AVM may not be a household name in Australia, but in its homeland of Germany it’s the biggest selling brand of router. And once you’ve used one of its funky-looking Fritz!Boxes, it’s easy to see why.
Of all the routers we’ve ever tested here at PC & Tech Authority – not only those tested this month – we found the 7390 the easiest to set up and administer on an ongoing basis. Its web-based admin pages are sensibly laid out and simple to understand, with everything spelled out in plain English.
It’s also the most feature-laden router on show. The core stuff is all in place: it’s dual-band with concurrent networks in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands; it has four Gigabit Ethernet ports; there are dual ADSL/ cable internet connections (although for the latter you have to sacrifice one of your Gigabit sockets); and you get two USB sockets for connecting FAT32 or NTFS-formatted sticks and disks.
The unique selling points of this particular router, however, surround its telephony features. In addition to wireless and wired networking duties, you can put the 7390 to use as a mini-telephone exchange: it can be hooked up to a standard landline or ISDN line and used as a DECT cordless phone basestation – up to six GAP-compliant handsets can be paired with it. It can be used to receive and make VoIP calls (we managed to set it up with our sipgate account in a matter of minutes); and there’s even an answerphone facility with up to five mailboxes, with 512MB of integrated flash memory onboard for storing messages.
It’s astonishing how much is packed in here, and how easy it is to set up, and for those reasons alone this router is worthy of recommendation.
What lets the side down, however, is performance. At close range this router’s average speeds of 11.8MB/sec over 2.4GHz and 16.8MB/sec over 5GHz are distinctly middle of the road, as is its USB NAS performance: we measured an average rate of 2.9MB/sec in this test. At long range, meanwhile, those average speeds tail off dramatically. We measured an average speed over 2.4GHz of 2.7MB/ sec and failed to connect at all at 5GHz. If you live in a large house with thick walls, this probably isn’t the router for you.
The price, too, isn’t to be taken lightly – but none of this is enough to completely put us off. There’s so much on offer here, and it’s wrapped up in such a likeable, usable package, that we’re able to forgive its weaknesses.