Storage and Conversion Facsimile Communication System

Configuration of the FICS-1 storage-and-conversion facsimile communication system

Fig.1 Configuration of the FICS-1 storage-and-conversion facsimile communication system

Configuration of the FICS-2 storage and conversion facsimile communication system

Fig.2 Configuration of the FICS-2 storage and conversion facsimile communication system

FICS service functions

Tbl.1 FICS service functions

Functions of FICS-2 equipment

Tbl.2 Functions of FICS-2 equipment

The facsimile machine, which can faithfully transmit handwritten characters and figures, has found widespread use in Japan, a country that uses a large number of Chinese characters (kanji) in its written language. Facsimile communications got its start in the form of a small and inexpensive device for home use, but it didn’t take long for a storage and conversion system based on high-speed, digital communications to be developed mainly for office use and to expand throughout the country so that subscribers could use it in common even fo home use. Now a full-scale dedicated facsimile network consists of equipments and service specifications originally developed in Japan, unparalleled in the world.
Storage and conversion facsimile communication is the technology used in the facsimile network service (F-Net) launched by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (now Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation = NTT) in 1981. This service began in September 1981 between Tokyo and Osaka based on the FICS-1 system and expanded to the whole country in July 1984 based on an upgrade to FICS-2. The number of terminals registered with F-Net reached about one million by 2005.
Figure 1 shows the configuration of the FICS-1 system. This system accommodates only A5-size Minifax (MF-1) protocol using the same AM-PM-VSB modulation system as that of Group 2 facsimile . Table 1 lists system functions common to the FICS-1 and FICS-2 systems. Note that E-STOC appearing in the “Process Equipment” column is an FICS-1 function.

If a subscriber dials another party’s number with a certain prefix from a FAX terminal, the local switch (LS) obtains the sender’s number and sends it together with the other party’s number to a TS-FX. The TS-FX, in turn, sends an inquiry to another TS-FX on the receive side via a common signaling channel to check whether the other party’s number represents a facsimile subscriber (subscriber check). If the other party is a subscriber, the sending TS-FX requests an E-STOC to accept a facsimile document. The E-STOC demodulates the facsimile signal, digitizes it, encodes it to reduce redundancy, and stores it, and then adds the sender’s number and sending time and date to the top of the facsimile screen (date/number attachment). This E-STOC then transmits the stored facsimile signal to another E-STOC on the receive side.

The receive-side E-STOC now calls the other party’s terminal via a TS-FX without ringing a calling bell and makes the terminal receive the facsimile signal (no-ringing automatic connection). The TS-FX on the sender’s side handles FAX-service charging. If the other party’s terminal is busy, the system tries again through automatic redialing, and if that fails, the receive side creates a facsimile screen with an undeliverable notice and returns that screen to the sender’s terminal.

A TS-FX incorporates a function for registering abbreviated numbers to facilitate dialing. This function also allows multiple numbers to be registered as a single group number to facilitate multiple dialing An E-STOC incorporates a function for multicasting in addition to one-on-one facsimile communication.
Figure 2 shows the configuration of the FICS-2 system that was launched nationwide in 1984. Here, FCAP is added so that the signal-processing section of E-STOC that performs modulation/demodulation, digital/analog conversion, and redundancy-reduction encoding/decoding can be made independent. As a result, all processes above FCAP are in digital. A STOC performs E-STOC functions other than those taken on by FCAP and features a processing and storage capacity greater than that of E-STOC.

The FDIC equipment shown here provides data services connecting a data center with facsimiles. It has a code/pattern conversion function that converts text code to character patterns to assemble a facsimile signal, and conversely, a pattern/code conversion function that extracts marks from a facsimile signal and converts them to code. FDIC functions were later extended to enable the reading of characters. Table 2 summarizes the functions and capabilities of the equipment shown in Fig. 2.

The FICS-2 system features confidential transmission and information offering (see Table 1) as new services. In the confidential-transmission service, a message notifying that a confidential document for a specific user has arrived is automatically output instead of the facsimile documents. The actual facsimile documents cannot be received until the user inputs a password.

In addition to A5-size MF-1 terminals, the FICS-2 system accommodates A4-size MF-2 terminals and general Group 3 terminals .

Facsimile communication as described above is unparalleled in the world. The above systems stand out because of their original services. The media conversion service , for example, was realized before the Videotex service .

In recognition of their contributions to the above development of facsimile communications, Takahiko Kamae, Kiyohiro Yuki, and Hidoto Hata (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation, now NTT) received an IEICE Achievement Award in 1983.



Publications

[1] Y. Yasuda, Y. Ymazaki, T. Kamae, K. Kobayashi、Advances in FAX、1985、IEEE Proceedings Vol.73, N0.4, pp.706-730

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