How long does it take to send a fax?

Last Update: August 9th, 2021

Sending a fax takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute per page of text (assuming a clear connection for both machines and using today’s technology).

Graphics, fax machines that have been modified to send slower, and lousy phone connections can drastically slow the transmission speed down. Pages with lots of white space can speed a transmission up.

Why is fax so slow?

Fax is slow compared with modern technology such as email. However, it wasn’t always that way.

For decades, the fax was the fastest way to transmit a complicated document.

Fax relies on telephone technology to transmit information. The technology works the same way a dial-up modem does – by using an audible tone over a phone connection.

Compression makes faxes faster, but more challenging to estimate transmission time

Fax uses compression in the transmission to reduce the amount of time a fax takes. Compression reduces the amount of repetitive information transmitted with the fax.

Compression throws the 1 minute per page estimate off as the amount and location white space on the page can make it more challenging to determine transmission time.

Sometimes a slower transmission is better for difficult connections

Slower fax transmissions can sometimes help with difficult phone lines, such as ones having noise on the line or using a VoIP connection.

Slower transmission speeds are better able to handle interruptions in the fax transmission.

If a fax is giving difficult in transmitting, try slowing down the transmission speed. Some fax machines do not have this ability. However, it is possible to call the person you’re faxing and ask them to reduce their speed.