ADSL routers are now two-a-penny, but the Fritz!Box aims to stand out from the crowd.

You're encouraged to install the router using the enclosed disc. However, there's one small problem. As soon as you insert the CD and click your chosen language, the wizard attempts to connect to the router, even though you won't have connected it up yet because the instructions haven't told you to!

The user experience does improve because after the connection has failed to initialise once, you're asked how you want to connect to the box: either wirelessly or over a wired connection. The wizard will then find the device for you.

You need to use the wizard when setting up the Fritz!Box because wireless security is turned on by default, so you can't access and configure your wireless connection if you don't do it this way. Mind you, the WPA key is printed on the underside of the router - a fairly pointless exercise.

With the Fritz!Box you can also connect a standard telephone (or two) to it, enabling you to make VoIP calls. A cable is included for spitting the signal away from your standard telephone line, as well as two filters. The VoIP capability is designed to be used with a service such as Sipgate, for which there's a leaflet included in the box.

Config headache

After we'd worked through the telephone process, the router seemed to mistakenly believe we'd also configured our ADSL connection with the box.

It goes to show how hit and miss the whole process of wireless setup can be. We couldn't seem to get to the DSL configuration, either, so we had to work through it manually. Once you access the configuration interface you'll notice that it's uncluttered and should be fine for all users; it takes you through things one step at a time.

However, this plus point is all but cancelled out by the obscure use of jargon. However, the Fritz!Box has a further problem - cost. At well over £100 it's an expensive ADSL router. Furthermore, just for VoIP compatibility, it isn't worth it. Dan Grabham