btcmethod
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:27 am

Pi - Arch, USB Fax, and stability?

Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:24 pm

Good evening,

This is my first post on the RPi boards so go easy. We have some experience with RPi and have one we use for testing in our office. I was wondering if the following could be setup or if its a pipe dream.

We have software in our office that has integrated faxing through the program. The current setup has a standalone windows based fax server that send and recieves the faxes from a standard pots line. The fax server receives new faxes (TIFF files) and has them sit in a shared folder that users can pick up and do whatever they want with over the network. It has has a fax monitor on it so when a user sends a fax document out of the software it goes to the fax server and it handles the fax and gives confirmation.

We were looking to see if we could switch to a Raspberry Pi for cost, electricity, and space savings. instead of just have a win box taking up space we want to have a RPi with maybe a USB modem. From our initial research, we have read that the USR5637 and TFM-561U work well with Arch.

Our questions are:
- is this doable?
- is arch on Pi stable enough that this could be an always on fax server
- are there any fax monitor / server software scripts available that can complete this?

In the end its pretty basic, but I have searched the boards and have not come back with much.

Thanks for the info and any guidance you can help with!
Joe

sdjf
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Location: California
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Re: Pi - Arch, USB Fax, and stability?

Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:17 pm

You will need a powered hub for the modem, it uses too much power to run directly off of the Pi. I think I have the same model, but just use it for dialup, not any fax at this point.

Stability can be a thorny issue. Some people have fantastic luck with their Pis being on for many months with no crashes, some do experience crashes. So it depends on what you mean by "always on." I think your SD card speed may be a crucial factor, although cannot say for sure.

I don't know about fax scripts. There could possibly be fax packages in the Arch repository or our ArchLinuxArm repository. will do a little checking on that.

the basic ppp scripts to get online are available in the repository, although getting online can be a challenge if you are doing it from commandline. I ended up ripping off the basic ppp scripts from another Linux system and modifying them for use on my Pi. ppp and chat are pretty basic linux, just needed modifying to fit the hardware on my Pi. I think the modem itself was plug and play.
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sdjf
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Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:20 am
Location: California
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Re: Pi - Arch, USB Fax, and stability?

Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:20 pm

You might read documentation about the following fax related applications we have in the ArchLinuxArm repository. I am showing the pacman command I used to identify them, so others reading this can see how the command works. pacman is our package manager in Arch.

# pacman -Ss fax
extra/capi4hylafax 010300-8
capi plugin for hylafax to enable isdn
faxing
extra/hylafax 6.0.6-2
Fax Server
community/efax-gtk 3.2.11-1
A GUI front end for the 'efax' fax program

EDIT: there is a related arch wiki page. But I think you need to look at a man page for efax somewhere to see how it works and what it's options are.

Building a Fax machine - ArchWiki
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Bu ... ax_machine
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btcmethod
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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:27 am

Re: Pi - Arch, USB Fax, and stability?

Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:53 pm

Great! Thanks for all the information, this will help us get started. I started with arch just from research Ive ready about stability. But maybe I am trying to tackle this with the wrong flavor of Linux on Pi? We are newer but not total noob to Linux. Just trying to figure out what is the most efficient way, if any, to set this up.

By always on, we keep our windows fax server always turned on to receive inbound faxes, at all hours. Its also available for outbound whenever requested. It actually has decent uptimes, but its so much equipment just to have a fax server it seems like a waste.

Thanks again!
Joe

sdjf
Posts: 1395
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:20 am
Location: California
Contact: Website

Re: Pi - Arch, USB Fax, and stability?

Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:46 am

If you decide to go ahead with ARchLinuxArm for your fax server, be forewarned to be extremely careful about system updates. Once in a while, the updates in arch do break things.

I am devoted to arch on the pi, not trying to talk you out of it, but want to make sure you are aware that there are risks involved with updates. Now, I have read that if you update daily or very frequently, things are less likely to break.

We are supposed to update our systems regularly, I do not recall what the official word is, I think at least a couple times a week.

In my case, on dialup, I found that too intense, and decided to just stick with the current image I have been using, until I need some software that requires a full update. In that case, I will do the updating on a card that is a twin to the one I am running, so if things break, I can still keep using my Pi.
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khostet
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Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:35 am

Re: Pi - Arch, USB Fax, and stability?

Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:41 am

Did this project get completed? I am looking for a similar solution where we use a raspberry PI to receive incoming faxes and place them in a file folder on our server. It seems like the PI would be a good platform for this but would need some expertise from folks like you all.

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