Your router is the beating heart of your network, and not something to skimp on. This new FRITZ!Box is definitely at the luxury end of the market, but it’s more than just a router.
As well as networking your home machines and getting you on the internet, the FRITZ!Box Fon WLAN 7390 works as a base station for up to six cordless phones. Up to five telephone answering machines can be set up, and it can send and receive faxes.
But it’s as a networking and internet device that it really shines. The 7390 is the first FRITZ!Box router with simultaneous dual band. This enables it to use the less congested 5GHz waveband at the same time as the 2.4GHz band. Routers that don’t offer this feature are forced to use the crowded 2.4GHz band when wireless ‘g’ units such as mobile phones or internet radios are also connected, slowing down transfers.
Other new technologies improve wireless and DSL speeds too. In our tests, transferring a 1GB file from a MacBook to a NAS drive connected to the router took less than half the time compared to its predecessor, the FRITZ!Box 7270 (itself no slouch).
Its traffic-shaping features, which prioritise certain connection types, have also been polished. We surfed the web and used email in the midst of a big download, with very little loss of performance.
The router’s two USB ports enable you to connect an external storage device for NAS capabilities, share a USB printer on the network or fit a compatible dongle to go online using 3G. It has an in-built uPnP-compatible media streamer, and 512MB of internal memory.
It plays nicely with MobileMe’s Back to my Mac feature, and a new firmware release (imminent at the time of writing) brings a new user interface and a guest mode, whereby WLAN access is made available for visitors but isolated from the home network.
£240 may seem expensive for a router, but the price is bound to fall over time and you certainly can’t fault this for quality.
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