Product AVM Fritz!Box Fon Wlan 7390
System Specifications 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11n router, 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2 analogue phone ports, 1 ISDN S0 port, 2 USB 2 ports, SPI firewall, 512MB NAS storage, 210mm x 155mm x 25mm.
DESPITE ITS name suggesting it's on the blink, AVM's Fritz!box is actually a very capable little router with more than a few tricks up its sleeve. And although it ships in some of the most garish packing we've ever seen, the riotous palette of sky blue, canary yellow and blood red on the box belies the serious piece of VoIP hardware contained within.
Supporting ADSL2+, VDSL2, ISDN, 3G and cable modem Internet connections, this WiFi router is nothing if not versatile, and that's just the start. Like its predecessor, the Fon Wlan 7270, it's also a fully-featured mini-PBX.
AVM tends not to churn its hardware very often, adding extra features via firmware updates during the life of a product where possible. For example, the 7270 started life with no 3G support or SIP proxy, but both were added in recent firmware revisions. By the time the 7390 ships in the UK it should already be using new firmware, which we saw in beta, that adds guest access to the wireless network and a tweaked user interface.
Externally, the 7390 is very similar in dimensions and styling to its predecessor, with the notable exception of the 2x2 MIMO antennas for the dual-radio 802.11n wireless - the 7270 had a 2x3 configuration. These are now hidden under two small fins on the top of the router. The all-plastic construction makes it very light, but it's all put together pretty well. We compared the Passmark network throughput to that of a Wlan 7270 model and it was almost identical, giving around 60Mbps average throughput over 60 seconds at 1m and 10Mbps at 25m in a noisy domestic environment. It didn't seem quite so reliable at long distances, though, perhaps due to the new antenna configuration.
Ports are rear-mounted and consist of four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports plus a combined DSL and phone line port - you need to use the supplied Y-cable for this. There are also two analogue phone ports and an ISDN S0 port, with a USB port sitting in the middle of the panel. A second USB port is at the side, and the power brick plugs into the rear too, making it all a bit of a tight squeeze. For cable modem use, the WAN connection has to be made via the LAN1 port.
On first use, launching a browser starts a setup wizard that guides you neatly through setting up the Internet connection. There are also wizards for setting up the telephony functions. The box supports two wired analogue devices - phone, fax or answering machine - eight ISDN phones, 10 SIP accounts and six DECT phones - there's an integrated base station. It's an impressive collection for a consumer device, but is the same as that of its predecessor. The telephony functions are pretty much the same as well, with full call diversion, click-to-dial and five internal answering machines.
It has a very simple and clear user interface, with selectable standard and 'expert' modes. It's also definitely aimed at consumers, with little advanced geekery, but all the basics such as port forwarding, QoS and static routes are there.
The USB ports can be used for a 3G dongle, printers or storage. There's also 512MB of onboard flash memory to get you started. Samba file sharing, FTP access and UPnP media streaming are all supported. For 3G, there's no failover capability, which is a shame, and only one of our test dongles - a Huawei E160G - was recognised. For Internet telephony, there is failover to fixed line if the web connection goes down, but for analogue calls there's no passthrough - if the router power dies, so does the fixed line.
Power-saving options are numerous, with automatic power management for LAN ports, automatic wireless transmit power reduction and a night mode that lets you turn the wireless off at night. All of these features can be turned off if necessary.
A very good choice for those needing advanced telephony features at home, but expensive for those who don't. It's supremely flexible and quite easy to use, making it ideal for those who prefer not to have to use oily rags to get their Internet access working. µ
Very easy to setup and configure, good documentation, advanced telephony features, dual-radio wireless, can be wall mounted.
All-plastic construction feels a little cheap, quirky looks, cramped rear panel, cable users lose a LAN port, no 3G failover or failback.
Expensive, uses proprietary cable for DSL connections.