Sending a fax with a computer was common when computers had factory installed fax boards in the computer. The computer fax hardware was discontinued to save money and email does most of what faxes do.

Computers with the Windows 7 operating system can be used as a fax machine. One of the devices listed in the printers and devices section is a fax. The fax can be a board installed in the computer internally, or an external device powered by the computer. It sends faxes with a phone line connected to a phone socket. The fax can send text, jpg and other files. If a person has to send an occasional fax, the external fax modem may be the perfect accessory for their computer.  Some companies list their fax modems  as compatible with the linux operating system, and may require a linux driver. These will list that compatibality in their specifications and linux operating sytem manual.

Dell NW147

The Dell NW147, compatible model number: RD02-D400 is an inexpensive 56K modem that connects to a computer with a USB 2.0 hub connection. The Dell NW47 uses a phone line to send and receive. It works without extra software or drivers as it contains a Conexant memory chip set that works with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and Linux. The fax transmission speed is rated at 14400 bps.

Dell NW147 external fax modem.Credit: Amazon

It is a small black unit that weighs an ounce.


This 56K fax modem operates with Windows 7, Vista, XP and Linux operating systems. Windows 7 and Vista is supported in 64/32 bit and XP in 32 bit. It is 56K and uses a USB hub to attach to the computer and uses telephone lines to transmit data. The fax comes with a telephone line and a CD of drivers. The white TRENDnet TFM-561U is 1 x 2.6 x 0.7 inches and weighs 1.1 ounces. This unit can be used to provide dialup internet service. It is reasonably priced. For the size and price this TRENDnet TFM-561UCredit: Amazonunit performs well. It has a 3 year limited warranty.

USRobotics USR5637

The USRobotics USR5637 is 56K and operates with the Mac operating system as well as Windows. It is white, 6.00 X 1.50 inches and weighs 0.60 pounds. The USR5637 comes with a phone cord and

URR5637(90035)Credit: Amazon

ferrite donut to cut down on interference, and a CD with software and drivers.

USRobotics USR5686G

The USRobotics USR5686G 56K V.92 Serial Controller Fax modem is more expensive, and connects to the computer with a RS232 serial port connection. It is considered reliable and performs well. The black USRobotics device is 9.5 x 6 x 3 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds. The fax comes with a telephone cable, power adapter, driver CD and instruction booklet.

USR5686B(90038)Credit: Amazon

External fax modems cover a range of prices from single digits to triple digits. These are reasonably priced units that perform well. If a person doesn’t need a fax machine, but has a need to send an occasional fax, an external fax modem may be the ideal purchase.