Install a Multi-Tech Fax Server on ShoreTel System

It’s funny but I’ve probably been on twenty ShoreTel system installs and I don’t think a single one of them didn’t have a fax server somewhere in the mix. It just makes sense right? You spend all that money on a phone system that will pay for itself twice in a year if you have a lot of offices all over the place and then you’re still getting faxes to crappy thermal paper fax machines? Spend a thousand dollars and get at least one Multi-Tech four port fax server. They work incredibly well for both incoming and outgoing faxes. It’s not even that hard to install them into your ShoreTel system. Then you can get rid of most of your analog lines.

Some partners might say I’m revealing arcane secrets about the phone system and costing them money, but this is actually documented elsewhere. I’m just simplifying the steps a bit.

These instructions are for Multi-Tech fax servers. I’ve only tried them and some open source fax servers. They are the easiest to work with, and have the best support I’ve seen. They’re also fully certified to work with the ShoreTel phone system. So there’s no reason not to get Multi-Tech.

You’ll need a switch, or set of switches, with as many analog extension ports available as you have fax server ports.

I’ll break this up into sections so it doesn’t get confusing. I tend to do all these steps together but it probably makes more sense if you prep the ShoreTel system, then the Fax server, then connect them.

ShoreTel Settings

Setting up the ShoreTel system for a fax server is more about having enough available analog extension ports on one of your switches for your fax server. If you’ve got a four port fax server, you need four available analog extension ports. Most switches can accommodate this.

This guide assumes you are using ShoreTel 12.2, a voice T1 or PRI for your phone lines, and installing the Fax Server in your Headquarters site. It also assumes you use four digit extensions, but it works for any length, you’ll just have to adapt your settings to accommodate where appropriate.

Step 1 – Set Up Analog Extensions on your Switch

Find a switch that has four ports on it that can be freed up for extensions. This will mean that switch can use 5 less IP phones for each port you use, so make sure it has room for this. You’ll need one port per port your fax server has.

Go to Platform Hardware -> Voice Switches / Service Appliances -> Primary to see your switches.

To set a port for being an analog extension select the port in the switch menu and select “Available”. Your quick start guides can tell you which ports can be used as extensions, but simply looking at the drop down menus will tell you.

Be aware you don’t have to put all of them on one switch, it’s just easier to manage if you do.

You’ll see in the picture that four of my switch ports are set to “Extension” this happens when you assign an extension to a certain port in the User settings page.

Step 2 – Set up your fax extensions.

You’ll need an extension for each port in your fax server. I would set these extensions up outside your normal extension groups to keep your DID numbers consistent. Call them “Fax Server 1” through “Fax Server 4” if you have a four port fax server. These need to be Extension Only, don’t give any of them a mailbox.

Instead of assigning this extension to a phone, assign it to a Port and put it on the first port you made available on the switch from Step 1. Set Fax Server 2 on the second port, and so forth.

Important: Set the “Fax Support” option to “Fax Server”. You’ll find this just below the check box for “Make Number Private” in the third section of the page.

Click Personal Options for Fax Server 1 and give it a call stack size of one. Then set the Standard call handling mode up for “Busy/No Answer” and set the destination to “Fax Server 2”. Repeat this for each extension in the chain. Fax Server 2 will forward to Fax Server 3 when busy and so forth. When you get to the last one in the chain, set it to go to Fax Server 1.

I think this can be done with a hunt group easier but ShoreTel used to recommend against this so I’ve never tried.

Step 3 – Set Up A Fax Redirect Extension In Your Headquarters Site

Click on your Sites Menu and open your Headquarters site. Set the Fax Redirect Extension to “Fax Server 1”. That’ll make sure when the ShoreTel system hears a fax tone it redirects the fax to this extension and hands it off to the fax server.

Step 4 – Optional: DNIS Numbers

Do not do this if you are using everyone’s direct number as their fax number too. 

The whole point of a ShoreTel system is that you have one contact number for everything so this part is optional. All you really need is a DID for each user. However, some organizations have separate direct fax numbers for everyone. There are many reasons why you’d do it this way, not the least of which is that you may have always had separate numbers for faxing to each person.

The advantage for this is the phone at the user’s desk doesn’t ring and beep like it does having it redirect from their normal direct number. This is how to set this up.

The other advantage to DNIS numbers is you can port your old analog line numbers to your PRI and have those faxes sent to someone’s e-mail. You can even get more direct numbers for specific fax numbers for marketing campaigns and such. I will do a separate blog post on this as it is enough to be another topic.

Make sure you’ve ported all your Fax numbers to your PRI/T1. Go into your Trunks Menu, select Trunk Groups and open your PRI trunk group where these calls come in. Click the “DNIS Map” button and this is the tedious part of this process.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and put the last four digits of the first fax DID into the first box, and then type the full number into the second box, have it go to an Extension and select “Fax Server 1” as the destination. Click the Add Record Link.

Do this for every Fax number.

Important! Make sure you click save at the top here. I’ve entered about 200 numbers once and forgot to hit save and it screwed up all my work. Clicking the Add This Record link does not automatically save what you just did.

Fax Finder Settings

This is how to set up the Fax Finder fax server. I’m assuming here you have a relatively new fax server. If you have one of the old FF420’s the screens will be different but the concept is going to be the same.

You’ll need a crossover cable and a laptop for this as Multi-Tech hasn’t yet moved into the 21st century on how appliance firmware design.

Step 1 – Go ahead and rack your fax server near the ShoreTel switch you’re going to wire it into and turn it on.

Hook your laptop into the ethernet port on the back of the appliance with a crossover cable. Set your laptop’s IP address to 192.168.2.5 and the subnet mask to 255.255.255.0. You don’t need a gateway.

Open a web browser and go to 192.168.2.1. I’ve found the newer versions don’t seem to like Chrome too much, but Firefox and Internet Explorer work fine.

The default username/password for most Fax Finder appliances is admin/admin.

Once in, click on “System Configuration” and Click on network. Give it an IP address, Subnet mask, gateway, and DNS servers.

Click the save button and then go setup your SMTP server in the next section, and make sure the Timezone setting is correct under time. It will probably reboot. You can now hook the fax server up into your network and access it from the IP address you just put in.

Step 2 – Wiring

This step is intimidating to some people. There are a few ways to do this and I’ll try to get some pictures up soon of some of the things I refer to.

The Easy Way

Get the little 1′ long ShoreTel Amphenol cable (25 pair) that probably came with your ShoreTel switch and hook it up to a standard 12 port Patch Panel or “harmonica”. A harmonica is basically a strip of female phone jacks with an amphenol jack on it. Most of your supply chain shops like Border States, or GraybaR will carry these.

Attach this to your ShoreTel switch. Run some normal phone line cable from port 1 on the back of the fax server to jack 1 on the harmonica. Do this for all ports.

Please note that the Amphenol cable that came with your ShoreTel switch is wired up specially. If you use a normal 25 pair amphenol cable this won’t work out quite right. Also note that  you need a female to male cable.

The Hard Way

The hard way sucks, but can be done. Get an amphenol cable and cut the end that doesn’t go into the ShoreTel switch off. Strip back a few inches of wire on this end. You’ll need some RJ11 female jacks to do it right, or some wire splice clips if you don’t care. I won’t describe the don’t care method. It looks terrible.

The pin outs vary greatly by switch. The best thing to do here is find the Install guide for whichever model of switch you’re using to figure out what ports do what. You’re looking for which pairs are the Extension or Universal ports. On the ShoreGear 60 every other pair is a Universal port up to pair 15, and every other port from 17 to 23 can be used as Extensions. This information is usually on page 2.

You can find all these guides here: http://support.shoretel.com/products/voice_switches/

So you’ve figured out you need to use ports 1, 3, 5, and 7 for your fax server ports. Refer to the following guide on Wikipedia which shows what pair is what on the standard 25 pair wiring scheme. Here’s the chart, but the graphic on Wikipedia is easier to decipher.

Pair # First wire Second wire
1 White Blue
2 Orange
3 Green
4 Brown
5 Slate
6 Red Blue
7 Orange
8 Green
9 Brown
10 Slate
11 Black Blue
12 Orange
13 Green
14 Brown
15 Slate
16 Yellow Blue
17 Orange
18 Green
19 Brown
20 Slate
21 Violet Blue
22 Orange
23 Green
24 Brown
25 Slate

 

For pairs 1, 3, 5, and 7 you’d need the following colored pairs: White/Blue, White/Green, White/Slate, and Red/Orange. You’ll need to wire each of these into the center pair of your RJ11 jacks (it’s usually color coded white/blue on the jacks).

Hook your phone lines into the jacks you just wired up and then place them into their corresponding ports on the back of the fax server.

Step 3 – Fax Configuration

Log back into your Fax Finder.

Click on Fax Configuration. On the modem drop down box select “All Modems”. Make sure that the routing box is set to “DTMF Digits”. I set the baud rate to 33600, and everything else is left the same. You might want to adjust the number of rings.

Click Save

I typically don’t make any other changes in Fax configuration. It is set to send PDF files by default.

Setting Up Users

Once you’ve got everything wired up and your settings are correct in the ShoreTel and Fax Finder you can now set your first user up and test to make sure that everything is working correctly.

I’m assuming that you’re using the one number does it all method.

Step 1 – Set up Fax Redirect in ShoreTel

Log into Shoreware Director and open up a user. Scroll down to the third section (it starts with Mailbox Server). Make sure the Fax Support drop down is set to “User – Redirect”.

Step 2 – Add User to Fax Finder

Log into your Fax Finder and click on Users. Click the Add link up at the top.

Fill in the fields.

Username – I typically use their Windows username here.

Full Name – Self Explanatory

Password – Self Explanatory. If you push out the client software it’s a good idea to make this something simple. 

Phone Number/Fax Number – These two fields are mostly cosmetic for basic fax to email functionality. I fill it in for completeness and so their cover pages are filled in.

Organization – Self Explanatory

Include Cover Page – I leave this unchecked but you can force an outgoing cover page. 

Under the Create Inbound route check the “add route” box and put their extension into the “Fax Extension” box.

Click Save

Assuming everything went well you can now send a fax to that user’s DID and they should get their fax. I would use a website like GotFreeFax.com to send the test fax as it’s an outside line.

If your user gets it then everything is correct. You can use the status menu to see if everything is ringing correctly and the right digits are being passed.

Other Steps

Typically this is something your partner will do before you get this started, so you’ll need to know this for your DID’s to work correctly. In your Trunk Groups look at the “Inbound Section” and see how many digits are being sent from the CO. Most of the time it’s 4 or 7 or 10 if you are in the US, but it could be any number really. You’ll also need to know which digits are being passed. Usually it’s the whole number, or the last four digits but your phone company can tell you this.

These digits are the part of the number that need to go into the fax extension box if  you are using the DNIS method. When you use DID’s, even if the last four of the DID are different from the extension, the Shoretel system should pass the extension to the fax server.

 

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