CA2123397A1 - Stand-alone device to transfer computer files using a communication line shared by a facsimile machine - Google Patents

Stand-alone device to transfer computer files using a communication line shared by a facsimile machine

Info

Publication number
CA2123397A1
CA2123397A1 CA 2123397 CA2123397A CA2123397A1 CA 2123397 A1 CA2123397 A1 CA 2123397A1 CA 2123397 CA2123397 CA 2123397 CA 2123397 A CA2123397 A CA 2123397A CA 2123397 A1 CA2123397 A1 CA 2123397A1
Authority
CA
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
fax
device
machine
data
companion
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
CA 2123397
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Robin Ross Cooper
John Couch
Robert Kulakowski
Bernard Press
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Fisk Communications Inc
Original Assignee
Robin Ross Cooper
John Couch
Robert Kulakowski
Bernard Press
Fisk Communications, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/32Circuits or arrangements for control or supervision between transmitter and receiver or between image input and image output device
    • H04N1/327Initiating, continuing or ending a single-mode communication; Handshaking therefor
    • H04N1/32704Establishing a communication with one of a facsimile and another telecommunication apparatus sharing a single line
    • H04N1/32706Type of the other apparatus
    • H04N1/32713Data transmission device, e.g. switched network of teleprinters for the distribution of text-based information transceiver
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/00127Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture
    • H04N1/00204Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture with a digital computer or a digital computer system, e.g. an internet server
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/00127Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture
    • H04N1/00204Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture with a digital computer or a digital computer system, e.g. an internet server
    • H04N1/00206Transmitting or receiving computer data via an image communication device, e.g. a facsimile transceiver
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/32Circuits or arrangements for control or supervision between transmitter and receiver or between image input and image output device
    • H04N1/327Initiating, continuing or ending a single-mode communication; Handshaking therefor
    • H04N1/32704Establishing a communication with one of a facsimile and another telecommunication apparatus sharing a single line
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/32Circuits or arrangements for control or supervision between transmitter and receiver or between image input and image output device
    • H04N1/327Initiating, continuing or ending a single-mode communication; Handshaking therefor
    • H04N1/32704Establishing a communication with one of a facsimile and another telecommunication apparatus sharing a single line
    • H04N1/32715Detecting
    • H04N1/32721Detecting facsimile protocol signals, e.g. DCS or TSI

Abstract

2123397 9310617 PCTABS00022 A method and apparatus (2) for performing transfers of computer file data stored on a computer-accessible medium, such as a diskette (11, 13), using the same communication line (4) shared by a facsimile (fax) machine (12, 14). The method and apparatus (2) employ adaptive switching techniques to provide for the receipt of data from either a fax machine (12, 14), a personal computer configured with a modem (28), or another device of the present invention (177), and provides for the file transfer crash recovery.

Description

WO 93/11~17 PCr~US9~!/096~7 3 ~ 7 : ~ ~ COMMUNICAT:CON LINE SHARED BY A FACSIMILE MACHINE

Fid~lll of lth~3 S~aY~tio~l The pre~ent in~ention pertains gene~ally to the field of ~elecommunications devices and, more particularly, to the ;: 5:~ field of:device used to transfer data stored o~
computer-readable media, using a commNnication line hare~ by a fac~imil:e machine.

~d~l~o==~ ID~i~

Toda~, ehe rac~imile (fax) machine or telecopier is ;es~s~e~tial busi~e ~ e~uipment for any:enterpri~e and e~en an~importa~ hou~ehold appliance for any busy business per~on. ~

T$e~fa~ machine~ a device that e~able~ people ~eparated from each o~her by ~istance and who are not connected to each other by a~comput~er network to send and receive printed matQria~Faxing is a proce~s of commu~ica~ion in 20: which a ~ransmitter scans a do~ument, photograph, m~p or other fixed text or graphic material and~converts the in ormation into signal waves for t~an mi39ion across a communicati~n ~ystem, such as a public ~witched telephone ; network, to a receiver at remote loca~ion. Fax machines 25~: ha~e evol~ed over the years in both speed a~d ophi8tication, to the point where today fa~ing i9 the WO93/1~617 2 1 ~ 3 3 9 7 PCT~US92/096~7 most universal method for sending copies of printed documents. The most commonly used fax machine is a "Group 3" device capable of transmitting an A4 sized page of information with resolutions between 203 x 98 dots per inch ~dpi) and 203 x 196 dpi in less than one minute.

However, for all the widespread use, fax machines have only limited utility, because fax machines can send only copies of information fr~m fixed paper copies. The limitation can be seen in an example situation where a sender and receiver are preparing a document. The sender has prepared a draft of the document using a word processing pro~ram (e.g. WordPerfect word processing software). The receiver needs to review the document and also would like to add substantial material to the document. Although both sender and recei~er have a personal computer (PC) and both use the same word processing program, the two users are not connected by a compu~er network or modem. Thus, ~here is no way that both could access the same file containing the current t~xt of the document. If possi~le, the receiver would like a copy of the computer files which make up the document, so the receiver could load the files onto his or her computer~and~add to them. The problem is how to get a copy of the text file to the receiver.

This problem is~typical in today's computer age, because documents are generally created using computer sof~ware a~d stored in files on electronic or other computer-acce~sible media such as floppy disks, hard disks,magnetic tapes and optical disks. Each of these file torage devices contain~ sequences of computer-accessible ; data stored in different file f Qrma~S . Generally, the data stored in the files (i.e. the~sequence of the data in the files) is commonly stored in data forma 5 such as ASCII or EBCIDIC, which provides a representation of the ~; text data in a way that enables a computer to recognize WO93/1~617 ~ 1 2 3 ~:~ 7 PCT/~S92/09~7 the characters of the text. Word processing documents, batch files, and computer source language programs are all usually stored in such files. There are times when an individual or enterprise wishes to send files in these fonmats to a remote location, rather than just a hard copy .

The fax machine does not allow for easy transmission of these files, because one cannot fax a computer file. A
fax machine scans a pap~r copy of a document ~o produce a series of electronic signals that can be sent to another fax machine at a remote location. The signals recei~ed can be used to reproduce a paper copy of the document at a remote location. The set of signals make up an electronic "image" of the information as it is fixqd on ~he ~heet of paper. The set of signals is considered to be in "image" or "graphic" format as it does no~ allow :: :
for a computer's recognition of the actual context or 'tmeaning" of the text or picture, and thu~, information in image format cannot be used by a computer like data ; ~
stored in other foxmats, such as an ASCII text file. The et of signals comprise only a set of binary (on/off) signals which map~the light and dark areas of the page.
Th~t da~a, in image format (usually compressed), is then ~ 2~5 tran mitted across a communic~tion system to another fax -~ ~ machine, in a receiving mode, which is coupled to the co~munication ~ystem. Because the fa~ing format uses hard paper copies and ~ends only image formatted data, a computer file in a text or other code format is limpo~ible to tax.

Presently, there are a number of aw~ward and time con3uming ways to send stored files of computer information to a remote user. One option is to copy the computer file onto a transportable stoxage medium, such as a diskette, and send the information via United States Mail or other courier service (e~g. Federal Express) to

2 ~ r! ~ PCT~US92/09~7 the receiver. That process is slow (taking at least the time it takes to manually deliver a package) and there is no guarantee that the diskette will not be damaged or the data on it corrupted in transit.

An indi~idual or an enterprise can also se~d a printed (i.e. paper) copy of the information contained in most files to ~ remote location, using a fax machine, but the process is slow and cu~bersome. A sender ~ust first print the contents of his or her file onto a hard, paper copy and then send those pages using a fax machine to the location of the remote user who must al~o have a - facsimile machine. A PC configured with a fax/modem board saves the sender the burden of first printing out a hard copy of the document if the contents of the file is in (or can be tran~lated into) image format. But there are ~:: still problems on the receiving end. Once the faxed copy i9 received at the remote location, it will have to be retyped, sranned or otherwise translated to change the image foxmatted data received into a computer-accessible ~; word processor text file. There is no guarantee that the reconstituted file is an accurate copy of the original.
Moreover, for files containing information that is only :readable by a computer, such as an executable program : 25: file or a databa~e file, there is no way to produce a :
:~ comprehendible paper copy of the file.

: There are also ways to transfer computer ~iles to remote locations across telephone or other communication line3 , 30 lusing a computer; but none of these presently availa~le :~ methods offer to the transferrer the co~veniences offered ; by a stand-alone fax machine. To transfer a file, there ~: ~ must be two computers, each connected to a modem, and each modem must ~e con~cted to the other by ~he telephone network or other communication system. A modem ~:~ is a device that adapts the computer terminal ~o communicate across a telephone line. As a sending device, -~ WO93/10617 2 1~ ~ 3~ ~ PCT/US92/096~7 a modem converts the computer's digital data into frequ~ncîes within an audio range used by the telephone network ox other communication system. As a receiver, a modem converts the audio frequency signals back into digital information at the recei~ing side~ With the modem, ~he PC can be configured to make a binary file transfer (BFT) of a computer file in any format. However, using a modem with a personal computer requires a free serial port on the PC (to hook the modem to the computer) and a communications program loaded and running on the PC. The receiver at the remote location must be notified that a file transfer is in progress, because that party's computer must be turned on and special software must be enabled and set to "wait" to receive a phone call.
Moreover, the user at the recei~ing end must also ensure ~hat the receiving modem is on, is ready to operate and certain switches are properly set to match the transfer ` parameters of the sending device such as the baud rate, parity bit, and stop bits. Most businesses do not currently have such e~uipment dedicated to li~tening for ~- incoming calls twenty-four hours a day. If they did, the ~ ; expense would be appreciable.

;~ The design of the commonly used fax machine handles for ~;~ 25 paper copies, the problems tha~ the PC-modem ;~ ~ configuration present~ when sending computer files~ ~ost fa~ machines communicate via a ~tandard interface, 8uch as, the T.30 protocol promulgated by the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT).
IBecause all fax machines generally follow the same 1 ~: ' I ~
protocol, problems with baud rates and parity bits, etc.
are transparent to the user. Each fax machine contains a ~pecially designed fax modem and a processor to handle transmission~ according to the protocol. There is a set protocol followed by the processor of a fax machine for establishing communication, sending data, receiving data and terminating a transmission. Moreover, fax machines ` ; ~3;~`g-~7 W093/10617 6 PCT/US92/096~7 are stand-alone devices, designed to automatically wait for facsimile transmissions from remote locations. Most businesses have separate telephone lines for each fax machine. Thus, the machines are available to ~uickly send information and otherwise sit ready to receive hard copies twenty-four hours a day.

The prior art does not provide for a device which has the capability to transfer copies of disk files, with the ease presented by the fax machine. Moreover, the challenge has been to create a device that can be used to transfer disk information over the same lines that are reserved for the fax machines. Because there has been a revolution in fax machine use o~er the past decade, most businesses ha~e already expended much money to have fax machines connected to telephone lines whose only use is ~ : :
for ~ransmitting and receiving captured data in paper copies,~such as pictures and letters. And al~hough people make heavy use~of the fax machines at their offices and homesj the communication lines for the faxes still sit idle for a considerable portion of the day. It would be an~advantage for business users and a true ad~ance in the art, if a device~could be made that could "share" a ommunicatlon line with a fax machine and be able to 25~ accept and transfer binary disk data, suc~ as text files, ;- word processing fil2s, source code files, compiled-computex object code, and other types of data ~as well as image data such a~ that sent by the fax machine), wishout interrupting the normal operating procedure of fax ~;~ 30 !machines that o many people use today. It is adYantageous to ha~e such a disk transfer device that is c~mpatible with already existing fax technology, because con~umers have already made tremendous investment in exi~ting fax machines.
Presently, no such de~ices are available. The problems of routing the di~k datà, handling fax transmissions and WO93/10617 ^ PCT/USg~J09~7 allowing (in appropxiate cases) ~or the fax transmission to proceed are just some of the problems that have prevented such a device to be implemented. In this computer-age, however, such a device has long been S needed.

ummzr~ o~ the In~e~tio~

The present in~ention provides a method and apparatus for io transmitting computer file data in any format (such as binary, text, ASCII or image) stored on any computer-accessible storage medium ~such as a floppy disk, hard disk, diskette, magnetic tape or optical storage device) across a communication system, such as a public switched telephone network, using the same access l~ne that is reserved for a fax machine. With the present invention, it is now possible for a person to transfer a file of data (or e~en an entire disk full of files) in a matter of seconds.
-~ 20 In an exemplary embodiment described below, the method and~apparatus of the present invention presents a s~and-alone data transfer de~ice (hereinafter "fax companion") that is coupled be~ween the fax machine and a communication sy tem, such as a public switched telephone network. In this co~figuration, the fax machine accesses and i9' connected to the commu~ication sy3tem by a link passing through~the fax companion device. In this co~figuration, the present invention ~ends and receives .
computer file data in all formats without impairing the normal operating procedure of the fax machine. With an adaptive switching technique to be descrihed below, the fax companion device of the present invention can send computer file data across a communication system to a receiving device, such as a fax machine, a PC (configured to receive data tran~missions via a modem), or another fax companion device of the present inven~ion. The fax W~93/10617 ~ ~'.23397 PCT/US92/096~7 companion device of the present inv~ntion can also receive transmissions from a sPndin~ device, a fax machine, a PC (configured with a fax modem or a modem) or another fax companion device of the present invention.

A typical sending application for the fax companion of the pre~ent in~ention occurs when a person (at a sending location) wishes to send computer files disk-to-disk to another person (at a remote location). In that situation, although the fax machines are connected to each sending ~nd receiving fax companion devices of the present invention, the user does not want the fax machines at either end to be involved in the transmission. As will be described in detail below, the sender places a disk containi~g a file (in any format) into the fax companion device of ~he present invention, and the sending fax ompanio~ device~pron.pts the sender to gather instructions on transmitting either a file or a set of files co~tained on the disk. The compu~er files to be transfe~red can contain data in any format (e.g., ASCII
or~text). The fax companion device of the present invention communicates across the telephone line~
following generally the established T.30 protocol set out b~the CCITT and~attempts to establish a communication 25~ channel with a~machine (either a fax, PC, or another fax c~mpanion of the~present in~ention) at the remote location. If~ at the remote location, another fax ; compa~ion de~ice of the present invention answers, that remote fax companion will use the adaptive switching technique of the present invention to determi~e the idèntity of the caller. When it is determined tha~ the sender is also a fax companion device attempting to make a computer-fiIe da~a transfer, the receivi~g fax companion device will assume control of the handling of the call (i.e., di~connecting the fax machine), and the ~wo fax companion de~ices will exchange communications to transfjer the computer file data.

W~3/lOSJ7 ~ PCT/US92/096~7 In this example, the ~endin~ ~ax companion device will send a message according to the CCITT protocol that the da~a is to be transmitted to a disk and can query to discover if there is a disk space available. The receiving fax companion device can check for disk availability and return a message that there is free disk 3pace .

The fax companion device of the present invention can also send a copy of a computer file or a ~roup of files co~ained on a computer-accessible medium, such a~ a diskettef to a personal computer (that is configured to ;: receive data transmission) in a manner si~ilar to the :: transmission of the receiving device described above.
Further, the fax co~panion device o~ the present invention can also be used to send electronically stored data to a fax ~achine. If, in attempting to establish : communication with a remote device, a fax companion device of the pre~ent in~ention connects only with a fax ; machine, the sending fax companion device of the present invention will at~empt to send a copy of the computer file to the fax machine, creating an image format copy of the ~file, if necessary.
25~
In~all of the t~ansmissi~n examples mentioned above, the device of the present invention will perform the data tran~missions with a fax machine connected to it. During the transmi~sions,:the fax will remain idle and obli~ious to the tra~mi sions that are occurring. When the :transmissions are completed, a person can use the : atta~hed fax machine to send reproductions of paper :copies, just as the fax machine has always been used. The fa~ c~mpa~ion~device of the present i~vention, although coupled between a fax machine and the communication system, will provide no interference to a normal fax : ~ transmission, using the a~aptive switching method and

3 9 P~
WO93~10617 PCT/US92/096~7 apparatus of the present invention.

The device of the present invention is further configured to receive transmissions of data and store them on computer-accessible storage media (~uch as floppy disks, optical disks or magnetic tapes~, working in conjunction with an attached fa~ machine. The present invention is configured to "share 1I the telephone line with the attached fax machine, at times storing a data ~0 transmission or disk as it is being received and printed by the f~x machine.

In the exemplary embodiment, the adaptive switching apparatus and method of the present invention enables the fax companion device to "spy on the line~, by monitoring incoming transmissions and assuming control of the call from the fax machine only when necessary. The method of adaptive switching of the present invention allows all incoming phone calls first to pass through the fax companion de~ice~ and be answered by the attac~ed fax machine. As the attached fax machine answers the incoming phone call and attempts during a caller identifica~ion phase of the CCITT protocol to establish a set of transmission parameters with the sending de~ice ~also known as a "handshake"), the fax companion device of the present invention monitors the transmission by processing the~protocol information in a way that is in~isible ~o the attached fax machine. In some cases the incoming tra~smissi~n will be from a sending fax machine, directed to the attached fax machine. The present invention will invisibly monitor the transmission, but allow the transmission to proceed to the fax when necessary. In other cases, the instructions from the user will mandate that the inc~ming fax transmission be stored on a disk ` 35 only. In such a case, the remote de~ice of the present invention will disconnect the attached fax and take control of the transmission.

21~3~97 WO~3110617 PCT/US~2/096~7 In other cases, instructions from the user require that the fax transmission both be output by the attached fax machine and stored on disk by the fax companion device of the present invention. In such a case, the present invention is configured to grab information from the telephone line without interrupting the normal transmission to the fax machine. Additionally, the fax companion device shares the telephone line with the fax machine ~o receive transmission of computer files to be saved on disk by both PC's and other fax companion devices. On user command, these received files can also be automa~ically output to the fax machine to print a hard copy of the file, (creating a copy of the file in image format if necessary).
Through the technique of adaptive switching, the fax companion device can learn what device is calling. In -~ this way, a fax companion device of the present invention and an attached fax machine can accept data transmissions ~ 20 from a fax, a PC configured to send data transmission or ; another fax companion device of the present invention.

In performing computer-file transfers ~etween fax companio~ de~ices, one aspect of the present invention is the ability for data transfer crash recovery, which saves users the expense of re-sending computer file data that has already arrived intact. If, during a computer file tran~fer between fax companion devices, the ~ending evice finds that the transmission has ended incomplete, the sending deYice will attempt to establish communication with the receiving disk communication device and attempt to complete the computer file transfer. As 800n as a connection has been re-established between two fax companion devices, the receiving device will scan the files found on disk and let the ~ender know if a pre~iously received file was only partially captured. If one or more partially captured files are :2 ~ 2~
WO93/10617 PCT/U~g2/096~7 found, the receiver will then send the number of bloc~s received and the time and date stamp for each of the partially received files.

The sender will then scan the files that are designated to be sent, and determine if the user is trying to re-send one or more of these files. If the sender finds that one or more of these files should be recovered, the sender will transmi~ the missing blocks of data, (starting with-the block immediately following the last complete block of data rec2ived). The receiver will then appropriately append this incoming data to the partially recei~ed files. This aspect can save a lot of ;~ transmission time for very large computer file transfers.
Another aspect of the fax companion device of the present inve~tion is its ability to be used in conjunction with a fax machine a~ a scanning device. The fax companion device of the present invention has the capability to pro~ide ~oop current (or a "talk battery") to an attached device to allow the fax machine to scan documents into mage fonmat files and also to use the fax machine as an attached printer.

~Bri~f Descri~io~ of the Drawi~g~ ~d the ApPe~di~

FIG. lA Depicts an exemplary system to send and receive axe~ and computer file data, using the fax ; companion device of the present invention;
FIG. lB Depicts a second exemplary system to send and receive faxes and computer file data using the fax companion device of the present i~vention;

; .
FI~. lC Depicts an exemplary remote device fax machine, PC, or fax companion device) connected by a communication system to a fax companion device . WO93~1~617 2 1 2 3 3 9 7 PCT/U~92/09657 : 1 3 of the present invention and a fax machine in an.exemplary system to send and receive faxes and computer file data;

FIG. ~ Depicts a perspective view of an exemplary exterior of the fax companion device and its connections to a fax machine and a communication system;

FIG. 3 Depicts a block diagram overview of an exemplary configuration of the internal hardware components of the fax companion device of the present invention;

~ 15 FIG. 4A Depicts a block diagr~m overview of the : circuitry of the adaptive switching component of the fax companion device of the present ~:~ invention;

~:~: 20 FIG. 4B Depicts a schematic diagram of the fax spy circuit of the present in~ention;

F~G. 4C Depicts a block diagram overview of the circuit ; component~:of the adaptive switching component .~ 25 of the present invention showing the placement of a ~alk ~attery;
~: :
FIG. 5 Depicts ~n overvi2w of an exemplary process flow:of the fax companion device of the present 30 , invention during a receiving mode process;

: : FIG. 6 Depict~ an overview of an exemplary process flow of the fax companion device of the pre~ent : invention during a sending mode process;
35 FIG. 7 Depict an exemplary proce~s flow of the crash recovery procedure of the fax companion device of the present invention; and 3~ ~
WO93/10617 PCT~U~g2/096~7 FIG. 8 Depicts an exemplary circuit design of the "talk battery" of the present invention.
FIG. 9 Depicts a block diagram of the fax companion device of the present invention in an"active mode. 11 APPENDIX I Lists an exemplary user menu used during the sending mode of the fax companion device of the present invention.
; Det~iled De~cription EXEMPLARY COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

FIG. lA depicts an exemplary system 2 to send and receive faxes as well as computer files stored on computer-: accessible media. At a first sendilglreceiving location 3, there is a first fax companion device 8 of the present inve~tion coupled to a communication system 4, by a two-20~ way i~put/output communication line 4A, such as a elephone line. In the exemplary embodiment, the :;commu~ication ystem 4 is a public switched telephone ~: network, such as that provided by a local communication service company (e.g. New York Telephone) and a long :25~ ~digtance communication service company le.g. AT~T Long Distance~. The communication system could also involve other comml!nic~tion means ~uch as radio. A first fax machine 12, such as any Group 3 fax machine, is coupled to the ~irst fax companion device 8. As will be described ln ~etail below, the first fax machi~e 12 has acce~s to the communication system 4 through a connection with the first fax compa~ion device 8 of the present i~vention.

At a second sending¦receiving location 6 the hardware arrangement is similar to that of the first ~ending/receiving location 3. A second fax companion device l0 of the present invention is co~ected to the - WO93/10617 212 3 3 9 7 PCT/US92/Q96~7 communication system 4, using a two-way input/output connection ~B, such as a telephone line. A second fax machine 14, such as a Group 3 machine, is coupled to the second fax companion device lO. The second fax machine 14 S accesses the communication system 4 by a connection leading throu~h the second fax companion device lO of the present invention.

As will be described in further detail below, the system 2 for sending faxes and computer files of FIG. lA can be used to ~end and receive information by fax ~rom either :the first or second sending~receiving location 3, 6, using (respectively) the first and second fax machines 12, 14. In addition, using the fax companion devices 8, lO of the present invention copies files stored on a computer-accessible medium, such as a diskette ll, 13 can be ~ent and received ~etween the first and second locations 3, 6. Additionally, faxes can be sent from one location (3 or 6) and a file containing a copy of the fax ~: :20 ~ran~mission in image format can be stored on a di~kette 3 at the other location for example, sending data from the first location 3 to the second location Ç), u~ing a fax companion device (e.g. 8) of the present invention.
~:
The fax companion devices 8, lO both operate in sending and a receiving modes. While inactive (i.e. not sending o~ receiving), the fax companion ~e~ices 8, lO are further configured to maintain a wait mode, dur.iny which the fax companion devices 8, lO will wait for the beginning of an incoming data tran~mission or wait to begin a sending: sequence on command from a user. A forth : , scanner/prînter mode, allows the fax companion device to be uæed in conjunction with an attached fax machine to 35 : scan documents or print files.

FIG. 1 B depicts a second exemplary configuration of the 21233~7 W~ 93fl~617 . PCT/US92/096~7 hardware compon~nts of a system 20 of the present in~ention for sending and receiving faxes and computer files. At a first sending/receiving location 22, a first fax companion device 24 is coupled to a communication ~ystem 34, such as a public switched telephone network, by a two-way input/output communication line 34A. ~gain, there is a first fax machine 26 at the first sending/receiving loca~ion 22, and the first fax machine 26 accesses the communication system 34 through a connection through the first fax companion device 24.
~: Additional hardware components also can be coupled ~o a fax compa~ion device of the present invention as shown with the first fax companion device 24. For example, by coupling a personal computer (PC) 28 to the first fax companion 24, the first fax companion 24 can be configured to receive a file from the PC 28 and send a ~, copy of it to a remote location, such as the second :~ : location 25. The first fax companion device 24 is also d~picted coupled as a node to a computer network 32. This :
:; 20 arrangement enables the first fax companion de~ice 24 to ; recei~e computer files from many network sources which :can be sent to remote :locations.

At: a:second sending/recei~ing location 25, a second fax 5~ companion device 40 of the present in~ention is attached :to~the communications system 34 by a two-way input/output :communication line~34B. A second fax machine 42 is coupled to the communication network 34 throuyh a connection also through the second fax companion device 42. In addition, the second fax companion device 40 can be coupled to a printing device 30, such as a laser jet : printer. ~ith an a tached printing device 30, the fax : :companion device 24 can be configured to output a hard copy of the files received in addition to storing the `: 35 received information on a computer-accessible storage medium, such as a diskette ~thereby eliminating ~he need ~; : for a fax machine) an~ also providing plain paper fax ~, ~- WO93/10617 212 3 3 3 7 PCT/US92/0~6~7 copies.

At both first and second sending/receiving locations 22, 25 however, fax information can be sent and received, using the first and second fax machines 26, 42. Computer file data ~tored on computer acces~ible media can also be sent and received, using the fax companion devices 24, 40 of the present i~ven~ion.

E EMPLARY COMPONENT OVERVIEW OF FAX COMPANION_DEVICE$

A. Exterior View Description : FIGS. 2-4 present an overview of an exemplary configuration of the hardware components of the fax companion device of the present invention. FIG. 2 depicts the exterior of an exemplary fax companion device 50 (such as those fax companion devices 8, l0, 24 and 40 at the locations 3, 6, 22, 25 in FIGS. lA and lB) and : :
~related components at a se~ding~receiving location 52. In an exemplary embodiment, the fax companion device 50 is m~unted in a plastic housing 54. In the exemplary `~ : e~bodiment, the fax companion de~ice 50 is coupled to a `~ ommunication system 60, (such as tho~e described above) ZS~:by:a two-way input/output communication line 62, such as a telephone network (telco) line. A connector 40, such as : a telephone wall jack, couples the communication line 6~
:to the communication system 60. On the housing 54, there I is also a connector 54A, such as a telephone jack, to 30 ~ couple the communication line 62 to the fax companion device 50. Using the communication line Ç2, ~he fax companion device 50 is confisured to receive inpu~ and output ~ignals, a~ will be described in further detail below. At the location 52, an attached fax machine 76, uch as a Group 3 fax machine, is additionally coupled to the fax companion device 50, using a two-way input/output - communication line 78, such as a telephone line. As will ,~;
, 21233~7 WO93~10617 1 8 PCT/VS92/09657 be described below, the fax companion device 50 is configured to allow the attached fax machine 76 to access the communication system 60 and permit fax transmissions to be sent and received over the communication lines 62, 78. A transmission directed to the fax machine passes through the fa~ companion device 50 using the method and apparatus of adaptive switchi~g to be described in further de~ail below. A connec~or 76A, such as a telephone jack, on the fax machine 76, couples the communication line 78 ~o the fax machine 7~. The communication line 7g is connected to the fax companion device 50 with a connector 54B, such as a telephone jack, mounted on the housing 54 of the fax companion device 50.
As will be described below, the interior hardware components inside the fax companion device 50 is coupled to the telephone jacks 54A and 54B and that coupling allows the fax machine 76 to access the communication network 60.

In~one embodime~t, the fax companion device 50 enables a user to ~end to or receive from a remote location a computer file stored on a computer-accessible medium, such a~ a dis~ette. To control the functioning of the fax ;companion device 54 the exemplary exterior of the present 2~ invent~on includes ~everal additional elements. An on/off witch 54C, mounted on the housing and coupled to the interior hardware components, controls the electrical power flow to the fax companion device 50. Power for the fax companion device of the present in~entio~ comes from 30 ~ a power ~ource (no~ shown) cou~led to an electrical outlet 80 at the sending/receiving locatio~ 52. A power cord 82, coupled to housing 54 and interior components (not shown in FIG~ 2) of the fax companion de~ice is plugged into the electrical outlet 80, and sends power to ~: 35 be used by the interior hardware components.

A user inputs commands to control the fax companion WO93/10617 2 1-2 3 3 ~ 7 PCr/US92/~96~7 device 50, using a keypad 56 mounted on the housing 54 and coupled to the interior hardware components. Aq will be de~cribed in further detail below, commands input by the user with the keypad 56 are accepted by the interior hardware components (not shown in FIG. 2). When the fax companion device 50 requires additional keypad input informa~ion from the user, the interior hardware components (not shown in FIG. 2) will prompt the user with menu displays shown on an LCD display 58 mounted on : l0 the housing 54 and coupled to the interior component.
Other operational functions are specified with the set of software prompts listed for the user via the LCD display .
5~.
.
As the fax companion device 50 is configured to send and ~ receive data stored on computer-accessible media, such as :~ : .-loppy disks and diskettes, hard drives, fixed disks, read/write CD ROMS, magnetic tapes and optical disks, the fax companion device 50 is configured to read computer : 20 files and write data to them too. The exterior view of : the fax companion~device 5~ in FIG. 2 shows the exterior face of a sending/receiving disk dri~e 68. In the exemplary embodiment, the sending/receiving disk drive 68 is a 3.5 inch high-density disk dri~e. The components of ~:~: 25 the floppy disk drive 68 is described more fully below . and make up part of the internal ha~dware components of the fax companion device 50.

: In sending data tored in files on a computer-accessible medium, such as a diskette 69, the user inputs the ji ~, , , diskette 69 into the sending/receiving disk drive 68 and : the internal hardware will prompt the user for additional commands before sending disk information. When the internal hardware of the fax companion device 50 recei~es information that is to be stored on a computer-accessible storage medium, the disk drive will write it onto a diskette that has been placed into the sending/receiving : ' 21~3~7 WO93/10617 - ^ PCT/U~92/Og6~7 disk drive 68. The fax companion device 50 is also configured to be attached to a hard drive 70 or other peripheral storage device that can be used to stored all received computer ~iles. In such a configuration, when a user wishes a copy of the r~ceived file from the peripheral storage de~ice, the fax companion device is arranged ~o copy the file from the device (e.g. 70) to a diskette 69 placed into the sending/receiving disk drive 68.

B. Internal Hardware Com~onents FIG. 3 depicts an overview of the internal hardware ;components of the exemplary fax companion device 50 shown in FIG. 2. Many of the internal components are electronically coupled to other components by connections to a computer board lO0. The control functions of t~e fax companion device 50 are executed by a central processing unit (CPU) 102 which is attached to the computer board lO0.

The CPU 102 pro~ides ~he central controlling mechanism for the modes of the fax companion device: a send mode (when information contained on a computer-accessible 25 :medium such as a~ diskette is sent to a remote location), a recei~ing mode (when a computer file or a set of files to be stored:is received from a remote location) a wait : : or monitoring mode (when the fax companion is waiting to receive or send a transmission) and a scanner/printer mode (when the fax companion device is used in conjunction with a fax machine for scanning or printing).
In the exemplary embodiment, a NEC V.25 can be used as : the CPU lO2. The CPU lO2 accesses and receives input from other interior hardware components of the present ::35 invention through a computer bus which couples the CPU
102 through connections in the board lO0 to the ;~peripheral chips. A gate array chip (G/A) 1~3 is a W~93/10617 2 1 2 3 3 9 7 PCT/US92/096~7 2 t customized "glue" logic chip that contains logic elements used to connect related componen~s, provide CPU address decode logic and integrate discreet logic functions.

The software to enable the CPU 102 to operate in the send, receive and wait modes is stored in a set of ROM
memories 104 coupled to the CPU through attachments through the gate array chip 103. (The process ~lows for the various modes are described more fully below). In addition, the CPU 102 also has access through the sate array chip 103 to a set of RAM memories 106, including : non volatile ~AM memories for accessing and storing information during the sending, receiving and wait mode : functions.
~: In sending data to and receiving data from the another source (not shown) coupled to the cvmmunications network 60, the CPU 102 sends data for output and receives data for input to a fax\modem board 112 that is coupled to the 20~ CPU 102 through an electronic bus with the address decoded by the gate array 103. The fax/modem component 112 contains a:half:duplex modem 114 and a full duplex modem 116 for::translating a computer's initial signals i~to audio signals to be sent over the communication :25~ sy~tem. The modems are each coupled to a data access arrangement ~DAA~ circuit 120, in which ~here i~ an :adaptive switching component 118. The adap~ive switching : component 118 couples the DAA circuit to the connector 54A (providing access to the communication system) and 30~ ~he connector 54B (providing access to the fax machine).
The fax/modem component 112 is coupled to the CPU 102 through connections to the gate array 103. To perform the endin~ and receiving functions, the fax/modem components 112 and the CPU 102 have access ~o a real time clock ~RTC) component 122. In an exemplary embodiment a : Rockwell R144 EFX can be used for the fax/modem component ~: 112, half duplex f~x/modem 114 con~ains a V22.BIS data ::

W~93/10617 2 1 ~323 g~ PCT~US92/096~7 modem, and a DAA circui~ 118. The adaptive switch 118, of the present invention is added to the DAA circuit, and is described is further detail with reference to FIG.4.

The CPU 102 also has access to control the sendingfreceiving di~k drive 68, with a disk controller 124 the disk controller is a circuit which ~ransmits and xeceives signals to the disk drive coupled to the CPU. On - another expan~ion connector a Small Computer System :; 10 Interface ~SCSI3 controller board 126 provides the CPU
102 with access to a peripheral interface for several peripheral device. SCSI provides high/speed, parallel data transfer capabilities îor such devices as a hard drive 70 (FIG. 2).
Additionally, the CPU 102 is further coupled to other input and outpu~ means. As described above with reference to FIG. 2, the fax companion device 50 receives user :commands for ~ending and receiving information from the ~keypad 56 (FIG. 2) the fax companion 50 providing prompts for user command input using the LCD display 58 (FIG. 2).
In~the exemplary embodiment, control devices are coupled to~the CPU 102 to allow the CPU 102 to receive input and : to interface with~ the user To provide prompts for user , , 25~:commands, the:~CPU 102 is coupled to an LCD connector 108, through connections pro~ided in the ~oard 100. The LCD
co~rector 108~is further connected to the LCD display 58 (mounted in the housing 54). In an exemplary embodiment, , a Samtron SMC 204-A can be used as the ~CD connector 108.
~: ~ 30 : The CPU is also coupled to a keypad logic component 110 moun~ed on the board 100) to receive user commands inpu~
from the keyboard 56. As the u~er inputs commands, electronic signal~ are sent to the keypad logic cvmponent 110 from a coupling to the keypad 56, which are then translated and output to the CPU 102. In an exemplary ; embodiment, a Gray Hill brand keypad and logic component 2 ~
. - WO93/10617 2 3 PCT/US92/096~7 can be used as the keypad logic component llO and keypad 56.

In the exemplary embodiment, the CPU 102 is further coupled to parallel printer port 128 and two serial printer ports: a serial 232 port 130 (for RS 232-2-5 wire electriçal interface) and a 422 Apple port l32 (for RS422-~alanced electrical interface). Each serial port 130 is coupled to the CPU 102 through a connection to a driver circuit 134, 136. The parallel port 128 is ~ connected to the CPU 102 by the gate array lO3. The : serial and parallel ports are provided to allow the user to attach printers, scanners and other peripheral de~ices to fax companion device. With an attached printer and scanner the fax companion device can be used to scan documents and print copies of received files, thereby : eliminating the need to have an attached fax machine (e.g. 76).

~: 20: The power to operate the internal hardware componen~s is provided by an external transformer 136, coupled to the board lO0 (to supply power to the components attached thereto) and further coupled to the sending/receiving disk drive 68~(and the hard dri~e 70). The transformer 25 ~ 136 is provided with electrical power from a source (not hown) through a connection made with the electrical :power cord 82 (FIG. 2) into an ordinary wall outlet 80 :(FIG. ~).

30~ ! C . Adaptive Switchinq :FIG. 4A depicts an exemplary embodiment of the adaptive switching co~ponent 118 of the preQent invention.
Adapti~e ~witching is based on monitoring the CCITT T.30 . 35 protocol progress, during the a receiving mode process, and then switching between an attached fax, the fax companion or both devices, based on information gathered ~123~97 WO93/10617 2 4 PCT/US92/09~57 during the protocol sequence between the calling machine and the attached fax machine 76. The adaptive switching component 118 allows the processor 102 of the fax companion device 50 to monitor the protocol exchange without dis~urbing the call in progress. The adaptive switching componen~ 118 contains switching hardware to enable the CPU 102 to disconnect the attached fax machine 76 from the incoming communication line when necessary to recei~e a binary file transfer (BFT) of a computer file.
~0 One aspect of the exemplary embodiment of the adaptive switchin~ component 118 of FIG. 4A is that the embodiment ~upports adaptive switching so as to minimize any di~turbance due to the impedance (load) change in the communication line characteristics during the disconnec ing of the attached fax machine. The main reason that there is a need to minimize the change in communication line characteristics is due to the adaptive equalizer training phase procedure that is performed by fax modems (such as the half duplex fax modem 114 in the faxJmodem compo~ent 112), during the CCITT T.30 protocol procedure~ Fax modems contain a receive adaptive e~ualizer circuit (not shown) that allows the receiving fax machine to compensate for variations in the quality ;25~ of t~he communication line. The receive adaptive egualizer circuit can adjust for known line impairments dynamically during what is called the "training phase" in the CCITT
T.30 protocol.

As will be described in further detail below, when the fax companion device 50 determines that the caller is ; xeque~ting that`data is ~o be stored on a disk, the attached fax machine 76 must be disconnected from the c~mmunication channel. When using circuit implementations without additional hardware support to minimize line characteristic changes, the CPU 102 disconnec~s the attached fax machine 76, the line load characteristics WOg3/10617 - ` PCT/US92J096~7 will change. It so happens that the load change occurs during the DCS training-TCF phase of the CCITT protocol (as will be described in further detail below~ at the time when the CPU 102 is suppo~ed to adjust the receive adaptive equalizer circuit contained in the fax modem 114 of the present invention. Because of the switch, the line characteristics will be changing and the receiver adaptive e~ualizer in the fax modem 114 will base i~s settings on a line that does not reflect a true (steady state) condition. As such, communication performance may be impaired dramatically due to a great~y decreased bit error rate. The bit error rate indicate~ the number of ~its that can pass through a communication channel before an error occurs. The exemplary configuration of the adaptive switching component 118 depicted in FIG. 4A
reduces the impedance change during the answering portion of the receive mode. Using the adaptive switching component 118 of the present invention, the CPU 102 can also disconnect the attached fax machine 76, during the initial DCSjtraining phase, and allow the sending fax companion to resend the DCS/training without decreasing thé transmit speed. The CCITT protocol for Group 3 fax machines allow~ for re-sending commands if no response is issued in 3 seconds. The receiving fax companion device 25 ~: ~an al90 resend its own DIS frame which will allow the sender to repeat the sender's DCS and training.
:; : :

Referring to FIG. 4A ~he adaptive switching component i~cludes two circuit paths leading from the connector 54A
! 30 which prov~de the input/output acce~ to the communication sy~tem. One circuit path provides a direct two-way connection for the fax machine to access the . ~ ~
communication system. That circuit path leads from the jack 54A through a fax direct connect relay switch 154 , and through the connector 54B (a fax RJ11 ~ack) providing a connection to the fax machine. A second circuit path provides a two-way connection for the half duplex fax ~' WO93/10617 - 2 12 ~ ~ 9 7 PCT/US92/09657 2 6 '~

modem 114, the full duplex modem 116 and (eventually) the CPU 102 of the fax companion device of the present invention. The circuit path leads through the DAA circuit 120 and includes a ring detect circuit 155 and an off hook relay switch 156. The connection follows the DAA
circuit 120 through to ~he fax modem 114 and modem 118 to the CPU 102 and shown in FIG 3.

Additionally, the present invention presents a one-way ; ;10 spy-on-the-line circuit path leading from the direct circuit path to the fax machine to the connection to the fax/modem component 112 of the present in~ention. The spy-on-the-line circuit path provides a connection where the fax companion device can receive the input that is directed to the fax machine, and thus permitting the fax companion to "spy-on-the-line" of the ~ax machine. In the e~emplary embodiment presented, it is placed behind the ~ .
DAA circuit 120.

2~0~ The ~py-on-the-line circuit path includes a fax spy circuit 152, which enables the fax companion device to monitor the input and output from the fax companion by providing high impedance on the line. This circuit is a buffer (or a repeater~ which places a high impedance 25~ huffer on the direct circuit path to the fax machine. The high impedan~e buffer allows the fax companion device to i~visibly gather input (i.e. spy-on-the-line), while the attached fax machine communicates with a remote de~ice. A
~ sche s tic diagram of the fax spy circuit is depicted in ; 30 FIG. 4B. The operation of the circuit will be described in detail in the operation examples presented below. In this exemplary configuration of the adaptive switch ; component depicted in FIG. 4A, additional circuitry to generate the telco's ring signal (~0 to 70 ~olts AC) does not need to be included in the internal hardware ~ :
component of the fax companion device 59, which results in reduced hardware costs, and greater reliability.

: , .

. WO~3/10617 . ~ PCTJUS92/~96~7 !

SYSTEM OPERATION EXAMPLES

A number of examples will now be presented to describe in further detail the operation of the fax companion device 50 as it is used in a sy~tems similar to those depicted in FIGS lA and lB.

When a user flips the on/off switch to power up the fax companion device 50, the CPU lQ2 is configured to begin : l0 an initialization procedure, during which the CPU 102 first performs diagnostic tests and then executes an operating system program contained in the set of ROM
:~ memories l04 ~FIG 3). The operating system is a master control program that runs the system and acts as a scheduler. In an exemplary embodiment the fax companion ~: device 50 is configured to use the General Systems mbedded DOS operating system manufactured by General System of Redmond, ~ashington. The operating system provides the low~level functions of job management 2~0 (rçsponding to requests from the user and outside system ::and loading the re~uested applications program in~o memory for execution), data management (locating and storing data~on:disk)~ and device management (tracking the status of the~controller devices). Once the operating ~sy tem is ru~ning,:the CPU completes the initialization pxocedure by commanding the operating system to execute a , ~ . .
ByStem control program contained in the set of ROM
:memories 104.

In the exemplary embodiment, the user has the option of : specifying several receiving options in a set-up phase.
One of the user s~et up commands is a F~COPY/DISKCOPY/~OTH software switch wh~ch enables users , ~
to specify receiving options when a data transmissions is received from a sending fax machine. The user can select the option to have the fax transmission received by the fax machine only, by the fax companion device only WO93/10617 212 3 3 ~`~ PCT/US92/096~7 (storing the fax information on a diskette) or by both devices. Another user set command is a PRINTFAX software switch, which can be set by a user to have a copy of any file received on disk by the fax companion device sent to the facsimile machine for printing. When inputting 5et Up commands the CPU executes set routines stored in the ROM
memories 104 to present the u~er with a menu of options.
The ~of~ switch command selections are stored in locations on the non-volatile RAM memories 106. The functioning of the software switch selection are described in further detail below.

Additionally, to receive a computer file BFT
transmission, a user must also load a disk into the sending/receiving disk drive 68. When a disk is loaded into the disk drive 68, the CPU 102 is configured to check the formatting of the disk, fon~atting the disk (when necessary) and ~ignaling the user when a unreadable di~k is input into the drive. As a disk i8 loaded to the sending/receiving di~k drive 68, the floppy disk controller will attempt to access the formatting ~ector of the floppy diskette. If the sector is not found, the floppy disk controller 124 determines that the disk i9 unformatted and signals the CPU 102 with an unformat~ed 2~ dis~ indicator. The CPU 102 will invoke the formatting procedures of the operating system program (executed from the ~et of ROM memories 104), sending signals to the disk controller 124 to the format the diskette.

After initialization, the CPU 102 is configured to put ~; the fax companion device 50 in wait mode, where the CPU
102, using the instruction statements of the system control procedure, waits for an input signal either from the communication line 62, 54A (FIG. 3) or a user input from the keypad 56 (FIG 3).

A. Recei~inq Mode Procedure W~93/10617 2 1 233 ~7 PCT/U~92/096~7 .
FIG. 5 depicts an overview of the process flow of the fax companion device 50, using the adaptive switching techni~ue, during a receive mode procedure. The adaptive switching technique of the present invention, enables the fax companion device 50 to share a communication channel with an attached fax machine, as the fax machine begins the phases of the CCITT protocol. As mos~ facsimile ma-chines follow the CCITT T.30 protocol for data transmission, the fax companion device 50 of the present in~ention follows aspects of the CCITT T.30 protocol to enable it to share a communication line with an attached fax machine.

As additional background, the CCITT T.30 protocol provides a five phase format for facsimile transmissions.
FIG. lC depicts a sample system which can be used to illustrate the five phase format and the functioning of the fax co~panion device during the r~ceiving mode process. In a call set-up phase ~referred ~o a~ Phase A
i~ the CCITT T.30 specification), a communication channel i8 created ~as in FIG.~lC) from a sending device 177 calling from a remote send~ng/receiving location l75) across a communication system 182, such as public switched te}epho~e network, to the attached fax machine 25~ ~76. The call set-up phase is performed when the remote se~ding device 176 rings the fax machi~e 16, and that device an~wers.

In a pre-mes~age phase (Phase B), the sending and receiving machines exchange identification and capability nformation. The receiving device transmits operating parameters it is capable of handling, such as supported ransmission recei~e speed, printer step rate (minimum scan time), compression method and protocol transmission ; 35 and receive rates, to the sending device. The sending device then indicates to the receiving devlce which particular parameters will be used d~ring the ~:

21~ 7 WO93/~0~17 ` ` PCT/US9~/096~7 3 0 ;

transmission. This pre-message procedure is also known as the "handshake". During the message transmission phase (Phase C), the data to be transmitted occurs according to the set up parameters established in the premessage phase. Post-message phase (Phase D) responses include end of message signalling, confirmation of message received signaling, multipage signalling and end-of-transmission signalling. Finally, a call release phase ~Phase E) provides the release of the communication channel e~tablished between the sending and receiving devices according to the normal rules of the communication network. All data transmissions in the exemplary ; embodiment generally follow this five phase script with the sending and receiving de~ices each having different roles in each phase.

Referring again to FIG. 5, in step 200, a user switches ~- on the fax companion device 50 (FIG. lC) and proceeds (after the initialization phase described above), in step ~20 202, to enable to the fax machine to access the phone li~e. Referring to FIG 4A, enabling the phone line to the fax means that the CPU 102 will close the fax direct ; connect relay 154. The two-way connection to ~he fax companion device will remain disconnected as the off hook 25~ relay switch l56 of the DAA circuit 120 initially is open. However, the CPU 102 will enable the one-way input c~onnections, by powering up the fax spy circuit 152.
Additionally, the ring detect circuit 155 will receive ; input form the ring and tip lines of the communication line. The CPU 102 (FIG. 3) of fax companion device 50 ; proceeds to step 206 and waits for an incoming call. In ~; parallel step 206, the fax machine is al~o waiting.

::~
A~sume that the remote device 177 (FIG. lC) has generated in step 208 a ringin~ signal and is attempting to e tablish a communication channel with the devices (i.e.
either the attached fax machine 76, fax companion device . ~ WO93/106l7 2 q 2 ~ 3 9 ~ PCT/US92/09S57 50 or both). According to the CCITT T.39 protocol, the calling tone tCNG) generated by the remote device 177 is a ~one of 1100 Hz, on for 0.5 seconds and off for 3 seconds. This specific tone indicates that the remote calling device 177 i~ a non-speech terminal de~ice and the de~ice i~ in a sending mode, ready to transmit on the receipt of appropriate confirmation signals. For purposes of the hypothetical presented, the remote calling device : 177 can be either:

1. a ~ax companion device of the present invention in sending mode (or a PC configured with emulation software to mimic the functions : of a fax companion de~ice of ~he present in~e~tion), attempting to send a computer file (either in image format, or other format) to either: i) the fax companion device 50; ii) fax machine 76; or iii) a PC configured to accept disk:transfers;
2. a fax machine attempting ~o send data in : image format to the attached fax machine 76;
~ ~ , 3. a PC configured with a fax/modem board 2~5 attempting (in emulation of a fax machlne) to send data in image fo~mat to the fax machine : : : 76;

~ 4. a PC configured with ~ata tran~mi~sion : : 30 software and a modem att~mpting to send data contained on a file (in image~ ASCII or other format) to another similarly confi~ured compu~er.

Referring to FIG. 5, the CPU 102 of the fax companion : device 50 of the present in~ention continues from steps 204 to step 208, where the ring detection circuit 155 of : : :

`S~:9 7 WO93/~17 3 2 PCT/US92/09fi57 [FIG. 4A) of the DAA circuit 120 signals the CPU 102 that the phone line is ringing. The ringing signal generated by the remote sending device 177 travels the direct two-way communication channel to the fax machine 76, allowing the attached fax machine 76 to have the first chance to answer and respond to the call. In an exemplary embodiment, the CPU 102 allows the ring detection circuit 155 to detect 4 rings. In step 210, (FIG. 5), the attached fax machine 76 also detects the call.
Assume that the attached fax mac~ine 76 in step 212 an~wers the all and goes off hook before four ring signals have passed~ The instant the CPU 102 de~ects the ~ off hook condition of the fax machine the CPU 102, in ; 15 step 218 it will begin "spying-on-the-line" i.e.
monitoring the communications between the a~tached fax machi~e 76 and th~ remote sending device 177. In the exemplary embodiment, the off hook condition is detected when either the ring signal stops or when a response is detected from the fax machine.
. ~ ~
At~this point, the CPU 102 is arranged ~o receive as input the exchange of c~mmunications between the remote device and the attached fax machine, as the two devices 25~ ~ttempt ~o establish in the "handshake" procedure a set o~ parameters for a data transmission.

A~ the CPU 102 of the fax companion device 50 continues to spy-on-the-l~ e, the fax machine 76, according to the protocol, will now re~pond in step 216 by outputting a called station identification signal (CED). The CED is a continuous 2100 Hz (plus or minus 15 Hz) tone generated for a duration of not less than 2.6 seconds and not more than 4.0 seconds. This signal will pass from the ~ax machine through the direct two-way communication channel of the adaptive ~witching component 118 (FIG. 4A~ and over the communication system 182 to the remote sending W~3/10617 2~ 3~ 7 PCT/U$92/096~7 device 177 (FIG. lA), thus completing the phase A call-establishment procedure according to the CCITT T.30 specification.

As the Phase B pre-mes~age identification and capabilities confirmation procedure begins, the CPU 102, via the adap~ive ~witching component 118 of t~he present invention in step 218, will continue "spy-on-the-line" to monitor the progress of the communications be~ween the a~tached fax machine and the remote device 177, as the two machines "negotiate" various transmission parameters.
:: The input will be moni~ored by the CPU 102, until the CPU
~: 102 can learn of the remote sending device's identity and inventions. During the phase B handshake procedure, the attached fax machine 76, in step 220, will send a digital identification signal ~DIS). The DIS signal identifies ~: the capabilities of the attached fax machine 76, such as -~ re~olution, tran~mission spe~d, paper length support, and other capabllities of the fax machine. This sign~l will pas-~es though the adaptive switching component 118 and is :receive~ by the remote sending de~ice.

According to the CCITT T.30 protocol, the remote sending : device mus~ transmit a digital command ~ignal (DCS) in :response to the received DIS signal. The DCS qignal contains an identification of the remote ~ending device 177 to identify itself and its intentio~s. In steps 222 and 224, both the attached fax machine 76 and the CPU 102 ` of the fax companion device 76 of the presant in~ention Iwait to receive~ the DCS from the remote device. Assume :~ : that the remote device in step 226 sends a DCS signal.

1. A~other Fax Comp~nio~ De~ice i8 Call~g If the remote ~ending devise is another fax companion device of the present invention attempting to send information, it will make use of the DCS signal to reveal :

~3:~9~
WO93/10617 PCT/US92/~657..

its identity and intentions. By examining the contents of the DCS signal, the CPU 102 in step 228 can determ~ne whether thexe is a command from another fax companion device to s~ore data on a disk.
s The detec~ion of a call fr~m a remote f~x companion device is performed by checking bit 42 of the DCS command ~ent by the remote device 177. In the CCITT T.30 : specification, Table 2 defines the bit assignments for the DCS command. DCS bit 40 is used as the extend field bit ~o extend the DCS command field 8 a~ditional bits.
The ~econd bit of the extended frame (bit 42) has been : : proposed by a working group of the CCITT as the protocol fo~mat to extend T.30 to support binary file transfers (BFTs) by fax modems. The remote device 177 (a now/
identified as f~x companion device), when performing a call to store disk data, will ~et each of the DC~ bits 40 and 42 to a logic one, and the CPU 102 of the fax ompanion device 50 will detec~ these bits, when : 20 detecting the DCS in step 228. By monitoring bits 40 and

4:~ the CPU 102 knows when to switch by learning that the remote device~is a fa~ companion device and is requesting to store a file on a computer-accessible storage medium.
An:alternative method of identifying a calling fax 2~:~ companion can be achie~ed u~ing a ~S~ frame (T.30) or a dif~erent frequency calling tone. A~sum that the CPU 102 in`;~tep ~30 determines that the remote 9ending device is a~fax companion device with a computer file to store. If o, tha CPU lO2:proceeds to ~tep 232 to di connect the 30 ~ fax machine. Referri~g to FIG. 4A di3connecting ~he fax machine entails first closing the off hook relay switch 156 (to establish a two-way communication ~channel from he fax companion de~ice) and then opening the fa~ direct ~;~ ` connect relay 154. If, in step ~35, the fax machine i5 disconnected it will proceed i~ ~tep 238 to time out and ~: , reset returning to a wait mode in step 240.
~ ~, .: ~

: ::
::

W~ 93/1~617 2 1.~ PCT/US92/09657 When the remote sending unit 177 sends the DCS command indicating an incoming BFT transmission, it will immediately follow with a training-TCF sequence according to the CCITT T.30 protocol in step 234. As men~ioned abovel the purpo~e of the training-TCF sequence is to allow the receiving fax or fax companion device 76, 50 ~o adjust its re pective receive adaptive equalizer to compensate for line impairments. However, during this training sequence, in step 234 the adaptive switching component 118 (FIG. 3) will be disconnecting the attached : fax machine 76. As a result, the communication line will ha~e its characteristics change due to the impedance ; change during switching. If the receive adaptive equalizer circuit of the fax/modem 112 attempted to :15 operate during this switching state, the setting chosen by the adaptive egualizer would represent an equallzed tate for a txan~ient condition - a state that may differ vastly from the steady state condition that will occur after the switching is complete.
~: 20 : To ~olve this~problem, the CPU lO2/ in step 232, disconnect~ the fax machine by signalling to open the fax direct connect relay~. Howeverl the CPU lO2 le~es the fax py circuit powe~ed up, which places a high impedanre load on the incoming commNnication line that doe~ not : : change when the fax machine is di3connected~ Thus, there }ittle or ~o change in the state of the li~e. Without the~buffer, the ~low impedance load (typically 600 ohm o~ the attached fax machine 76 would cause ~e~ere line characteristic changes, causing incorrect adaptive equalizer~settings.

: :
~ ~ve~ with the fax py circuit on, however there is still :~ cause for li~e characteristic change when the fax machine -~ 35 i~ discoDnected from the line. Thus, the CPU 102 is ~ arranged to ignore the first DCS training-TCF sequence to :~ ~ allow the line to settle and will use the second WO93/10617 ~ 2~ 9 7 PCT/US92/Og657 trepeated) training-TCF signal to adjust the adaptive equalizer in the fax modem 114 (FI&. 3~. The T.30 pro~ocol requires that a missed sequence be repeated up to three times, if a response to a command sequence is not received. The CPU's waiting for the second signal in~ures that the adaptive equalizer are compensating for the line conditions in a steady state condition, one with the attached FAX machine removed from the line. It is e~en likely that the fax companion device 50 would fail : lO to train during the first training phase. Moreo~er, any attempts to train during switching of the attached ~ax machine 76 could result in a drop in transmission speed ; :from 9600 bits per second (BPS) to 7200 BPS, and higher :~ telephone company charges With the attached fax machine disconnected in step 232 and the de~ice trained to receive information at conforming baud rates (etc.), the fax companion in s~ep 242 will ou~put a confirmation to receive (CFR) signal, according ~o standard CCITT T.30 protocol and : ~ tran~mi~sion of the computer file can commence.

: In this transmission, the remote sending device 177 (in this~case a fax companion device) will read information 25~:~from~the designated disk file and transmit it across the :communication network in a set of transmissions, ;; according to pha~e C of the CCITT T.30 protocol. The transmlssio~ will be received as each tra~smi~sion tra ~ lY over the commu~ication line 62, through the off ~: 30 hook relay 156 of the DAA circuit l20 into the fax/modem : component 112 and is input to the CPU 102. Ag long as there ig a formatted storage medium a~ailable in the ~: ; send/receive di9k drive 68, such as a diskette, the CPU
102, in tep 242, will route the incoming stream of data to the disk drive 68 through the floppy disk controller l24. When the entire file is transferred, the CPU 102/ in :~ step 242, will perform the Phase D post message pxocedure :
:

~: WO93/10617 PCT/USg2/~96~7 and Phase E Call relea~e procedure according to the CCITT
T.30 protocol. Data transfer i~ now complete, in this example a~d the fax companion device will return to the wait mode.

In addition, during the Phase C message transmission, the background information will also con~ain a commands to the create file directories which replicate the directories from the sets of files that are being transferred. The CPU lQ2 can process the commands and signal the disk controller 124 to create the directories for files to be transferred.

Further, the fax companion device 50 of the present invention will send and receive all data in a compressed form. In the exemplary embodiment, data compression oftware, such as: one supplied by Pkware, Inc. in G1endale Wisconsin, will be loaded in~o the ROM memories 104:of the fax companion devices at both sending and 2~ ~recei~ing locationsO The Pkware compression software :allows the CPU 102 (FIG. 3) to determine the best method of~ compreqs:ing~the data to be transferred. Compression is performed on picture data, text data, and binary data. At the receiving end, the data compr~ssion software will be

5~: initiated by the CPU 102 to open the previously tran~ferred ~ile, read the header information from the ile, and begin to properly uncompress the data.
Compre~sion techni~ues greatly improve the time it takes to transmit the:data.
~: ~ 30 ~ ~: I" . i ' ! ;
otice also in the example above that as the Phase B pre-; me age sequence progresses, the remo~e fax companion de~ice 177 (FIG. lC~ must ignore the attached fax machine's 76 DIS ~(Digital Identification Signal) command, becau~e standard fax machines do not indicate the support ~, of the binary file transfer standard. Because the exemplary configuration of the present invention is 3`97 WO93/10617 P~T/U~92/096~7 designed to work as a companion with the widely used Group 3 fax machines, the exemplary procedure to perform a BFT transfer without modifying the attached fax machine's DIS signal insures protocol compatibility during transmissions from remote fax machines as will be described below. I~ another embodiment, described in further detail below, the fax companion device 50 can be arranged ~o read the attached fax machine's DIS signal, modify the command, and send the command to the calling device. However, that configuration will incur greater ~: expense in operating the fax companion de~ice 50.
Instead, the process of allowing the attached fax machine : : to respond to the called unit eliminates the possibility of equipment incompatibility with the established base of : l5 fax machi~es, and cha~ges only one seguence in the protocol ~eque~ce of the proposed BFT standard. This : minimal change ~n the proposed BFT specification allows the fax companion device 50 to support attached fax machines on a single line.
20:~:
2. Disk 8tori~g Procedura : In receiving information to store on a computer acce ~ible medium, such as a diskette, the fax companion 25~ de~ice 50 of the present invention i~ designed to handle many different situations. During the Phase B pre-message procedure of the CCITT protocol, if the remote sendi~g :device is another f~x companion de~ice, it will ~end in the ide~tification sequence and an indication of the ~;: 30~ Istorage medium that the remote device would like ~he ~ent data to be ~tored on (i.e. diskette, tape, etc.). In ~he exemplary embodiment, ~he CPU 192, during the Phase ~
pre-message procedure will signal for the disk controller 124 to determine whether the requested drive is 3S available, the disk controller l24 being arranged to output a ~tatus signal of "OK~ when there is a disk loaded and formatted on the drive, with storage room `~ WOg3/1~617 3 9 PCT/U~92/096 available.

If the drive is a~ailable, the CPU 102 will output in step 242 tduring the Phase B pre-message procedure) that a drive is ready. If no disk drive is available, the CPU
102 will output an error signal to xemote device, send the message "OUT OF DISK SPACE'I, and terminate the communication.

3. A Fax Machine Calls Returning again to FIG. 5 instead of the example above, assume now that ~he remote device 177 ~FIG. lC) is a fax machine. Assume also that during the phase B protocol procedure, the DCS command in step 228 received by the CPU 102 of the companion device 50 shows in s~ep 250 that the remote device 177 is a fax machine, such as a Group 3 ax machine, that wishes to access the attached fax : machine 76. In thi~ case, the CPU 102 proceeds in step 252 to check the FAXCOPY/DISKCOPY/BOTH software switch et during the 3et up phase by the user to determi~e the location of where the information will be received~

Notice at this point the attached fax machine 76 has 5~already tran mitted a DIS command that has bee~ received y the fax machine at the remote locaion. Although in the pre~ious exRm~les, the D15 command was ignored by the ` remote fax companion device, the D15 i~ now a necessary part ~ the CCITT re~ponse protocol as the sendi~g fax needs to recei~e the DIS command in order to con~i~ue.

If the CPU 102 determines in step 254 that the F~XCOPY/DISKCOPY/BOTH software 3witch i9 set to FAXCOPY, the incoming tran~mission is to be directed only to the attachsd fax machine 76. In this case, the CPU 102 will not disco~nect the attached fax machine 76 from the communication channel.
:

2123~7 W~93tlO617 ~ O PCT/US92/096~7 Referring FIG 4A, this means that the CPU 102 will not signal to open the fax direct connect relay 154 and the two-way communication circuit to the fax companion device will not be opened. In step 256 of FIG. 5, the CPU 102 will continue to spy-on-the-line and allow the attached fax machine 76 (in step 268~ to respond during the DCS
training TCF Phase and during the Phase C, and E trans-mis~ion sequences. In this example, the attached fax machine 76 in step 270 ~ill accept the transmission, and the fax companion de~ice 50 will not s~ore the transmission. In steps 272 and 274 both devices will return to wai~ mode~when the transmission is complete.

: : If, in step 254, the F~XCOPY/DISKCOPY/BOT~ software switch is set to DISKCOPY, the incoming fax transmission ~ is to be received by the fax companion device 5Q, rather - :: than the f~x machine 76. In this case, the CPU 102, in step 276, will di~connect the attached fax machine 76, ; during the training TCF sequence (as described above)~
: 2G Once disconnected, the CPU 102, in tep 242, will as ume ~: : the protocol respon~es and arcept the transmission a~
described above. Ha~ing ~tored the transmission, the fax companion device 50, in step ~78 will return to the wai~
mode. As the fax machine 76 in step 276 has been 25~ di~connected, the fax machine, in step 280, will time out and, in step 282, return to the wait mode.

; If the FAXCOPY/D SKCOPY/BOTE software switch i~ set ~o BOTH, the fax tran~mi sion is to be ~tored both as a fax copy and on disk. In this case, the CPU 102 will no~
di connect the attached fax machine 76 from the ommunication channel. Instead, the CPU 102 will proceed to ~tep 256 and allow th~ fax machine, in step 268, to ~, , transmit the Fespon~e. The CPU 102 will spy-on~the-line ~ 35 as described above, storing the incoming data on disk ;~ ~ while the transmission is being ~ent at the same time to the fax machine.
~ ' WO93/10617 2 1 ~3 ~ 7 PC~/VS92/09657 4. A PC Attempt~ ~ Bi~ary File Transfer As an additional example, a~sume now that the remote device 177 is a PC coupled to a modem and arranged with communication software. Thus, the PC will be attempting to make a disk-to-disk file transfer attempting ~o find another similarly configured PC. In this case the PC
communicates according to a protocol similar to the CCITT
T.30 protocol, attempting in Phase A to establish a call and in phase B at~empting to "negotiate" a set of transfer parameters.

: The PC via the modem will transmit an ide~ification signal ID similar to the DCS signal followed by fax machines under the CCITT protocol. The CPU 102 is ~: arranged to recognize this PC ~D signal. Referring FIG. 5 when the PC ID is received in s~ep 228 and identified, in step 230, a~ a PC calIing, the CPU lO2, in step 232, will disconnect the attached fax machine 76 (as de~cribed ZO ~ abo~e) and proceed to respond to the remote PC to receive the data tran mission (as described above~, following teps 242 and 278.

5. If the ~ttach~d Fax Doe~ ~ot An~er 25~ ~
e~erring to FIG. 5, if, in step~212, the attached fax machine does not go off hook in four rings, the CPU lO2, in ~tep 214, is programmed to a sume that there is no fax achine attached to it or that the fax machi~e is 30 Idi~abled~ In the exemplary embodiment, the CPU 102 counts the rings by the signals transmitted by the ri~g detection cirruit 155 (FIG. 4A) of the DA~ circuit 120 (FIG 4A). After fsur rings, the CPU 102, in step 290, will disconnect the attached fax machine 76 tas described above~ and proceeds, in step 292, to answer the call.
~':
: In the exemplary embodiment, the CPU 102 is further 21~33~7 WO93/10617 4 2 P~CT/USg2/0965, , configured to answer ~he incoming call by transmitting a CED signal. The CPU 102 is further confifgured, in step 292, to transmit a DIS signal identifying itself as a fax companion device with BFT capability and fully progrf~mmed to accept a BFT transmission. Once the DIS ffignal is tra~smi~ed, the~ fax companion will await the DCS command that identifies the remote device and handle the data tranf3mission through Phases C, D, and ~ of the CCITT
Protocol, as is described abovfe, returning, in step 294, to wait mode when the call is complete.

B. Sendinq Mode Procedure The fax companion device 50 of the present in~ention is further co~figured tCff send files stored on computer-acce~sible media, such as diskettes, to a remote receiving device 177 in a remote sending/recsi~ing location 175 (FIG. lC),~ such as a ff~x machine, a PC or ; anot~er fax companion device of the present invention.
:- : FIG. 6 depicts an exemplary process flQw for the fax companion device 50 during the sending mode. Initially, he:ff~x companion device ~f0 is in a wait mode, as in step :300. The sending mode is invoked in s~ep 302, when a user 2~ at the lofcatisn~chooses the option to send by inpu~ting 3uch a command using the keypad 56 (FIG. 3). 'The CPU 1rJ2 :IFIG. 3) rçcognize3 the command and pro~ides the sender, in step 304, with a menu of optio~s which the CPU 102 outputs to the~f'~D controller l08. The me~u is displayed .
3f~ lon the LCD display 58, in a simple "What?, Where? ~hen?
a~d How7 n format as is shown in APPENDIX l. This format allows the user in step 304 to select many choices such as the destination device (fax, PC or fax compa~ion~ and the different people who are to receive the tran~mission.
: 35 In an exemplary embfodiment, the CPU 102, in step 304, further profvide~ the user with a prompt lo either input ~ W~93/10617 2 1 2 3 3 ~ 7 PCT/US92/096~7 the phone number of the remo~e location, or to choo~e a number from a "phone directory" list of previously stored (and often used) numbers loca~ed in the non-~olatile RAM
memories 106. (See APPENDIX l). The CPU 102 will fur~her prompt the u~er to enter a di~kette containing a file to be transmitted inko one of the sending disk driYes 68.
The sending data can be a file or a group of files contained in a directory. The files can be in any format.

To perform the file transfer, the fax companion device 50 follows the CCIT~ T.30 five phase protocol. In step 306, ~: the CPU lO2 initiates the phase A`call establishment : : procedure by sending signals to the fax/modem component 112 (FIG. 3) to dial the telephone number corresponding to the remote location, generating a CNG signal. The CPU
102, in step 308, will wait for the remo~e receiving device 177 to answer. If the device at the remote location answers the call, it will go off hook and tran3mit back, in ~tep 308, a CFR signal, accordin~ to khe:~CITT T.30 protocol.
~: "
~, Next, during the pha~e B pre-message procedure, the fax companion device 50, in step 308, will wait for the DIS
identification command to be sent from the remote device, 25~ and, if rec@ived, will, in 3tep 310, output a DCS
co ~ nd~ The DCS command transmitted in ~tep 310 will : identify the sender as a fax companion device with BFT
capability and indicates an intention by reguesting to end the data to a di~k, ignoring the originally sent DIS
O Icommand. In the exemplary embodiment, the ~ending fax companion de~ice ~0, in step 312~ will wait to receive a second DIS command to be sent in the event that an attached fax companion has a~sumed control of the call.

l. ~nding to A~other F~x Compa~io~

A~sume, in step 312 that the remote receiving device 177 :

~1.23~97 W~93/}~617 PCT/US92/096~7 (FIG. lC) responds and the CPU 102 determines (in step 314) that the remote receiving device is a fax companion device and ~in step 316) that disk space is available.

If 80, the CPU 102 proceeds, in step 320, to execute the file ~ran~mi~sion following the CCITT protorols of phase C, D and B procedure. Once the transfer is comple~e, the CPU ~02 proceeds, in step 322, to terminate ~he call and return to, in step 324, to the wait mode.
~: 10 :~ Returning to step 316, if the CPU 102 determines in that di~k space is unavailable at the remote recei~ing -~ location, the CPU 102 proceeds to step 326 ~ending an error message to the user, in step 328, terminating the call and, in~step 330, beginning the wait mode.

2. When the Re3po~ 8ay~ Fa~

~; Returni~g to step 314, if the CPU 102 finds that only a fax has re~ponded (or a PC configured:with a f~x modem board), the sending device must make sure that the data is~in image format. The CPU 102 proceeds, in step 332, to dete ~ ine the format of ~he stored data. This determination i5 performed by the CPU 102, in the ~: :
: 25 exemplary embodiment, using a public dom~in software techni~ue that looks into a file and determines the file type. If, in ~ep 334, the CPU 102 determines that i~fo ~ tion in the file to be sent is in image or text ormat, the CPU, in tep 336, 102 will proceed with the tran~mission. Otherwi~e the CPU 102, in step 326, will ~pro~eed to hall the transmission, outputting an error : message to be printed on the LCD display 108 ~FIG. 3), and, i~ step 328, t~rminatin~ the call. In another : embodiment, the CPU 102 can be confi~ured to create a .~ ~
formatted copy of the file to 9end to the fax, instead of terminating the call in step 326.

'~ ~
::

` ` W~ g3/10617 2~ 233 ~7 PCT/US92/096~7 A translation program ~such as the Inset program marketed by the company High Jack) can create a copy of the data file in image foxmat, thus enabling the fax companion device 50 to send to the remote fax machine.

3. ~e~ing the ~ a~s~i~ion to ~ PC

If in step 312, the CPU 102, finds that the remote ~: recei~ing device is a PC configured with a modem, the CPU
102 would ~ollow steps 312-330 to execute the full transmission as above- In the exemplary embodiment, the sending fax companion device is configured to a~ume that the receiving PC is another fax com~anion device, and : :
performs the same sending procedure, as in steps 30B320 15~ described above ~ ~, : C. Crash Recovery Procedure Cra~h re~o~ery is another aspect of ~he present inventio~
20 ~that~is inherent in:the sending and recei~ing modes of the fax companion device of the prese~t invention. Du~ing a ~ile ~ransmission~between two fax companion devices of he present invention, the sending device, i~ ~tep 320 FIG. 6), will:be~able to detect whether a ~ile 2~5~ transmi~sion;has~disconnected prematureIy, as the call will:have ended be ore all blocks of the file were tr~nsferred~ I~ suCh is the case, the sendi~g fax :-:;:companion device will follow a crash recovery proce~ur~
a~d attempt~to~re~end the remainder of the files, which 30 ~,did not transfer. As the crash reco~ery procedure does not attempt to re- end the entire file or se~ of files, the present invention sa~es users the time and expense of : re-~e~ding data that has already arrived intact.

, :35 FIG. 7 depicts an exemplary process flow for the crash ; reco~ery procedure of the present i~ention. After a crash, ~he sending fax companion device, in step 400, 21233~7 WO93/10617 4 6 PCT/USg2/0~57 places a ~econd call to the receiving fax companion device. The call is establish using telephone number information input by the sender in the previvus transmission attempt.

In step 402, a communication channel is established again between the sending and receiving fax companion devices (as described above) using the Pha~e A call establishment and phase B call identification/handshake procedure. In step 404, the sending fax companion device will signal the receiving fax companion device to check for any incomplete blocks received concerning the partially transmitted file. The signal is sent in the header of a Pha~e C transmission block in a location that is recognized by t~e receiving fax companion device. By : : ~ignalling its ~i~k controller 124, the CPU 102 of the recei~ing fax companion de~ice can check ~he di~ks currently in its send/receive disk drive 68 for any ; partially received files.
: If, in step 406, the receiving fax companion device locates a~y partial blocks of recei~ed files, in ætep 408, it will ~end an acknowledged list of pàr~ially ;~ received file~ alon~ with ~he last successful found block : 25 number, with a time and date ~tamp for each file block.
In ~tep 410, the CPU 102 of the sending fax companion device receive~ this list and performs a comparison : speration to compare the files and blocks listed with the name3 and block3 of the files that were suppo~ed to be ~e~t in the incomplete transmi~sion. If, in ~tep 412J
matches were found, the CPU lO2-of the sending for companion de~ice locates the partially received file :~ block and re-send~ them, following phase C of the CCITT
protocol. A~ the blocks are received, the receiving fax compa~ion device appends the blocks to the appropriate - files. In 9tep 4l6, new file blocks are sent to complete the transmi~sion until the tra~sfer is complete, and, in 2123~97 ~ WV~3/lOSl7 4 7 PC~/US92/09657 step 422, the call is terminated.

Returning to step 412, if no comparison match is found, the CPU 102 of the sending fax companion device proceeds in step 420 to transmit new material until in step 422 the call i~ terminated. Returning to step.406, if the receiving fax companion device finds no partially received blocks, the receiving de~ice signals the sending fax companion device, and, in step 420, the devices : 10 transmit new file blocks until the transmission is co~plete and, in step 422, the call can be terminatedO

: TALK BATTERY

The present in~ention further provides a configuration with a "talk battery" that will enable the fax machine be used as a scanner or a printer, when used in conjunction with the fax companion device of the present invention.
With the method and apparatu~ of the present invention, the do~uments can be scanned using the fax machine and a graphic image of the document can be stored on disk by the fax companion device. Further, files stored on disk by the fax companion device can be printed out on the fax machine. The problem with such use of the fax machine is that certain DAA circuits found i~ modems require loop current to operate, and because of this requirement, a direct connectlon between a fax ~achine and a modem i~
not always possible. This is especially true in portable equipment~ In telephone networks a current is provided to ~ignal that the telephone is off-hook (signaling), and ~ ~ the current also provide~ what is call "Talk battery".
:~ : Talk battery is provided over the telephone line from the central of~ice and provides the potential ~oltage acrQss the electrode~ of the transmitters mouthpiece (carbon mirrophone). Talk battery also provide~ power for electronics contained in the telephone. Certain data acces~ arrangements (DAA) circuits require loop current ~:

2123~7 W~93/10617 4 8 PCTIUS~2/096~7 for the proper operation of the telephone line coupling (typically called a "dry transformer"). The local bat~ery (or talk ba~tery) circuit will provide loop current to the attached communication device. The present invention's capability to provide loop current to an attached device will pro~ide direct connection for using the scanner found in a Fax machine and enable user to scan documents i~to the fax companion de~ice. This same device allows the modem to use the a~tached Fax machine as a printer. The printer may be useful when the person with the ~ax companion and fax is traveling.
~ .
FIG 4C shows an exemplary con~iguration of the adaptive switching component 118 showing the pla~ement of the "talk circuit" of the present invention. A battery 500 is coupled to a fax direc~ connect relay that is now adapted to accommodate a three-way switch. In ~his configuration, local battery circuit does not reduce the operational performance of the DAA circuit with regards to such criteria as the FCC Part Ç8 requirements, because the circuit is isolated from the telephone line ~ia a three way switch. When the telephone line is on, the circuit is of~. A power source provides a twelve 12 volt potential.
FIG. 8 depicts an exemplary circuit design for the local 25~ battery 500, showing the fax direct connection switch 154 and the power source 502 and the direct two way communication circuit with the fax machine.

DITI~NAL EMBODIME~T VARIATIONS
A. Adapti~e Switchin~
, ~
Another way of performing the adaptive switch procedure of the present inYention is to use a modified calling to~e which i9 transmitted by the fax modem component 112 :
of a sending fax companion device 50. In this embodi~ent, the receiving fax companion device 50 would he comprised :~
.
:;

21~33~7 WO93/10617 PCT/~S92/096~7 s 4 9 to answer the phone, look for a modiFied calling tone, and, if the standard fax calling.tone is detected ~llO0 hert~), generate a ring signal for the attached fax machine. The modified calling tone could be generated in various frequency ra~ges for example, 1500, 1800 or l900 hertz). The key to ~his approach is that the recei~ing fax companion de~ice 50 answers, and, when detecting the special fax companion calling tone, proceeds to handle the call. When the receiving fax companion device 50 :: lO detects a standard fax calling tone, the receiving fax companion device 50 generates the ring signal for the attached fax. The drawback to this approach is that the receiving fax companion device 50 must redundantly generate the ring signal to output to the attached fax machine 76. The hardware circuit support required for such an embodiment is fairly expensive, because the ring . signal must be 50 to 70 volts AC, with enough drive currenk for te7ephone and fax machine rinyer devices.

~: 20 Ano~her variation of this modified calling tone approach for fax companion adapted switching - one in which ~he ring voltage does not need to be generated - is as follows: The receiving fax companion device 50 allows the attached falx machine to answer the call and monitors the ZS l~ine looki~g for the standard fax calling tone (llO~ ~z) or~the special fax companion calling tone. If the recei~ing fax companion device 50 detects the ~tandard .. ; .
fax calli~g tone then it allows the fax machine processes the call. If a special fax companion calling tone is ; 30 ~:detected, the ~eceiving fax companion device 50 performs the call processing.

~: ~ B. ~dditional Feature Confiq~ at.lons .: ~
: ~ 35 The fax companion device 50 can be built wi~h only a few fea~ures or with many features. The most simple fax companion de~ice 50 contains only one disk dri~e, a ~ fl ~ n ~
WO93~10617 ~ 5 0`~-U`~ PCT/US92/~657 I modem, a keypad, and an LCD display, and an option for a ¦ serial and a parallel port. This basic fax companion device will simply be a si~gle di~kette attachment to their existing f~x machine. The fax companion device 50 also can be interfaced to a hard disk drive or a ~loppy dis~ drive with a disk au~oloader. The hard dri~e would ¦ be particularly useful in a network environment where the ~arious nodes on the network could query the fax companion device as it is set up as an al~erna~ive drive.
~ 10 The fax companion de~ice 50 can also be further : configured to have many application programs in the set ;~ of ROM memories 104 (FIG. 3). One of these is an optical character recognition (OCR) program. The OCR program can read the contents of an image file and convert the image : :
i~to a much smaller text file that can the be manipulated by a w~r~ proces~or. Another software program that can be made a~ailable o~ a fax companion device 50 is ~ cro~s ompi~er. A cro~s compiler can take an executable file 2:0 ~a~d make the appropriate adjustme~ts in order to create another executable file that can operate on a different :o~erating sy~tem. The operator of the fax companion J'~ de~ice 50 woul~ use the keyboard to indicate which of t~ése software programs is selected, and which file is to :25~ ~be tran~lated. If a phone call came in to the fax - co~panion de~ice 50, during the operation of a ~oftware program, the so~tware program currently performing the appl~ication (OCR or cro3s compiler) would be suspended until the phone call has been completed, then the software program would resume operation~

The fax companion device 50 will continue processing in the fashion de3cribed. The above described exemplary embodiment of the invention i~ meant to be representative . ~, `: 35 only, a certain changes may be made without departing from the clear ~eachings of the invention. Accordingly, ~- ::reference should be made to the following claims which ~:

~12~3~7 .~ ~ WO93/1~617 ` P~/US92/Og6~7 ; ~ 5 1 alone define the in~ention.

C. Receipt of Information Messa~e Genera~ion The fax companion device 50 may also include a receipt of information mes~age generation feature. When the fax companio~ device 50 receives information and ~tores that in~ormation on the computer accessible medium, the CPU
102 will se~d a message to the attached fax machine 76.
The message will state, for example, that information has been received by the fax companion device 50 and that this i~formation is stored on the computer accessible medium.

Additionally, the message sent to the attached fax :: machine 76 m~y include, for example, the time of receipt of the information by fax companion device 50, ~he file or direc~o~y in which ~he information is stored on the : computer acces3ible medium, the 3ender's name a~d address : 20 details, the ~ize of the information stored, and the title (or first line) of the information received~

The CPU 102 of the fax companion device 50, upon receipt and storage of the information, create~ the message to be ` 25 ~ent to the attached fax machine 76. The fax companion : device 50 generates a ring signal which i~ tran~mitted to the attached fax machine 76 without needing to connect to ~ . :
a pu~lic telephone line. The fax co~panion de~ice 50 will generate all ~he reguired parameter~ to e~tablish : 30 the communication with the at~ached fax machine 76. In accordance with a communications protocol, such as the : : : CCITT T.30 protocol, the attached fax machine 76 will establish a set of parameters for a data transmission, as discus~ed in detail above. The fax companion device 50 will then tran~mit the message in image form, containing details about the information received and ~tored by the ;~ fax companion device ~0. This message will then be :

21`233~-~
WO93~10617 PCT/US92/096~7 .

printed by the attached facsimile machine 76.

D. Active_Mode As an alternative embodiment, the fax companion device 50 operates ~ctively as an interface between.the device sending the information and the attached fax machine 76.

~ Referring now to Fig. 9, there is illustrated a ;: 10 simplified block diagram of the "active mode" fax companion device 50 and its connection to an attached facsimile machine 76. A sending device 49 transmits in~ormation over a communication line directly to the fax companion device 50. The sending device, which can be another fax companion device, a facsimile machine or a computer with a fax modem, preferably can enqage in BFT
transmissions.

: : A3suming that the sending device 49 is sending a BFT
;~ ~ 20 ~ransmission, the sending device 49 will generate a ring : signal. In thi embodiment, the ring signal will be an~wered by the fax companion device 50. The ~ending :de~ice 49 will transmit a header in accordance with the :BFT protocol which indicates that the transmission is a 25: Binary File Transmission, a~d the destina~ion ~e.g., memory, FAX or both~ for the tr nsmission. For an example of a BFT protocol havi~g a header field that can be used to identify data type, processing and destination : informationj reference ~hould be made to U.S. application Serial No. 963,43~, ~iled October l9, l992t entitled 'Mèthod And System For Organization Of Data And Relàted Information For U~e In A Communications Protocol For An ~,, , Intelligent:Transfer Of Data.l' Application Serial No.
9~3,430 is hereby expressly incorporated:by reference.

: If the sending devi~e 49 re~uests that the inforrnation being transmitted is to be stored in a ~omputer-^-~ W093/10617 2 ~ 2 3 3 9 7 PCT/US92/0~657 , ~ 3 !

accessible medium, such as a disk drive 68, ~he CPU 102 accordingly determines, by examining the header in the transmission, that the information being transmitted is to be stored in the disk drive 68. The fax companion S device 50 will route the information transmitted by the sending de~ice 49 to the disk dri~e 68, as explained above. In ~uch a case, the a~tached facsimile machine 76 is not involved in the receiving process.

If the destination of the information being transmitted is to be the attached facsimile machine 76, communications must be established with the attached facsimile ~achine 76. The CPU 102 determines, by examining the header in the transmisslon, tha~ the : 15 infoxmation being transmitted is to be received by the :~ . attached facsimile machine 76~ The fax companion de~ice : 5~ will then generate and transmit a ring signal to the attached facsimile machine 76 and will allow the a~tached .
ax m~chine 76 to communicate with the æending device 49 2~ accordiny to the CCITT T.30 protocol. Thereafter, the fax companion device 50 will remo~e itself from the ransmission/receipt process.

The CPU 102 of the c~mpanion device 50 can also be 2~5~ programmed to est ~ 1ish communications with a sendi~g de~ice 49 which i~ not sending a BFT transmission and is operating according to another communicatio~ protocol, uch: as, e.g~., the CCITT T.30 protocol.
~ ~ .

~ , :

, ~

~:~

:: :

Claims (84)

What is claimed is:
1. A device for monitoring and storing a stream of data transmitted by a sending device across a communications line to a facsimile machine, the sending device and facsimile machine communicating according to a communications protocol, the device comprising:
a first connector coupling the device to the communications line;
a second connector coupling the device to the facsimile machine;
means for input of command signals;
a memory for storing the stream of data;
an adaptive switch coupling the first connector with the second connector, the adaptive switch including:
means for coupling the memory to the communications line, and means for disconnecting the facsimile machine from the communications line; and a processor, coupled to the adaptive switch, monitoring the command signals without interrupting the stream of data to the facsimile machine, the processor including:
means for determining in response to the command signals whether the stream of data is to be routed to the facsimile machine, the memory or both the facsimile machine and the memory, and means for controlling the adaptive switch in response to the determination made by the determining means.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for input of command signals comprises a portion of the stream of data.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for input of command signals comprises a user switch coupled to the processor.
4. The device of claim 1 wherein the adaptive switch includes means for placing a high impedance load on the communications line to prevent line characteristic changes when the facsimile machine is disconnected.
5. The device of claim 1 wherein the processor further comprises means for sending a protocol response to the sending device.
6. The device of claim 1 wherein the adaptive switch further comprises means for coupling, via the second connector, the memory to the facsimile machine.
7. The device of claim 6 wherein the processor further comprises mean for causing a predetermined segment of the stream of data, when stored in the memory, to be transmitted to the facsimile machine to be printed.
8. The device of claim 7 wherein the processor further comprises means for converting the predetermined segment of the stream of data to a stream of data in image format prior to transmission to the facsimile machine.
9. The device of claim 1 wherein the processor further comprises:
means for scanning the memory to determine if all of the stream of data was stored, means for notifying the sending device if all of the stream of data was not stored, and means for appending a re-sent stream of data in the memory.
10. The device of claim 1 wherein the communications line is a telephone line.
11. The device of claim 1 wherein the first connector is a telephone jack and wherein the second connector is a telephone jack.
12. The device of claim 1 wherein the memory is a disk in a disk drive.
13. The device of claim 12 wherein the disk is a hard disk.
14. The device of claim 12 wherein the disk is a floppy disk.
15. The device of claim 1 wherein the memory is an optical disk.
16. The device of claim 1 wherein the sending device is a remote facsimile machine.
17. The device of claim 1 wherein the sending device is a computer coupled to a modem.
18. The device of claim 1 wherein the sending device is a personal computer with a facsimile modem.
19. The device of claim 1 wherein the stream of data includes a computer file in binary format.
20. The device of claim 1 wherein the stream of data includes a computer text file.
21. The device of claim 1 wherein the facsimile machine is a computer with a facsimile modem.
22. The device of claim 1 wherein the processor further comprises:
means for signaling a remote device, means for sending output command signals to the remote device, means for determining if the remote device is a facsimile machine or a fax companion device, means for sending to the remote device, as an output stream of data, predetermined data that is stored in the memory, and means for converting the output stream of data to image format if the remote device is a facsimile machine.
23. The device of claim 22 wherein the output command signals includes a signal identifying the device as a fax companion device.
24. The device of claim 22 wherein the output command signals include a signal requesting that the remote device save the output stream of data in a memory device.
25. A device for monitoring and storing an input stream of data sent by a sending device across a communications line and sending an output stream of data to a receiving device across the communications line, the input stream of data including input command signals, the device comprising:
a first connector coupling the device to the communications line;
a second connector coupling the device to a facsimile machine;
a memory storing the output stream of data and capable of storing the input stream of data;
an adaptive switch coupling the first connector with the second connector, the adaptive switch including:
means for coupling the memory to the communications line, and means for disconnecting the facsimile machine from the communications line; and a processor, coupled to the adaptive switch, including:
means for monitoring the input command signals without interrupting the stream of data to the facsimile machine, means for determining in response to the input command signals whether the input stream of data is to be routed to the facsimile machine, the memory or both the facsimile machine and the memory, means for controlling the adaptive switch in response to the determination made by the determining means, means for signaling the receiving device, and means for sending the output stream of data to the receiving device.
26. The device of claim 25 wherein the communications line is a telephone line.
7. The device of claim 26 wherein the first connector is a telephone jack and wherein the second connector is a telephone jack.
28. The device of claim 25 wherein the processor further comprises mean for inserting output command signals in the output stream of data, the output commands signaling the receiving device to store the output stream of data in an attached memory.
29. The device of claim 25 wherein the output stream of data comprises the input stream of data.
30. The device of claim 25 wherein the processor further comprises means for causing the output stream of data to be transmitted to the facsimile machine to be printed.
31. The device of claim 25 wherein the facsimile machine is a computer with a facsimile modem.
32. The device of claim 25 wherein the receiving device is a receiving facsimile machine.
33. The device of claim 25 wherein the processor further comprises:
means for scanning the memory to determine if all of the input stream of data was stored, means for notifying the sending device if not all of the input stream of data was stored, and means for appending a re-sent input stream of data in the memory.
34. The device of claim 25 wherein the processor further comprises:
means for re-establishing communications with the receiving device if the sending of the output stream of data is interrupted, means for requesting that the receiving device scan the memory of the receiving device to determine if all of the output stream of data was stored, and means for re-sending the part of the output stream of data that was not stored by the receiving device.
35. The device of claim 25 wherein the adaptive switch includes means for placing a high impedance load on the communications line to prevent line characteristic changes when the facsimile machine is discQnnected.
36. A device for monitoring and storing a stream of data transmitted by a sending device across a communications line to a facsimile machine, the stream of data including command signals, the device comprising:
a first connector coupling the device to the communications line;

a second connector coupling the device to the facsimile machine;
a memory for storing the stream of data;
an adaptive switch coupling the first connector with the second connector, the adaptive switch including:
means for coupling the memory to the communications line, and means for disconnecting the facsimile machine from the communications line; and a processor, coupled to the adaptive switch, monitoring the command signals without interrupting the stream of data to the facsimile machine, the processor including:
means for determining in response to the command signals whether the stream of data is to be routed to the facsimile machine or the memory, and means for controlling the adaptive switch in response to the determination made by the determining means.
37. A device for monitoring and storing a stream of data transmitted by a sending device across a communications line to a facsimile machine, the device comprising:
a first connector coupling the device to the communications line;
a second connector coupling the device to the facsimile machine;
a memory for storing the stream of data;
means for input of command signals;
an adaptive switch coupling the first connector with the second connector, the adaptive switch including means for coupling the memory to the communications line; and a processor, coupled to the adaptive switch, including:
means for determining in response to the command signals whether the stream of data is to be routed to the memory, and means for controlling the adaptive switch in response to the determination made by the determining means.
38. A device for monitoring and storing a stream of data transmitted by a sending device across a communications line to a facsimile machine, the device comprising:
a first connector coupling the device to the communications line;
a second connector coupling the device to the facsimile machine;
a third connector coupling the device to a memory, the memory capable of storing the stream of data;
means for input of command signals, an adaptive switch coupling the first connector with the second connector, the adaptive switch including means for coupling the memory to the communications line; and a processor, coupled to the adaptive switch, including:
means for determining in response to the command signals whether the stream of data is to be routed to the memory, and means for controlling the adaptive switch in response to the determination made by the determining means.
39. A device for monitoring and storing a stream of data transmitted by a sending device across a communications line to a facsimile machine, the sending device and facsimile machine communicating according to a communications protocol, the device comprising:
a first connector coupling the device to the communications line;
a second connector coupling the device to the facsimile machine;

means for input of command signals;
a memory for storing the stream of data;
an adaptive switch coupling the first connector with the second connector, the adaptive switch including:
a two-way connection line coupling the first connector with the second connector, a fax spy circuit, monitoring the two-way connection line and placing a high impedance load on the two-way connection line, means for coupling the memory to the communications line, and means for disconnecting the facsimile machine from the communications line; and a processor, coupled to the adaptive switch, monitoring the command signals, the processor including:
means for determining in response to the command signals whether the stream of data is to be routed to the facsimile machine, the memory or both the facsimile machine and the memory, and means for controlling the adaptive switch in response to the determination made by the determining means.
40. For use in connection with an incoming telephone line transmitting electronically represented data and a facsimile machine, a free standing data transfer device for controllably coupling the facsimile machine to the incoming telephone line, the free standing data transfer device comprising:
a telephone input terminal adapted for coupling to the incoming telephone line, for receiving the electronically represented data;
a modem coupled to the telephone input terminal for receiving and capturing the electronically represented data from the input telephone terminal;
a processor electronically coupled to the modem for input of the captured electronically represented data from the modem;
a data storage device electronically coupled to the processor for storing the electronically represented data;
an output telephone terminal coupled to the input telephone terminal and adapted for coupling to the facsimile machine;
a computer controller switch mechanism electronically coupled to the processor and intercoupling the input telephone terminal to the output telephone terminal;
means for input of data transmission control information coupled to the processor; and means for electronically coupling the facsimile machine to the data storage device;
the processor operating the computer controlled switch mechanism and the data storage device so as to cause the transmission of the electronically represented data from the input telephone terminal be sent only directly to the facsimile machine coupled to the output telephone terminal via the computer controlled switch mechanism, only directly to the data storage device via the modem and the processor or to both the facsimile machine and the data storage device, as a function of the data transmission control information;
the processor controllably operating the computer controlled switch mechanism and the data storage device so as to cause the transmission of the electronically represented data, when stored in the data storage device, to be sent to the facsimile machine to be printed.
41. The free standing data transfer device of claim 40 wherein the processor further comprises means for generating a ring signal and transmitting the ring signal to the facsimile machine.
42. A stand-alone device for storing data files and communicating with a facsimile machine, the facsimile machine capable of going off-hook in response to a ring signal and capable of activating a message receive mode, the device comprising:
a processor;
a memory coupled to the processor storing a data file; and means, activated by the processor, for generating a ring signal and transmitting the ring signal to the facsimile machine;
wherein the facsimile machine, on receiving the ring signal goes off-hook.
43. The stand-alone device of claim 42 further comprising means, activated by the processor, for generating a calling tone and transmitting the calling tone to the facsimile machine and wherein the facsimile machine, on receiving the calling tone, thereafter activates the message receive mode.
44. The stand-alone device of claim 43 wherein the calling tone is a tone of 1100 Hertz, on for 0.5 seconds and off for 3 seconds.
45. The stand-alone device of claim 43 wherein the calling tone is a CNG signal generated according to a preselected communications protocol.
46. The stand-alone device of claim 43 wherein the calling tone identifies said stand-alone device as a non-speech terminal device in sending mode.
47. The stand-alone device of claim 43 further comprising means, activated by the processor, for transmitting the data file to the facsimile machine so that the facsimile machine prints the contents of the data file.
48. The stand-alone device of claim 47 wherein the means for transmitting is activated when the facsimile machine is in the message receive mode.
49. For use in connection with an incoming telephone line transmitting electronically represented data and a facsimile machine, a free standing data transfer device for controllably coupling the facsimile machine to the incoming telephone line, the free standing data transfer device comprising:
a telephone input terminal adapted for coupling to the incoming telephone line, for receiving the electronically represented data;
a modem coupled to the telephone input terminal for receiving and capturing the electronically represented data from the input telephone terminal;
a processor electronically coupled to the modem for input of the captured electronically represented data from the modem;
a data storage device electronically coupled to the processor for storing the electronically represented data;
an output telephone terminal coupled to the input telephone terminal and adapted for coupling to the facsimile machine;
a computer controller switch mechanism electronically coupled to the processor and intercoupling.
the input telephone terminal to the output telephone terminal, means for input of data transmission control information coupled to the processor; and means for electronically coupling the facsimile machine to the data storage device;
the processor operating the computer controlled switch mechanism and the data storage device so as to cause the transmission of the electronically represented data from the input telephone terminal be sent only directly to the facsimile machine coupled to the output telephone terminal via the computer controlled switch mechanism, only directly to the data storage device via the modem and the processor or to both the facsimile machine and the data storage device, as a function of the data transmission control information;
the processor operating to cause transmission of a message to the facsimile machine whenever the electronically represented data is stored in the data storage device.
50. The free standing data transfer device of claim 49 wherein the message transmitted to the facsimile machine comprises information about the electronically represented data stored in the data storage device.
51. The free standing data transfer device of claim 49 further comprising means for generating and sending a ring signal to the facsimile machine prior to transmitting the message to the facsimile machine.
52. A device for monitoring and storing a stream of data transmitted by a sending device across a communications line to a facsimile machine, the sending device and facsimile machine communicating a cording to a communication protocol, the device comprising:
a first connector coupling the device to the communications line;
a second connector coupling the device to the facsimile machine;
means for input of command signals;
a memory for storing the stream of data;
an adaptive switch coupling the first connector with the second connector, the adaptive switch including:
means for coupling the memory to the communications line, and means for disconnecting the facsimile machine from the communications line; and a processor, coupled to the adaptive switch, monitoring the command signals without interrupting the stream of data to the facsimile machine, the processor including:
means for determining in response to the command signals whether the stream of data is to be routed to the memory, means for controlling the adaptive switch in response to the determination made by the determining means, and means for generating and sending a message to the facsimile machine if the stream of data is routed to the memory.
53. A device for receiving and routing a stream of data transmitted by a sending device across a communications line, the device comprising:
a first connector coupling the device to the communications line;
a second connector coupling the device to a facsimile machine;
a memory for storing the stream of data; and a processor, coupled to the first connector, including:
means for going off-hook in response to a ring signal transmitted across the communications line, means for receiving the stream of data, means for examining the stream of data for a header comprising routing information for the stream of data, means for coupling the first connector to the second connector and thereafter allowing the stream of data to be received by the facsimile machine if the stream of data comprises routing information that specifies the facsimile machine as a receiving device, and means for coupling the first connector to the memory and thereafter storing the stream of data in the memory if the stream of data comprises routing information that specifies the memory as a receiving device.
54. The device of claim 53 wherein the processor further comprises:
means for generating a ring signal; and means for transmitting the ring signal to the facsimile machine if the routing information specifies the facsimile machine as a receiving device.
55. A method for monitoring and storing a data stream transmitted by a sending device to a facsimile machine across a communications line, the method comprising the steps of:

(a) detecting a ring signal generated by the sending device;
(b) receiving command signals as input;
(c) receiving the data stream;
(d) examining the command signals for a command to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium or a command to send the data stream to the facsimile machine or a command to both store the data stream and send the data steam to the facsimile machine;
(e) if the command signals include a command to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium, (i) disconnecting the facsimile machine, and (ii) directing the data stream to the computer-accessible medium;
(f) if the command signals include a command to send the data stream to the facsimile machine, directing the data stream to the facsimile machine; and (g) if the command signals include a command to both store the data stream and send the data stream to the facsimile machine, allowing the facsimile machine to receive the data stream and simultaneously storing the data stream on the computer-accessible medium.
56. The method of claim 55 further comprising the step of entering a wait mode.
57. The method of claim 55 further comprising the step of signaling and transmitting a message to the facsimile machine if the data stream is stored on the computer-accessible medium.
58. The method of claim 57 wherein the message comprises information about the contents of the data stream.
59. The method of claim 57 wherein the message comprises information about the data stream.
60. The method of claim 55 wherein prior to step (e)(ii), the method comprises the further step of processing a directory command sent by the sending device to create a directory on the computer-accessible medium in which to store the data stream.
61. The method of claim 55 wherein immediately after step (e)(i), the method comprises the further step of placing a high impedance load on the communications line to prevent line characteristic changes.
62. The method of claim 55 wherein after step (e)(i), the method comprises the steps of:
(ii) receiving a device signal from the sending device specifying a specific computer-accessible medium, (iii) determining if the specific computer-accessible medium is available, (iv) if available, routing the data stream to the specific computer-accessible medium, and (v) if not available, outputing to the sending device an error message.
63. The method of claim 55 wherein the communications line is a telephone line.
64. The method of claim 55 wherein the computer-accessible medium is a disk in a disk drive.
65. The method of claim 64 wherein the disk is a hard disk.
66. The method of claim 64 wherein the disk is a floppy disk.
67. The method of claim 55 wherein the sending device is a sending facsimile machine.
68. The method of claim 55 wherein the sending device is a personal computer coupled to a modem.
69. The method of claim 55 wherein the sending device is a computer with a facsimile modem.
70. The method of claim 55 wherein the data stream includes a computer file in binary format.
71. The method of claim 55 wherein the data stream includes a computer text file.
72. The method of claim 55 wherein the facsimile machine is a computer with a facsimile modem.
73. The method of claim 55 comprising the further steps of:
(h) scanning the computer-accessible medium to determine if all of the data stream was stored;
(i) notifying the sending device if not all of the data stream was stored; and (j) appending a re-sent data stream in the computer-accessible medium.
74. The method of claim 55 wherein the step of receiving command signals as input comprises receiving the command signals from the sending device.
75. The method of claim 55 wherein the step of receiving command signals as input comprises receiving the command signals from a user input device.
76. A method for monitoring and storing a data stream transmitted by a sending device to a facsimile machine across a communications line, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) examining the data stream for a command from the sending device to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium; and (b) if the data stream includes a command from the sending device to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium, (i) outputing a confirmation to receive signal to the sending device, and (ii) routing the data stream to the computer-accessible medium.
77. The method of claim 76 further comprising the step of:
(c) if the data stream is stored on the computer-accessible medium, (i) sending a ring signal to the facsimile machine, and (ii) sending a message to the facsimile machine for printing.
78. The method of claim 76 further comprising the step of:
(c) if the data stream does not include a command from the sending device to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium, (i) detecting the state of a user switch, (ii) if the user switch is set to FAXCOPY, directing the data stream to the facsimile machine, (iii) if the user switch is set to DISKCOPY, (A) disconnecting the facsimile machine, (B) outputing a confirmation to receive signal to the sending device, and (C) routing the data stream to the computer-accessible medium, and (iv) if the user switch is set to BOTH, allowing the facsimile machine to receive the data stream and simultaneously storing the data stream on the computer-accessible medium.
79. The method of claim 78 further comprising the step of:
(d) if the data stream is stored on the computer-accessible medium, (i) sending a ring signal to the facsimile machine, and (ii) sending a message to the facsimile machine for printing.
80. A method for monitoring and storing a data stream transmitted by a sending device to a facsimile machine across a communications line, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) examining the data stream for a command from the sending device to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium; and (b) if the data stream includes a command from the sending device to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium, routing the data stream to the computer-accessible medium;
(c) if the data stream does not include a command from the sending device to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium, (i) detecting the state of a user switch, (ii) if the user switch is set to FAXCOPY, directing the data stream to the facsimile machine, (iii) if the user switch is set to DISKCOPY, (A) disconnecting the facsimile machine, and (B) routing the data stream to the computer-accessible medium, and (iv) if the user switch is set to BOTH, allowing the facsimile machine to receive the data stream and simultaneously storing the data stream on the computer-accessible medium.
81. A method for receiving and routing a data stream transmitted by a sending device across a communications line, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) answering a ring signal transmitted across the communications line;
(b) receiving the data stream;
(c) examining the data stream for a command from the sending device to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium or to route the data stream to a facsimile machine or both store the data stream and route the data stream to the facsimile machine;
(d) if the data stream includes a command from the sending device to store the data stream on a computer-accessible medium, routing the data stream to the computer-accessible medium;
(e) if the data stream includes a command from the sending device to route the data stream to the facsimile machine, directing the data stream to the facsimile machine;
(f) if the data stream includes a command from the sending device to both store the data stream and route the data stream to the facsimile machine, allowing the facsimile machine to receive the data stream and storing the data stream on the computer-accessible medium.
82. The method of claim 81 wherein the step of directing the data stream to the facsimile machine further comprises the steps of:
generating a ring signal; and transmitting the ring signal to the facsimile machine.
83. The method of claim 81 wherein the step of directing the data stream to the facsimile machine further comprises the steps of:
generating a ring signal;
transmitting the ring signal to the facsimile machine;
generating a calling tone; and eransmitting the calling tone to the facsimile marhine.
84. The method of claim 81 wherein the step of directing the data stream to the facsimile machine further comprises the step of establishing communications with the facsimile machine by engaging in the communications .
protocol of the facsimile machine.
CA 2123397 1991-11-12 1992-11-12 Stand-alone device to transfer computer files using a communication line shared by a facsimile machine Abandoned CA2123397A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US79003491 true 1991-11-12 1991-11-12
US790,034 1991-11-12
PCT/US1992/009657 WO1993010617A1 (en) 1991-11-12 1992-11-12 Stand-alone device to transfer computer files using a communication line shared by a facsimile machine

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
CA2123397A1 true true CA2123397A1 (en) 1993-05-27

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JP (1) JPH07504301A (en)
CA (1) CA2123397A1 (en)
WO (1) WO1993010617A1 (en)

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WO1993010617A1 (en) 1993-05-27 application
EP0612455A1 (en) 1994-08-31 application
JPH07504301A (en) 1995-05-11 application

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