Can I fax with my cable, ADSL, DSL, or ISDN modem using Mac OS X 10.3?

Learn about sending or receiving a fax with a cable, ADSL, DSL, or ISDN ("broadband") modem and Mac OS X Panther. This document's concepts also apply when using third-party faxing software.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
To fax, you need two things:
  • A modem that sends and receives analog signals.
  • A phone line that can carry analog signals (most do).

If you have an Apple internal modem, for example, you can use it to fax. Analog modems are also often used for connecting to the Internet via PPP, which is often not as fast as a broadband connection (but sometimes it can be, depending on the kind of phone line and Internet service provider).

Many broadband modems, on the other hand, don't use analog technology. They usually use digital signals instead, and connect to your computer's Ethernet port or USB port, not the modem port. While you can't use this kind of modem or connection to send or receive a fax with Mac OS X Panther, read the helpful tips below.

Tip: You might be able to fax using the same wall jack that your ADSL, DSL or ISDN modem uses, if that line allows analog calls and you don't mind performing a quick test. Try this to find out:
  1. Temporarily disconnect the cable from your DSL or ISDN modem and plug it (the cable that goes between the modem and the wall) into a standard phone .

    Note: Don't force it in if it doesn't easily fit--Ethernet plugs, for example, look like phone plugs but don't fit into landline (RJ-11) phone jacks. There's a picture below that you can look at. If the cord is coaxial, like for cable TV and cable modems, it won't fit in the phone.

  2. Use the phone if the cord fits. Do you hear a dial tone? Can you make calls?

If so, you may be in luck. You can probably use the same wall jack to send or receive faxes with Panther. Get in touch with your Internet service provider (ISP) if this works and you want to hook up both your analog modem and broadband modem to the same wall jack. Alternatively, just connect your analog modem to a standard phone jack and don't worry about your broadband modem's cord or jack.

Here's an example of what the computer's ports look like (they might be in a different arrangement on your computer). (1) is the USB port, (2) is the Ethernet port, (3) is the modem port.

Contact the manufacturer or the supplier of your modem if you are unsure what type it is or if you can make phone calls on the same line.

Related documents

25746 Mac OS X 10.3: Fax doesn't send
25731 Mac OS X 10.3: Receiving faxes and connecting to the Internet
152270 Mac OS X 10.3 Help: Sending a fax

Published Date: Feb 17, 2012