The SIP Forum is a non-profit association whose mission is to advance the adoption of products and services based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and to be the meeting place for developers of commercial SIP-based services and Internet technology, such as hosted IP-based services, IPBXs, IP phones, PC clients and applications, SIP servers, IP telephony gateways and IP fax technology. The SIP Forum created the FoIP Task Group and chartered it to investigate ongoing issues with the deployment of fax services, specifically ITU T.38, in SIP networks. SIP networks cannot adequately replace analog PSTN in enterprises unless essential services such as FAX are accommodated.
The Fax Task Group (FTG) is made up of volunteers from companies including Commetrex, Cisco Systems, FaxCore, Dialogic, Sagemcom, FaxBack, Digium and AudioCodes. The Group is working on a series of issues and attempting to amend the T.38 standard and make recommendations that will steer SIP providers to field interoperable systems. The SIP Forum FoIP task group is chartered to accomplish the following tasks:
- Fully document what the current issues are surrounding ITU T.38 in SIP networks.
- Find out interoperability testing procedures currently exist.
- Determine the common factors in T.38 failure such as page length or lack of ECM support in carrier gateways and ATAs (analog terminal adapters).
- Determine what solutions are currently available to address the problem.
- Determine if the problem can be solved within the scope of existing IETF SIP and ITU T.38 Recommendations.
- If the problems can be solved using existing standards by tightening requirements, then the FTG should document the procedures that vendors and carriers need to implement in an appropriate SIP Forum Technical Recommendation.
- If, in the judgment of the SIP Forum FoIP workgroup, existing IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) and or ITU (International Telecommunications Union) standards need to be modified, then the FTG should develop a strongly worded recommendation to the appropriate Standards Development Organization (SDO) on what the SIP Forum FTG has discovered and recommend appropriate action to remedy the issue.
The Fax Task Group is well into its investigations and has prepared some changes to the T.38 standard and is readying other recommendations as well. The Task Group is currently meeting via teleconference on a weekly basis. The group has completed a comprehensive Problem Statement that describes the various issues that are currently impacting the reliability of Fax-over-IP transmission. This document can be found in the FoIP Task Group document repository at the following URL: http://www.sipforum.org/component/option,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,57/Itemid,261/
The FTG has a mailing list that can be joined by going to: http://sipforum.org/mailman/listinfo/foip