Can you receive a fax while driving?
March 20, 2006 10:01 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who is a trucker and he wants to know if there's way to receive faxes while on the road. He either wants a fax machine that could receive while he's in route or....

I was wondering if there was any decent Internet mobile connections out there that could perhaps run a laptop on the road and then he could receive faxes via a service like eFax or something similar. A printed out hard copy is essential for when he arrives at his destinations. He needs to be able to do this while on the road 'cause "time is money!" Is this a viable proposition? Any and all ideas/solutions are welcomed!
posted by thebarron to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
In route, huh? Because as a trucker, he no doubt stops at Flying J Truck Stops a lot in the course of his work -- he can't have folks fax him at the next Flying J on his route, then stop there and get the fax?
posted by GaelFC at 10:11 PM on March 20, 2006

I forgot to mention that he drives strictly within California between the SF Bay area and the LA area. His main route is 101 and occasionally I-5 up the Central Valley.
posted by thebarron at 10:17 PM on March 20, 2006

efax would convert a fax sent to an efax number into an email attachment in his inbox. The efax files aren't too big, and on a slow 20kbps GPRS connection, you could probably download a fax in 3 to 5 minutes. Printing would be tougher, either he'd have to use a laptop printing on a truck stop printer, or have a portable printer in his truck.

It doesn't seem too hard to do actually. An efax account is about ten bucks a month and on t-mobile, an unlimited VPN GPRS connection with your phone is $20 a month (he'll need a bluetooth phone and a laptop that has bluetooth to use it wirelessly as a modem).
posted by mathowie at 10:23 PM on March 20, 2006

This looks like a clue -- Obviously your friend would need a device that matches the available services in the area.
posted by krisjohn at 10:54 PM on March 20, 2006

He is looking for fax to email. If you search for unified messaging, you will find choices. I have not tried them, but for $5/month will do the receive part. With a portable printer, a laptop, and wireless internet you could print your email/fax while on the go.
posted by gearspring at 11:05 PM on March 20, 2006

The Possio PM-70 cellular fax thingie seems to be available in the us at
posted by insomnus at 12:02 AM on March 21, 2006

Why does he need to print? Just annotate the fax form electronically, fax it back via efax. Done.
posted by mmdei at 2:59 AM on March 21, 2006

Probably the most reliable way to have his "fax machine" always reachable would be to use some service like eFax or the like to receive the faxes, then get a laptop with a cellular data service to download the faxes that get emailed to him via his fax service. Might not be the most economical approach, but it would give him internet access (slow) on the road.
posted by jduckles at 4:06 AM on March 21, 2006

Any EVDO account will work nicely, but GPRS is *much* more affordable. EVDO can be had by either Sprint or Verizon, but it's around $60-$80/month, and, just as time is money... so is money... money.

EVDO is broadband-internet that works in moving vehicles and what have you. His route would work flawlessly (Select bottom radio option) for EVDO, and he'd be able to... I don't know, stream internet radio on a laptop while he drives, too.

Of course, you'd have to use some other form of broadband-delivered fax service, like the eFax concept you mention above, but it's definitely a quick route to the internet.

GPRS, while less reliable and generally a lot slower, might do exactly what he needs. And near-every GSM carrier offers it.
posted by disillusioned at 5:34 AM on March 21, 2006

I've been using j2, another fax-to-email service, quite happily. If he's got a laptop with wifi, he can download his e-mail at a truck stop and deal with the faxes then.

Annotating faxes on-screen is a little tedious, but entirely possible (there may be better software for this than I'm using). I've got a scan of my signature that I paste in where needed, type in "X"s on forms where needed, and email-to-fax back the resulting file.
posted by adamrice at 7:45 AM on March 21, 2006

I highyly recommend godaddy's efaxing service. cheap, great interface, don't have to download any extra software. I know that wasn't exactly the question, but if it turns out efaxing is for him, try their service.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:19 AM on March 21, 2006

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