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Fax Machines - The Definitive Telefax Standard (DTS)

At present, the effects of the technical specification FTZ 18TR53, which used to be applicable for Germany and which has now been replaced by the new EU Terminal Directive, are still being felt. This means that incompatibilities between telefax machines are still rare nowadays.

However, unless preventive measures are taken, in future incompatibilities may well be encountered with this most popular communications mean after the telephone, and which is indispensable for business correspondence today. International standards, such as those issued by the ITU (e.g. T.30) or ETSI, either bear the character of recommendations and thus are capable of varying interpretations, or they are not sufficiently advanced to be in a position to resolve potential incompatibility problems.

For this reason, the Working Party Telefax in VDMA has decided to extend through the "DTS" the compatibility criteria of the old guideline FTZ 18TR53, itself based on international recommendations, on a voluntary basis. Thus, the working party has placed the technical criteria for communication between telefax machines and the numerous test criteria on a common platform, and also ensures that they are kept up-to-date.

The "DTS" also incorporates a further characteristic: It improves the legal security of a telefax transmission in business correspondence. In the past, it was difficult to conclude whether a document had been correctly transmitted and received, merely on the basis of a positive transmission protocol. With a small number of additional criteria in the "DTS fax report", the basic information in the transmission and reception protocols as specified in the "DTS", it is now possible to make a positive or negative statement about a successful transmission and correct reception of a transmitted document. This means, that the fax machine, particularly when documents are transmitted between two "DTS" certified terminals, has gained a legal quality similar to that of telex, which is losing importance.

Being a completely voluntary standard, "DTS" testing and certification are voluntary and not tied to membership in the Working Party Telefax in VDMA. The Working Party Telefax is owner and umbrella organisation of the "DTS" symbol. This has been registered as a trade mark with the German Patent Office under the number 396 01 813, and for European Trade Mark protection under the number 320 499.

The "DTS" is extensively documented including all test cases. It is published in German as VDMA Standard Sheet no. 24985, parts 1 and 2, and can be procured from: Beuth Verlag GmbH, D-10772 Berlin.

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