Elastix Fax

Discussion in 'General' started by RKM, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. RKM

    RKM

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    I think I've completely misunderstood the Elastix paradigm, and I'm posting here more for other people's value (upon searching in the future) more than I am for my own interests alone.

    First .. when I started my Elastix install, I assumed that the "fax" feature would allow me to receive faxes through my existing SIP trunks / SIP provider.

    I had assumed I'd just take any old SIP trunk / DID, and create a inbound-route, to a fax extension. That didn't work.

    So I looked and looked, and verified everything a dozen different ways. Nothing.

    Then it occurred to me.. Nowhere do any of the fax tutorials talk about SIP trunks.

    Rather, they all talk about telephony hardware devices (eg - Zaptel, etc).

    So... While I think I may already know the answer to this question, I just want to confirm... Is it possible to use Elastix/Hylafax for receiving faxes through VoIP service providers (SIP trunks) without dedicated telephony hardware?

    On a separate note... If its not possible in Elastix/Hylafax, is it possible in FreePBX/Asterisk (there seems to be an entirely different fax configuration in FreePBX that is unrelated to Elastix/Hylafax).

    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. dicko

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    Traditional Faxes (t30) take ALL of of a g711 channel, that channel must be impeccable, it MUST use g711, it MUST be flawless, if your SIP provider and your Internet connection can meet those criteria, it will largely work, but ONLY if your network is impeccable!! unlike voice, any dropped or disordered packets will spoil your whole day,

    FWIW I have many boxes with good SIP providers, that will do faxes at three to four nines success, Choose a cheaper VSP and your success rate will tend to zero, you get what you pay for, look into guaranteed t38 delivery from your provider, but even so you will need a t38 endpoint and at this point in time Elastix/Asterisk can't do that apart from as a pass-through to another T38 endpoint, for example a cheap linksys ATA and a physical FAX machine.

    FYI faxing within Elastix is delegated to Asterisk, through any FreePBX routing you choose, then IAXmodem then to hylafax then to your choice of Elastix FAX or Avantfax if you so install it (ask Ramoncio or Lee)
     
  3. DaveD

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    I think what is missing here is NVfax

    It is not default in Elastix it must be installed and selected as detection method
    or your SIP trunk is not going to detect a fax
    Search the forums for NVFax and you will find the files and directions needed
     
  4. RKM

    RKM

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    @dicko-
    I hear you. After years of having problems with a variety of VoIP providers (not a one of them a budget provider, and 70% of them Level3 resellers, believe it or not), I've settled on Vitelity and iCall. Both are impeccable in my experience. And of course, I allow nothing by g711. I also host out of Vitelity's data center (they have 30gbps cross-connects in the Denver/HQ Level3 data center). We also have Bandwidth.com trunks, and although they really pride themselves on being a top-tier provider, I've had some minor issues.

    Long story short, while I'm new to Elastix, I've been using a very simple Asterisk variant (Switchvox) for about 4 years, and a close VoIP PBX before that. In that time, I've read all of the horror stories about T.38, and/or crap-quality VSP's in general.

    So assuming I'm comfortable with the smorgasbord of potential pitfalls, are you saying this is possible without any sort of voice-hardware? Strictly through a SIP carrier?

    If so, would you mind helping me through it a bit? For example, would I set this up in Elastix/Hylafax, or using the FreePBX integrated option? I've tried both, spent about 4 hours on it today alone -- and I get nothing but SIP rejects when trying to put anything through to the extensions.

    @DaveD - Thank you for the suggestion. I had searched NVFax prior to posting, after turning it up in some searches. Unfortunately, every post I've seen with regard to NVFax, is using voice-hardware (not a straight SIP provider w/o hard lines). This is the gist of my post -- I can't find a single tutorial, after searching quite extensively, that doesn't assume I'm using voice-boards.

    Thank you in advance!
     
  5. dicko

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    Yes I can assure you that at least Vitelity are among those I trust with faxes, we specifically peer with Level3 for those routes, even if they state that they don't support it, (why would they?) I prefer iaxmodem to Hylafax (AvantFAx) but also have many traditional hardware fax machines behind linksys (my preference) FXS hardware, just turn off all the echo/comfort noise stuff. NVFax was written specifically for non hardware trunks as the Digium/Asterisk FaxDetect is ONLY for TDM/Analog hardware and trunks, It works fine if voice/fax line sharing but is not necessary if you have DID's that only get routed to Fax devices.

    p.s. Don't forget to turn off generic fax detection on the general settings page.
     
  6. iraj.kheirati

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  7. DaveD

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    RKM

    I only use SIP for my faxes with my provider,using NVFax has been 100% success in detecting faxes and passing it onto the required extension ( in my case is iaxmodem ) and in turns emails me the fax as a pdf.
     
  8. RKM

    RKM

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    With every post, I'm more confused. There has to be something I'm not explaining properly, so I'll try to explain it a bit more accurately.

    First, I do not need any sort of "fax detection" as I understand it. Unless I've misread the NVfax info (possible, since I can't find anything "official"), then I would not require NVFax for my purpose, isn't that right?

    What I mean by this, is that I'm simply routing a dedicated DID to an extension *without* checking whether its an incoming fax. It's a single dedicated number, for no purpose other than being answered by that fax extension and playing the carrier.

    My problem is that I've read Elastix w/o Tears, the Elastix manual, and the FreePBX manual. The w/o Tears has a short little fax setup procedure; it assumes you have voice hardware, and despite wrestling with it for over 2 hours, I couldn't get any of the Elastix fax settings to work.

    Then I noticed that FreePBX had a method of routing extensions to receive faxes, or at least it appeared to be the case (its not really "explicitly" documented). Then I messed with that for about an hour.

    None of these things worked, which is why I'm requesting any basic configuration information here on the forum. ANYTHING you guys could send -- a quick run-through of the config, a screenshot, anything.

    @dicko - I've checked in the FreePBX "General Settings" and I don't have that option.

    But more importantly, I have no idea how to set any of this up, because everything I've tried just gets me a fast busy when routing to a fax extension.

    I've also spent over an hour on Google searching for a tutorial with more information on this -- no luck.

    Therefore, if anyone can link me to an article that doesn't assume the server has hard-trunks installed; or can give me a quick suggestion of the basic configuration, I would indebted to you.

    Thank you in advance,
    RKM
     
  9. dicko

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    A ) setup an IAX2 extension
    B ) setup a "faxmodem" in Elastix/fax/New Virtual Fax that matches A )
    C ) dial that extension
    D ) if you hear a "Fax Tone", then you succeeded

    If you didn't check your work starting at A) again, believe me it works.

    E) route a DID to that which you setup in A),

    . . ."thats all folks"
     
  10. RKM

    RKM

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    Yup, that was the first 5 minutes of my "Elastix attempt".

    The next 2 hours was reading/researching/trying every permeation, without luck.

    Being a newbie to Elastix, what would be by next step of action? For example, run Asterisk in verbose mode and try to discern why I'm getting rejected (fast-busy's)?

    Keep in mind, as soon as I route these extensions to normal (non-IAX2 trunks) they work fine. However, when I setup a (a) IAX2 extension, (b) VirtualFax-pointing-to-that-ext -- that gets me a fast-busy.

    Not knowing anything about the debug process, or whether this was even the right coarse of action, I'm stuck posting here...

    Thank you again for all of the help :).
     
  11. dicko

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    If your first three minutes included an arbitrary yum update then you might need to do the calltokenoptional thingy (caveat implementor), if not I have no idea I've done dozens and everyone works flawlessly.
     
  12. RKM

    RKM

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    @dicko - Update ... thank you again for that reply. It gave me the confidence to try once more. Here are my notes...

    Since I've recently updated to FreePBX 2.6.01 inside Elastix, I've deleted all of my extensions, giving me a clean slate. Since you mentioned that it was so easy, I promised myself that I would give it one more try and if it didn't work, I wouldn't get stuck on it. Sure enough, it works.

    The problem in the original config appears to be with the IAX2 trunks. Previously, I was getting a different status in the Asterisk Info section of FreePBX. Something that suggested they weren't connecting (can't remember the exact status). Now that this status message is rectified, everything else appears to work effortlessly.

    For the benefit of others/search engines, I'll post a nice, tidy explanation:

    Configuring faxing in Elastix
    The following is the bare minimum config. It shows you how little data you actually have to enter to get this setup.

    1. Setup IAX2 extension in FreePBX, providing this data:
    [*]Extension: 601
    [*]Display Name: TEST FAX
    [*]Secret: (hidden)
    (verify using the window: FreePBX > Asterisk Info > Peers > (assure fax trunk is "OK")

    2. Setup New Virtual Fax in Elastix
    [*]Virt Fax Name: Test Fax
    [*]Fax Extension: 601
    [*]Dest Email / Secret: (left out)
    [*]Country Code: 01 (for US)
    [*]Area Code: Your NPA

    3. Verify the status in Elastix Fax List shows "Running and Idle"

    4. Setup Inbound Route in FreePBX:
    [*]Important Note: ignore all fax options here
    [*]Description: Fax Inbound
    [*]DID Number: (make sure you understand DISA pattern matching first)
    [*]Set Destination > Extensions: 601

    5. Check your Elastix > Template Email options (to be sure you're using a valid sender address if your email server requires one, etc)

    Now, if you're like me ... When you have a problem, you'll be tempted to wonder whether you should setup some of the fax options in the Inbound config. Do not. Only route this to your fax extension, nothing more.

    On to the next / related problem...

    Where is the "email to fax gateway" setup in Elastix? I know how this can be done in Hylafax (/etc/hylafax/hyla.conf settings and associated scripts to process attachments); however, I don't see anywhere in Elastix to setup the method for receiving email/passing it along to Hylafax?

    Using a Hylafax client isn't really an option in our case, because Elastix doesn't support IP ranges in the hosts authorization ... and 100% of our fax sending is done through dynamic IP's.

    Thanks again for all of your help!
     
  13. dicko

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    You've lucked out with the second part, Elastix Fax is in fact Hylafax (As is AvantFax ) , everything will be where you expect it to be /etc/hylafax and /var/spool/hylafax just revert the notify and faxrcvd commands called by hylafax
     
  14. RKM

    RKM

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    Well I know how to set everything up for processing the attachment; however, Elastix has installed postfix by default, and I can't find anything on feeding it from postfix to hylafax.

    There is an old FAQ on postfix's webstie that mentions a processor that might do something similar, but the code is fragmented.

    The trick is that somewhere there has to be a method for postfix to write out emails (that match a pattern, since the email username's of [FAX#] won't exist) to a script that hylafax proceeds with.

    8885551212@mydomain.com (invalid addr) > Postfix > Hylafax

    Is there any sort of link that discusses this, or have you ever setup an email-to-fax gateway?

    Thanks again for all of the good suggestions :)
     
  15. dicko

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  16. nedicz

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    From Elastix w/t...works for me:

    One of the difficulties experience by many users are the inability to have the Fax (or voice
    mail notification) sent out by email. One of the possible reason is that postfix need a valid
    relay host address which you will need to add to etc/postfix/main.cf
    relayhost = optusnet.com.au (or whatever your service provider is)

    Good Luck!
     

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