A to D to A to D to…

I recently needed to send some copies of some documents (the occupancy permit and such) to my bank for them to release the rest of the funds for our construction. I only had a physical instance of these documents. Since the snazzy all-in-one printer/scanner we got for Christmas was also a faxer, I figured I’d just fax it to the bank.

  • The machine took my analog document and converted it to a digital image representation.
  • It then took this digital representation and converted it to an analog sequence of sounds for transmission over a phone line.
  • My Vonage voice-over-Internet service took this sequence of sounds, and converted it to a digital representation and transmitted it over the Internet.
  • My cable modem took this Internet packet and encoded it as an analog signal over the cable lines.
  • Charter took this analog signal and converted it back to digital Internet packets, which it sent to Vonage’s servers.
  • Vonage took the packet and converted it back to the phone line sounds, sending it to my bank’s fax line.
  • My bank’s fax machine took the call, and converted it back to a digital image.
  • The bank’s fax machine printed the digital image out onto analog paper for the loan department.

This whole process worked flawlessly and transparently. Yet, somehow it seems inefficient.