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AVM Fritz!Box 7490 802.11ac VDSL router review

Gordon Kelly

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
AVM Fritz!Box 7490 802.11ac VDSL router

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Pros

  • Fast, consistent 802.11n performance
  • Integrated VDSL/ADSL2+ modem
  • Useful basic NAS functionality
  • Can replace your DECT basestation, answerphone and fax

Cons

  • No dedicated WAN port
  • Overly complex setup
  • Daft defaults combine SSID & disable Gigabit LAN
  • Expensive

Review Price £237.00

Key Features: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz & 5GHz WiFi; ADSL/VDSL modem; 4x Gigabit LAN; 2x USB 3.0; DECT Basestation; NAS functionality; Media Server

Manufacturer: AVM

What is the AVM Fritz!Box 7490?

It is the new flagship DSL router from German networking giant AVM, superseding the Fritz!Box 3390 (which will remain on sale). With the 7490 the big news is the inclusion of 802.11ac for the first time in AVM’s range and it comes with so much integrated telephonic, office and media functionality that there is nothing quite like it. If you need a router that has almost everything (including an integrated modem) you've come to the right place.

Fritz!Boz 7490 1

AVM Fritz!Box 7490 – Design and Features

On the outside little appears to have changed. The 7490 still looks like a prototype Thunderbird with its curved lines, matt red and silver paint job and antenna hiding fins. We find its looks a little polarising (somewhere between kitsch and charmingly retro), but there’s no doubt it has character and while the chassis is a composite of various plastic panels it feels sturdy.

Inside the headline feature is the addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi and AVM has given it the full fat 1300Mbit treatment while backing it up with 450Mbit 802.11n. This brings the range wireless parity with its premium rivals, but where it really stands is elsewhere.

Fritz!Boz 7490 3

From a networking perspective it ticks all the boxes: there’s an integrated modem compliant with both VDSL (fibre) and ADSL2 broadband plus IPv6 and VPN support, 4x Gigabit Ethernet and 2x USB 3.0 ports. There’s also WPS and WPA/WPA2 security but curiously no WAN port meaning you’ll need to give up a LAN port for it.

On top of this the 7490 incorporates a telephone system. The unit itself is a DECT base station for up to six cordless analogue, ISDN or IP based telephones. It supports HD telephony for better call quality, has no less than five digital answering machines that email recorded messages (voice-to-mail) and fax reception with email forwarding (fax-to-email).

Next the 7490 has an integrated media server and ‘Fritz!NAS’ functionality. The latter lets you network folders and group files from connected devices directly through the router enabling the former to stream and prioritise content around the home via DLNA.

Lastly comes a vast array of smart energy monitoring. The 7490 can report and adjust the power consumption of virtually every element of its functionality, toning it down on a schedule or switching down or off ports you don’t use. As such it is not just one of the most well featured routers we’ve seen, it is also the greenest.

Fritz!Boz 7490UI

AVM Fritz!Box 7490 – Setup

Of course such a vast array of functionality will leave many enthused but also intimidated at the prospect of setting it all up and sadly AVM doesn’t makes things as easy as it should.

Unnecessary complications hit you from the very start with AVM combining the 7490’s wireless on/off button with WPS. The theory is a short press to toggle Wi-Fi and a long press to toggle WPS, but we still found ourselves switching the Wi-Fi off when trying to connect devices. The lack of a dedicated WPS activity light doesn’t help matters.

The good news is once connected the 7490 has a CD-less setup. It opens a browser window at its default IP (192.168.178.1) and asks you to configure your Internet settings and passwords. The problem is it stops there and there remains much to do that you will have to sort out by digging through the menus.

Fritz!Boz 7490 ui2

This isn’t helped by an array of odd factory defaults. The most obvious are transmitting the 5GHz and 2.4GHz signals as a single SSID (something only changeable by digging through the easily missed ‘Advanced’ menu options) and setting all LAN ports to low power 10/100 Fast Ethernet rather than 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet (again a fiddly setting to change).

It is a similar story with the ‘Fritz!NAS’ which has no setup wizard, making for a lot of trial and error for newbies, and the whole UI – while fairly clear – is somewhat dated and (like the router itself) garish.

We’re big fans of the huge amount of functionality AVM has crammed into the 7490, but it needs to makes things easier to get the most out of it.

Next page

Prem Desai

March 3, 2014, 5:55 pm

I have no doubt that this is a brilliant product. The specs are truly impressive.

However, I have owned 2 of their products before. Both failed after the warranty period which in itself isn't that bad. However, with so many eggs in 1 basket, it becomes a real issue. Not having broadband is bad enough, but when your phone stops working too isn't a pleasant experience (not helped by the missus and kids calling you names!!) ....

I'm staying with my separate router and phone system.

Enterprise

March 27, 2014, 9:41 am

It only supports a limited number of concurrent users... to be honest, it is good for home use, but the worst on the enterprise world.

toboev

April 25, 2014, 11:48 am

Why are they so stubborn about releasing a cable version (sans-modem)? The benefits of VoIP are greatest to those who can reap the savings of not having to subscribe to a fixed landline - i.e. cable customers. A Fritzbox could also save me two wall plugs (for DECT base station and for VoIP box) and a whole lot of clutter, but at the cost of needing a separate ethernet switch (plus wall plug...) to compensate for giving up a LAN port on the Fritzbox, plus the unnecessary cost of the unwanted ADSL circuitry.

michel

May 2, 2014, 9:42 am

I would advice everyone to not buy this device.
The support from AVM is miserable:
* The do not even try to help you when you have technical problem.
* Im waiting at his moments 2 months for an answer to my problem.

THE AVM 7490 is unstable, it is losing the ADSL connection al the time and reseting.
My old router (6 years old), is working perfect on the ADSL line.
So i'm using my old router again ....... AND NO support from AVM.

Don't buy this device.

boolean

September 14, 2014, 9:49 am

The AVM 7490 is a very fast, stable device with tons of features. However, if you’re too stupid to configure things manually, this isn't the device for you.

michel

September 15, 2014, 5:48 pm

The device is still unstable as hell.
You're comment says more about you than about me.

boolean

September 17, 2014, 6:40 am

My reply wasn't very professional, I apologize for that. The thing is, many people blame a device while it's actually their subscriber line or power source. Are you using FTTH or ADSL? Have you tried switching the device with a friend who has the same ISP? As a side note: Fritz doesn't like old POTS lines which are over 4km long.

zag2

October 13, 2014, 1:19 pm

Wondering if this is a good replacement for a BT Home Hub 5? Mine home hub crashes constantly with file copies across the network and looking for a better replacement.

Philip Harvey

August 24, 2015, 8:58 am

Using the same SSID for both 2.4G and 5G is the best option in almost all WiFi deployments since this allows devices to select the band to use automatically. Using seperate SSIDs is only a good idea if want to manually force some devices to each frequency, which isn't an option most users should consider, hence the default is correct.

pszilard

November 9, 2015, 8:33 pm

I have a 7390 connected to Bigpond Cable Extreme. No problems here. The cable is connected via the Netgear cable modem supplied by Telstra, and the Fritz!Box is distributed in my house via a 24 port Gig Switch.

I have 3 Fritz DECT handsets.

My only complaint is that I get the "phantom" rings sometimes after a call terminates!

Have no experience with the 7490 (only my 73990), but it sounds very similar. I would recommend the Fritz to anyone that wants the feature set.

toboev

November 9, 2015, 8:47 pm

Thanks. I see that they now do have a sans-modem version (4080), but they are dragging their feet about releasing it.

pszilard

November 9, 2015, 9:02 pm

The referenced URL doesn't work!

IAMsterdam

November 9, 2015, 9:39 pm

Thanks for the alert. The brackets messed up the URL, should work now.

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