December 3, 1996 1:50 PM ET

SoftTek to offer browser-based faxing
By Steve Kovsky

  Users who are loath to relinquish their Internet connection long enough to send a fax from their PCs will have a new option early next year.

Touted as the first intranet-based fax server software, SoftTek Inc.'s w.FAX product will allow users to send and receive faxes over the corporate intranet via their Netscape Communications Corp. Navigator browser.

Scheduled for launch at next week's InternetWorld conference in New York, w.FAX runs on any Sun Microsystems Inc. World Wide Web server or a Network File System-mounted Sun machine. The software requires the SunOS operating system and NCSA, Netscape or Apache Web server software running on Sun SPARC hardware.

The Unix-based server software automatically routes incoming faxes to users by the Direct Inward Dial (the PBX equivalent of Caller ID) number or via an optional optical character recognition engine that indexes and delivers the documents by user name.

When a fax is received, the server sends the fax recipient an E-mail notification via Netscape Mail. The mail message provides a hot link to the URL on the server where the fax image is stored as a JPEG file. Users click on the link and automatically view the fax from within their browsers. Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer can also be used as the primary client platform, according to SoftTek officials.

Users can send faxes from their PCs by attaching text or encapsulated PostScript files to a cover sheet.

The new w.FAX product joins SoftTek's existing n.FAX server, which was launched in late November. n.FAX is designed for use with Unix-based Motif clients.

Several enhancements to the SoftTek fax server product suite are planned for early next year, according to Tim Dales, president of the Trabuco Canyon, Calif., company.

During the first quarter of 1997, the company plans to launch m.FAX, a version of the software that integrates with Qualcomm Inc.'s Eudora E-mail package. SoftTek also plans to add support for Windows NT-based Web servers running Microsoft's Internet Information Server. A stand-alone desktop version of w.FAX is also on tap for next quarter, and SoftTek officials said that in January they will add support for a variety of popular PC file formats to be used as fax attachments, including Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect files and Microsoft Word and Excel files.

Currently in beta testing, w.FAX is scheduled for general delivery in January. Pricing will start at $5,500 for the Intranet Fax Server and unlimited client access. n.FAX users can upgrade to w.FAX for $1,595.

SoftTek can be reached at

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