A fax machine is a device that, just like an old modem, transmits data by sound — many of us will have heard this by calling a fax number by mistake. Unfortunately, this system, which worked well when the phone service was a circuit-switched service with copper wires, is not compatible with today’s IP and fibre based telephony services.
Switzerland recognised this, as well as the existence of adequate replacement technology, when a new ‘Ordinance on Telecommunications Services’ was adopted in December 2016: this ordinance removed the obligation on telecom providers to support a fax service as part of their universal service obligation.
Since many outgoing calls are routed via Swiss telecom providers, CERN can no longer guarantee that faxes will be transmitted correctly — or indeed at all. Note that this problem concerns the email2fax service just as much as it concerns the sending of faxes from a physical machine.
Many alternatives to fax transmission now exist — from sending scanned documents or pdf files via email to the secure sharing of documents online (for example using the CERNBox service). If you are still sending (or receiving) faxes, we strongly recommend that you discuss moving to a different mechanism for document sharing with your correspondents.