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German product Fritz!Box from AVM is certainly not for the average user. It is a Rolls Royce product at an appropriate price. The two VoIP ADSL2+ Modem/routers are the 7390 ($399 rrp) and the 7270 ($299 rrp). To use all their features you really must consider at least one Fritz Fon DECT handset ($125 rrp). If these prices frighten you, then read no further, but if you are intrigued on how something this pricey can be great Value for Money, then read on...

Firstly, we shall refrain from repeating the spec sheets, and simply let you read them on the manufacturer's web site here. The rest of this article will concentrate on our own experiences with our very onw Fritz!Box 7390 and one Fritz Fon DECT handset. Our configuration was using a Bigpond Cable connection, although the 7390 includes an ADSL2+ modem fast enough for the famouse Australian NBN. In fact this is the very reason that Internode has decided to import these to Australia.

Some of the great features that made us choose to fork out the dollars include;

  1. Full support for Cable Connection (LAN port 1 can be reconfigured to a WAN port)
  2. Superior VoIP facilities (compared to our Billion 6404VGP, which the Fritz replaced)
  3. Integration with iPhone as a VoIP/Landline handset (Android also supported, but not tested by us)
  4. Multi number Answer Phones - SIX in fact! Can have different messages for different incoming numbers, and can email you the WAV files of the recorded messages. Great if you are overseas on holiday!
  5. Centralised telephone book. No more fiddling with syncing DECT handsets (Goodbye Uniden)
  6. FAX email/forwarding
  7. Detailed logs of every incoming and outgoing calls (now oy can really check those Telstra bills!)
  8. USB storage, can be used as simple NAS or to extend voice mailboxing. We plugged in a 16GB USB and got over 100hrs of message space. Never run out of space again!
  9. Do Not Disturb (phone) mode. Will reject all calls EXCEPT those you have marked as Important in the phone book, (such as your parents or girlfriend(?), etc.) Great for a quiet night's sleep! Rejected calls go straight to Answer Phone without ringing out.
  10. There is much, much more. We shall extend this list as time permits

Internet Installation

First it must be noted that AVM has employed native English speaking professional technical writers to produce documentation, the likes of which we have never seen before! They are in perfectly clear and understandable prose.

Our installtion was for a cable modem setup, so we didn't get to see the Fritz's great automatic ADSL configuration. Connections are however very easy. We knew that port LAN1 will be for the WAN connection to the cable modem, so we simply left LAN1 empty and connected our laptop to LAN2. No need to figure out the ip address for the router - it auto configures so that typing htp://fritz.box into the browser goeas straight to it. No need for looking for default passwords either, as there is none set. You can of course set it later, indeed you are encouraged to do so.

Internet setup was a synch, as the menues are well laid out, however for cable connection, you must enable "Expert" mode immediately. This exposes more settings, which you need for the setup. For simple ADSL2+ connection, you can get by without turning on the Expert functions, although we suspect that most users that spend this kind of money will want to see all the features.

WLAN

Fritz uses "WLAN" to denote wireless networking. In Australia, most people are more familiar with the term WiFi, which refers to exactly the same thing. WLAN on the Fritz 7390 has a couple of nice unaccepted features:

  1. GUEST MODE - when this is turned on, a guest user can access the internet, without being able to access the local LAN resources. Great for visitors that you want to allow to browse or get emails, without exposing your innermost secrets on your home server!
  2. USB ENCRYPTED CONNECTION - if you spring for the Fritz special USB adaptor, then you don't have to worry about typing in complex security keys. Just plug the USB adaptor into the router and initialise it with the high security encryption key, then move it to a portable computer and hey presty everything works, securely. Just make sure that your visitor returns the USB device, because it ain't cheap!

Telephony

This includes VoIP. called Internet Telephony, on the menu system, however we will give VoIP it's own heading.

VoIP

 

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