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Fax Software Doesn't Seem to Work (Cingular)

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Conklin Systems

Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 244
Location: Mid-Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is an issue in the Treo community in general. Historically, cell phones were originally just phones, then they added (fax)modem functionality, and then finally they added TCP/IP support (packet data.)

Once phones could be used as modems, they were used as mobile modems for laptops. Apps didn't run on the phone because they weren't Treos yet, just phones, so people started using phones in 'tethered' applications. In this setup, the phone acts as a (fax)modem, typically connected with a serial cable, and literally dials a number and makes a connection. In fact that's how people originally got mobile internet access; they would use a cell phone to dial up to an ISP dial-in pool. Sprint's cellular modem service is still called "Wireless Web" because of that, even though it doesn't have anything to do with the web (unless you call an ISP.)

Later, 3G networks appeared with TCP/IP support and now the phones had a packet-data connection, through the carrier, to the Internet. Phones also got smarter and now had weak WAP browsing, email and other support on the phone. Early data access was very, very slow. Nextel's was 9600 baud(!), for example, so all of the sudden the phones that were being used for tethered modem access turned into a liability. A single real (not WAP) web page could take minutes over packet data access, and would crush the carriers network, so the carriers changed their stance entirely and now said you couldn't use the phone for tethered data, and that the data plan was only for the (nearly useless) on-device WAP browser and such.

Today, the situation is a little better. Data speeds have increased and carriers are a little less paranoid about laptop users going through their phones. Also, phones like the Treo now have laptop-like applications anyhow, so the allow-tether-mode-or-not argument is at a turning point. Some carriers like Sprint expressly allow and support tethered mode. Verizon, on the other hand, went out of their way to disable it on their Treo, and want another $60 a month for your laptop. This is where the wanting separate accounts comes in.

CS Fax actually uses the faxmodem functionality present in all devices from the previous generation, making real fax calls directly to the destination fax machine, not TCP/IP over an email gateway. Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, Alltel, Cellular South, etc. all support this usage. Only Cingular is turning/has turned it off. It's a different service from packet data.

So to answer your question, no, fax(modem) support and wanting to double bill are unrelated issues on different underlying technology. By dropping CSD service, Cingular is disabling data and faxmodem service for ALL devices, Treo or otherwise, to their customers. However they still have CSD support on their network, and people can still order CSD service from a different carrier and roam on the Cingular network.

What Cingular's motivation is I don't know, but the rep I spoke to said they're still getting getting a dozen requests a day for CSD service, and she too thought dropping it was really pointless.
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