A router that is expensive but very easy to use
Although the new Fritzbox 3270 is one of AVM's least expensive broadband routers, at £140 it is still not cheap. It does have some features rarely found on cheaper models, though, and it can either be connected to a separate cable broadband modem, or use its internal ADSL2+ modem (for BT-based services apart from Infinity).
At the back are four network ports. These only support 100Mbits/sec speeds and not the faster Gigabit standard, but this won't affect internet access. It's only a problem if you want to share lots of data between wired devices on your home network.
We loved the Fritzbox's clear, easy-to-use and informative configuration interface. Setup is taken care of by a straightforward browser-based wizard, and experienced users can enable an ‘Expert' mode for more advanced features. These include VoIP (internet telephony), which needs either a special VoIP phone, or the free smartphone app for Android and Apple devices that turns them into internet telephones.
The Fritzbox's 802.11n wireless network can use either the 2.4GHz or the 5GHz frequencies. The latter is less prone to interference but has a shorter range, so it's a shame both can't be used at the same time. A separate guest wireless network can be enabled for internet-only access.
We found its performance to be consistent but not exceptional, giving around 34Mbits/sec at close range on either frequency. At long range (25m away) it gave an excellent 20Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz frequency, but the 5GHz signal would not reach that far.
There's a USB port so USB disks can be plugged in and shared with other network users. The port also accepts printers, scanners or even a 3G USB dongle (not supplied) that can be used for internet access instead of the cable or DSL connection. The parental control feature can control each device's internet access times, and block websites or individual applications.
The Fritzbox has an odd mix of advanced and basic features, and is not cheap by any standard. If price is not a barrier though, then it's a good buy since it's easy to use with a minimum of fuss.
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The Fritzbox 3270 is an expensive choice, but it is one of the easiest routers to setup and use and has some great features
Clear and simple interface; 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless; 3G dongle support; VoIP features
Expensive; 100Mbits/sec network ports; cannot use both frequencies concurrently
Phone no UK number supplied
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