechanisms for faxing over IP.Reducing cost is one of the most important reasons forgrowing importance of fax over IP. Fax over IP can be almost
free in some cases. Also, fax over IP doesn’t demand
expensive additional equipment because the existing faxmachine can be used for the purpose [16], [17].II.
 
FAX
 
OVER
 
IPConsolidation of data and communication networks through IPis serving the objectives of reducing IT infrastructure costswhile managing data and communication applicationsefficiently [19]. Communication technologies gettingstandardized through IP are causing an overlap betweennetwork applications based on traditional communicationsbackbone and future IP environments. Organizations today areexperiencing challenges in understanding their existingnetwork applications. However, they can take advantages of new IP-based approaches to data communications includingfax over IP (FoIP). Most organizations are willing to implement VoIP to supporttheir voice based operations. These organizations also need toprovide reliable faxing capabilities to their employees. Itmakes commercial sense as well to utilize the existing VoIPtechnologies for supporting fax operations as well. There arehuge potential benefits for organizations consolidating faxwith voice systems through unified messaging applications.Initially, fax systems have utilized reliable PSTN networksand have been backed by reliable T.30 fax protocol toestablish and maintain communication between two faxdevices. Now FoIP has new standards developed specificallyfor FoIP making it possible for fax transmissions to utilize theInternet. Noticing this trend, fax manufacturers have startedmanufacturing fax equipments that can support transmissionover Internet as well [19].III.
 
TECHNOLOGIES
 
FoIP is supported by two technologies such as “store
-and-
forward” (T.37) and “realtime” (T.38). These technologies
48 http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 9, No. 1, 2011
utilize the standard T.30 fax definition to recognize data beingtransferred and to ensure compatibility with existing faxdevices. These technologies differ from each other in methodsof delivery and confirmation receipts. Real-time FoIP, basedon the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)standard T.38, elaborates the necessary technical features fortransferring fax in real-time mode between two standardGroup 3 facsimile terminals over Internet or other IP basednetworks. T.38 is generally preferred as FoIP protocol becauseof its ability to align with the technologies of faxes overPSTN.T.30 handles IP fax transmission through like a standard faxcall facilitating an end-to-end communication. With T.38,sending and receiving fax is similar to fax handling of non-FoIP fax devices. This involves establishing a session, sendingand verifying the transmission of one or more pages andfinally completing the session with positive confirmationsfrom both sides. FoIP-enabled transmission is different as theserver traverses first part of the communication to the network on IP technology rather than the PSTN. The session can useT.38 for transmission if the partner device is directlyaddressable on the same network. The IP switch converts T.38packets to standard T.30 packets over PSTN if the devices areseparated by the telephone line.IP fax mechanism has two approaches namely boardlessapproach and the boarded approach for an Ethernetconnection. Boardless system makes the fax works throughDSPs (digital signal processors) located in IP routers. DSPmanages transmission and conversion of T.38 packets to T.30packets. Since there is greater awareness among organizationsover implementation of VoIP, there are lesser chances thatorganizations will go for FoIP before VoIP.Rather organizations are likely to utilize the already existingVoIP infrastructure to minimize the expense of adding FoIP tothe same infrastructure. Also, VoIP will offer the requiredsupport already included in its routing infrastructure.Organizations need to ensure that investments in VoIPinfrastructure are justified in including support for FoIP aswell.Organizations adopting an IP environment need to enhance thebenefits of their existing fax technologies by enabling them tosupport FoIP communications.A research [19] surveyed more than 500 fax users andpotential users on their FoIP needs and expectations. Thisresearch identified the following most sought after benefitswhile implementing FoIP technologies:1.
 
Savings in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) due tonetwork consolidation2.
 
Ability to push consistent fax solution throughout theentire network including remote locations.3.
 
Improved IT management4.
 
Device/application integration5.
 
Least Cost Routing6.
 
Better utilization of new IP equipment7.
 
Eliminate the fax boardsVoIP networks are increasingly entering private and publicorganizations with IP Telephony technology. Theseorganizations would naturally want to leverage the value andconvenience of single IP communications network. StandardVoIP Codecs have been designed for voice conversations.These Codecs allow certain amount of latency and packet loss,which can still be accepted in a voice conversation.However, faxes cannot afford to accept even small amounts of latency or any packet loss, rendering standard VoIP Codecsunacceptable for reliable faxing.This limitation forces organizations to retain analog lines onPBX, or deploy expensive fax boards to manage their faxtraffic. These extra expenses affect the ROI negatively thatorganizations expect from their VoIP network investment.This scenario also requires organizations to maintain legacycommunication equipments with their modern IP network infrastructure.FoIP can utilize TCP/IP standards and technologies to connectto the closest PSTN access to send and receive faxes. FoIP, as
a public standard, is supported by most of the vendors’ VoIP
gateways. Rather than connecting a fax card to the PSTN,FoIP device can connect directly to the T.38 supported VoIPgateway. This principle is applicable on both inbound andoutbound faxes [20]. eFax uses the store-and-forwardcapabilities as per T.37 standard to enable sending of faxes as
emails. This obviously doesn’t happen in real
-time, which isthe expected legal standing associated with fax. The fax isforwarded as email to an email server and then transmitted asan email attachment to a fax device for physical faxing.This method cuts IT support requirements for fax, butintroduces limitations such as higher costs. Other providersuse their VoIP networks to transmit fax, but this methodrequires an Analog Terminal Adaptor (ATA) hardware deviceinto which a traditional fax machine must be plugged. Theseservices are not enabling the users to fax straight to a receiverdesktop.These limitations force organizations to not to use theirexisting VoIP networks for faxing. These organizations havelimitations in realizing that VoIP capabilities added to theirinfrastructure also have added FoIP capabilities, withoutadditional effort or expense [21]. There has been growing consensus regarding using existingVoIP networks to support faxing to save efforts and cost. Still,notable differences between VoIP and FoIP need to beunderstood by the organizations before taking a decision.For organizations that have already implemented VoIPtechnologies, adding FoIP capabilities on the top of VoIPinfrastructure would make perfect business sense.However, for organizations that are yet to decide on type of IP
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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 9, No. 1, 2011
capabilities, they would scale up to, a thorough comparisonbetween VoIP and FoIP is definitely required.FoIP is less tolerant to delays in comparison to VoIP. As delayin the absence of keep-alive mechanisms may force a sessionto drop. However, VoIP would absorb such network impairments and would force delayed browsing experience tothe users. FoIP is also less tolerant towards packet errors orlosses in comparison to VoIP. For communication reliability,FoIP may require an error-correcting but delay-addingprotocol such as TCP to ensure delivery confirmation or repeatrequests [22]. Considering the tighter integration of FoIP withreal-time transmission and reliability, FoIP is treated as firstpossible alternative by the organizations.IV.
 
THE
 
GROWTH
 
STORY
 
SO
 
FARA research report [2] highlighted that fax revenues wouldcontinue to grow from $270 million in 2005 to $400 million in2010, achieving a remarkable compound annual growth rate(CAGR) of 8.2%. This report estimated that fax over IP saleswould grow by a 50.7% CAGR to $245 million in 2010 andnon fax over IP fax sales would decrease to $155 million in2010. This report further added that fax over IP systems woulddominate the market by 2010 with integration of VoIP.Another research report [4] highlighted that more than 100billion fax pages are transmitted around the globe on a yearlybasis despite efforts to become a paperless society. Thisresearch report also highlighted that fax over IP marketswould continue to grow rapidly during the five-year forecastperiod unfazed by economic recession. This report furtherhighlighted that fax has certain advantages over e-mail as itlargely remains compatible across various devices andsystems, retains the format of complex documents and finallysends documents in non-editable format so that the recipientsdo not modify them.A research report [3] on fax messaging markets observed thatpatent law situation with respect to fax over IP has undergoneradical changes. This report further added that fax over IPwould continue to enjoy growth rates that were earlierdiminished due to economic downturn. This report concludedwith fax over IP market projections of $ 1.575 billion in 2013.A research report [5] on computer based fax markets for theperiod of 2009-2014 and observed that usage of IP hascontributed towards tremendous growth of fax over IP. Thisreport highlighted phenomenon of multi function peripherals(MFPs) and integration of business computing systems. TheMFPs would account for 32% of revenues produced throughfax over IP industry. This integration has also fuelled demandfor fax over IP services. This report forecasted that desktopfaxing would account for 70% share of fax systems, out of which 42.5% share would be attributed to unified messaging.V.
 
SPAM IN FAX
:
THE INSIDER
S PERSPECTIVE
 An article [1] argued that fax over IP systems have broughtbig relief to business users with numerous advantagesassociated with it such as compatibility, retention andintegrity. This article also highlighted the challenges of spamor junk fax that were ruining the business prospects of faxover IP systems.The perspectives of spam fax differ for the recipients andorganizations dealing in fax marketing [14]. The costsattached with spam are high and fax spammers are notauthorized to use fax paper and toner of unwilling recipients to
send sales pitches. Further, fax spammers shouldn’t be
allowed to tie up bandwidth, computing power, and storage of 
unintended recipients as they haven’t paid for it [18]. With
aggressive marketing pitches over fax machines, email boxesand cell phones, the list of offenses that deserve the spamhandle is also growing [10].VI.
 
THE
 
FIGHT
 
BACKA new lobby of anti spam activists has decided take on faxspammers and these activists have been fighting againstunsolicited fax messages through claims of damages andadvocating for a law on spam faxes.A suit [9] filed to get junk or spam faxes banned was different
in approach as it didn’t claim damages. Rather, it helped in
establishing a junk fax ruling under which sending of junk faxes was considered a criminal act.A prominent case [13] used junk fax law to sue violator overemail spam and sought damages proving the groundcomprehensively. This case argued that computer was alsoacting as fax machine and that email was really no differentfrom fax over IP. This case further argued that received spamemail using a phone line connection and printed messagedemonstrate suitability of trial of this case under junk fax law.An article [8] cited doubts in the opinions regardingwillingness of courts to apply junk fax law, as most of theexisting state laws on spam are weak and counterproductive.VII.
 
S
PAM
F
AX
:
 
C
URBING THE
M
ENACE
 An article [14] suggested certain measures to prevent spam infax over IP as per the provisions of the Junk Fax PreventionAct [15]. The recipient can contact the sender directly andexpress his/her unwillingness to receive spam fax messages.
The recipient can also choose “opt out” option to block his/her 
fax number from fax mailing lists. The recipient also has achoice to approach a regulator and file a complaint or evenclaim damages.A suggestion was made regarding integrating FoIP withMicrosoft SharePoint to eliminate spam and security risks.This integration can ensure the right movement of documentsand junk or spam is filtered out [1]. This article furtherelaborated that FoIP, when integrated with SharePoint,provides efficient inbound routing of fax into SharePoint sites.This feature enables the users to search content, metadata tags,and optical character recognition (OCR) features of fax
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