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AVM Fritz!Box Fon WLAN
There was a time when German communications company AVM had a fairly large presence in the UK market place as its expertise with ISDN put it ahead of much of the competition. However, it didn’t react quickly enough to BT’s wholesale pricing slaughter of its ISDN services at the end of the 90s and faded away over the ensuing years. Well, it’s back again and this time it’s thrusting itself at the broadband market with an ADSL router that looks to have more than a few tricks up its sleeve.
This slim plastic slab comes with an integral ADSL modem and a single LAN port which can be used to link a PC directly or be connected to another hub or switch. Not very exciting so far but the router delivers support for VoIP using the SIP protocol and is a two port PBX which allows you to make phone calls either over the Internet or a landline. It has a pair of RJ-11 ports for linking analogue devices such as phones or fax machines and another port for connecting to an analogue or ISDN landline. ADSL users install a splitter (which is not included) and connect the two cables to the relevant ports. Note that the modem only supports 8Mbit/sec downstream and 1Mbit/sec upstream. Wireless also comes into the picture as the router incorporates an 802.11b/g access point which also supports 125Mbit/sec g++ speeds. There’s more as the router has a USB port for directly connecting a PC using the bundled Windows drivers.
Unfortunately, installation got off to a poor start as the router refused to recognise our BT Broadband ADSL connection. The solution was simple as the unit was supplied with firmware v08.03.91 and needed to be upgraded to v08.04.02. However, this created a Catch-22 situation as the upgrade must be downloaded from AVM’s web site. Fortunately, we were able to use another router to regain Internet access to download the file but many others won’t be so fortunate. With the upgrade in action we had no further problems and after logging on to the router’s web interface we followed a quick start wizard which helps set up your ISP account. Usefully, it also sniffs out the VPI and VCI values and works out whether you’re using PPPoE or PPPoA. AVM makes light work of VoIP setup as you only enter minimal account details. We tested this with our sipgate test account which took mere seconds to get going as we only needed to enter our Internet phone number, the account ID and password and the SIP registrar URL.