The router’s web interface is very nicely designed and its home page offers a status readout of the various ports along with quick access to phone books, a call log and a handy Internet traffic monitor. A new feature is Child Protection which enables you to block Internet access for specific users during selected times. The user manual doesn’t mention this but it’s easy enough to configure as you select a computer from the list and decide when it is allowed to access the Internet. We found it worked well although the blocking web page sent from the router hasn’t been translated from German. Where PCs have multiple user accounts you can also block by username but you’ll need to download a small utility from AVM to the system in question to allow this to function. You need to log in and establish Internet access for each user account which then make themselves known to the router after which you can create blocking policies for each one.
The VoIP functions are virtually identical to this router’s predecessors so rather than waste space here we recommend taking a closer look at our earlier review of the Fritz!Box Fon WLAN for the lowdown on these features – suffice to say they are very impressive. USB storage is accessed directly from the web interface where selecting the device loads up a browser FTP session enabling you to copy files to and from it. Alas, it appears AVM hasn’t updated the port so it’s still the 1.0 variety and is consequently painfully slow. Copying a 58MB selection of photographs to USB stick returned a meagre 2.2MB/sec.
The wireless access point may only be basic but it does provide all the key security features including WEP and WPA/WPA2 encryption. RADIUS server authentication isn’t on the menu but we can’t see many users requiring this business level feature on this type of product. As expected, performance is on the low side with our test laptop equipped with a TrendNET draft-n wireless PC Card returning average real world speeds of around 20Mbps over a two metre line of sight connection.
The ISDN features are of limited value to UK users making this a comparatively pricey router although there’s no denying the 7170 delivers some of the best VoIP features around. The USB port is still the slower variety although it is more versatile than those offered on many competing routers and the new Child Protection option also has some interesting possibilities.