Can I Use a Fax Machine with MagicJack?

I’ve been thinking of getting rid of my landline. I know I could get by with just a cell phone if it weren’t for my need to have a fax machine. I saw an infomercial about MagicJack. Would my fax machine still work with that?

MagicJack has been gaining popularity, in part due to a 2008 Product of the Year nod from PC Magazine as well as its affordability: local and long distance calls in the U.S. and Canada for $39.95 for the device and the first year of service; subsequent years are $19.95. The user plugs a household phone into the MagicJack device and then inserts the device into a USB port in an Internet-connected computer, turning the computer into a voice-over IP (VoIP) hub and potentially eliminating the need for traditional phone service.

According to its web site, MagicJack does not “officially support” faxing. The problem is that MagicJack, like Vonage and Skype, relies on VoIP, a technology that is not really compatible with fax machines, mainly because fax was designed for analog networks. However, users have reported intermittent success. The MagicJack FAQ does suggest a couple of potential work-arounds: turning off error correction and setting the fax machine to the slowest speed and testing until you perhaps find a speed that works.

If you need reliability in your fax service, and can’t tolerate missed incoming faxes, MagicJack is not a great option if you want to keep using your freestanding fax machine. You’ll have to keep the landline.

Of course, you could consider transitioning to an Internet-based fax service.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send me your fax question.