If your company is like many others, chances are you started your fax server with one fax modem connected to a serial port. Now, as your needs grow and you consider adding one or more fax modems to your fax server to build capacity, you think, "There has to be a better way." The solution is a TR114 Series Universal Port fax/voice board from Brooktrout Technology.

The Brooktrout Technology TR114 is not one board, it's an entire line of fax and voice multichannel processing expansion boards that fit into your fax server. The exact model number of the board you need to purchase depends on the type and number of options you require. Brooktrout offers models with two, four, and eight channels for inbound and outbound calls, and versions for standard analog phone lines, ISDN lines, and other DID telephone interfaces.

The TR114 is fully International Telecommunications Union (ITU) T.30 compliant, supporting V.17, V.21, V.27, and V.29 transmission protocols and the T.4 (MH/MR) and T.6 (MMR) compression formats. The unit supports a bit rate of 14.4Kbps, with automatic step down in 2.4Kbps increments as line conditions warrant. The unit supports both fine and normal resolution faxes, with A4, A3, and B4 image widths (including on-the-fly width conversions), in addition to ASCII, PCX, TIFF, and other image formats.

To install the TR114, a full-size expansion card, you need a 16-bit ISA slot. If your fax server uses a mini-tower or a slim profile case, you might have trouble installing the board into your case. Keep this problem in mind when you decide on this solution. Furthermore, the TR114 consists of a main expansion board with a daughterboard attached to the side, which means the TR114 consumes a full slot lengthwise and width-wise. I recommend that you install the card into an ISA slot where you won't have an expansion card next to the daughterboard. This approach will ensure that the card has sufficient air circulation for cooling.

Installing the Brooktrout TR114 is easy. Before installing the card, you need to set a series of DIP switches and a jumper. The DIP switches set the IO port address for the card. The default port address is 260, which might conflict with some network adapters, depending on your system's configuration. The default interrupt request (IRQ) number for the expansion card is IRQ5. You can easily change this number with the jumper setting.

In my installation, I had to change only the IRQ­my SMC Ethernet adapter resides at IRQ5­so I selected IRQ10. After shutting down my Prioris Windows NT Server machine, I popped off the cover, unscrewed and removed an expansion slot dust cover, and slid the TR114 into place. After firmly seating the card and securing it with the screw, I replaced the cover and rebooted my server. Total installation time was 20 minutes, 15 of which I spent waiting for my NT server to properly shut down.

The Brooktrout TR114 does not include software to function as a fax server, so after you install the expansion card, your server will not instantly become fax ready. You need to purchase a fax server program to use the product. The capabilities of the Brooktrout TR114 depend on the software you use. The TR114 supports both speech and forms overlay, for instance, but these features are useful only if your software supports them. Also, remember that not just any fax server will support the Brooktrout TR114. Only high-end fax server products designed for the department-level fax server market and above will support this type of product. Markets below the department level usually use one or two fax modems for their server instead.

For fax server hardware, you can't beat a Brooktrout TR114 in your server. The feature enhancements (such as DID support or CSID, DID, and DTMF routing) it can bring to your fax server environment make for a much-improved environment. The price for a Brooktrout TR114 is not inexpensive. Even at $2000, however, the Brooktrout TR114 makes an excellent addition to your fax server.

TR114 Series Universal Port Boards
Contact:Brooktrout Technology 781-449-4100 or 800-333-5274
Web: http://www.brooktrout.com
Email: info@brooktrout.com
Price: $2000
System configuration: Any computer with available drivers