AVM FRITZ!Box 7590 router

£265 | $TBC https://en.avm.de/ The do-it-all router that does even more than that. And then a bit more

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What­ever you might think about the slightly star­tling name, the lat­est FRITZ!Box (and we do in­sist on repli­cat­ing that styling cor­rectly be­cause, come on, it’s hi­lar­i­ous) does more than its jaunty logo and wacky, dated styling might sug­gest.

In fact, the FRITZ!Box 7590 seems ab­so­lutely in­sis­tent on do­ing ev­ery­thing it pos­si­bly can: It routes wire­less traf­fic; it routes wired traf­fic; it routes DSL and ana­logue phone lines; and it man­ages DECT phones, print­ers, net­work stor­age.

Plug in a 4G don­gle and it’ll even pro­vide fall­back con­nec­tiv­ity for your net­work in case of a main con­nec­tion out­age. You are en­tirely un­likely to need at least half of its fea­tures, but if you’re crav­ing a router with flex­i­bil­ity you’ve def­i­nitely found it.

The real ques­tion, though, is do you want the FRITZ!Box 7590 in your house? Does that flex­i­bil­ity war­rant the price? Are you re­ally pre­pared for vis­i­tors to ask what a FRITZ!Box does?

Those ques­tions are an­swered not just by the FRITZ!Box 7590’s wide range of al­most en­ter­prise­level fea­tures, but by the fact that it al­most keeps pace with sim­i­lar­lypriced com­peti­tors in terms of per­for­mance and power.

Price and avail­abil­ity

The Ger­man-made FRITZ!Box 7590 is, as you might ex­pect, widely avail­able across Europe, com­ing in at some­where around £265.

That’s a whole lot of money for a router, par­tic­u­larly if you’re not look­ing for more than its base fea­tures, but if you’re ad­min­is­ter­ing a SOHO (small of­fice/home of­fice) sit­u­a­tion, or you’re just re­ally se­ri­ous about your home con­nec­tion, its myr­iad ports and pos­si­bil­i­ties might just make that a rea­son­able out­lay.

We’re yet to find it listed for sale in the US (al­though its con­sid­er­ably uglier 7490 pre­de­ces­sor did land on those shores, so there’s a chance); ex­pect a sim­i­lar US dol­lar price.

De­sign and setup

We may have mut­tered slightly face­tiously ear­lier about the num­ber of fea­tures the FRITZ!Box 7590 squashes in to its diminu­tive frame, but AVM has at least done a fab­u­lous job of putting them into a small space.

The new-look de­sign, which adopts a cou­ple of styling fea­tures from its clas­sic pre­de­ces­sors but chucks out the retro-fu­tur­is­tic fins, is sleek, of­fers good air­flow un­der­neath, and can be wall mounted if you choose.

It’s also vis­ually very dif­fer­ent from most rout­ing hard­ware, opt­ing for a grey/dark grey/dark red combo that’s uniquely FRITZ!Box.

This is a great router if you use VDSL – par­tic­u­larly BT In­fin­ity – or at least it will be, thanks to its sup­port for VDSL 35b su­per

vec­tor­ing. Es­sen­tially this is a way to tease up to 300Mbit/s out of twisted pair ca­bling, pre­sum­ing you’re on a short enough hop to the cab­i­net. No UK ISP sup­ports VDSL 35b at this time, but it’s good to be pre­pared for the fu­ture.

The 7590’s unique DECT phone sup­port is also a pretty big deal, par­tic­u­larly when tied in to AVM’s ex­cel­lent FRITZ!OS firmware and FRITZ!App phone ap­pli­ca­tion; sup­port for Fon means that you can route your calls as you wish, and even make land­line calls, af­ter a fash­ion, through your mo­bile.

That’s not the only app that can man­age the router’s fea­tures – there are four or five on of­fer cov­er­ing a host of dif­fer­ent as­pects.

Per­for­mance

All of those fea­tures plus world­beat­ing per­for­mance might have been too much to ask, and so it proves, since the FRITZ!Box 7590 doesn’t blow away our per­for­mance tests.

It’s not bad, by any means, but mid­dling Wi-Fi per­for­mance puts all those ad­di­tional ex­tras – and the 7590’s pretty high price – into per­spec­tive if you’re not go­ing to take full ad­van­tage of them.

With­out ac­cess to VDSL we weren’t able to test the su­per vec­tor­ing per­for­mance, but real­is­ti­cally you should be able to take the the­o­ret­i­cal max­i­mum of

“This is an in­her­ently like­able, ca­pa­ble, ver­sa­tile router that will make you want to ex­per­i­ment”

300Mbit/s with the same pinch of salt ap­plied to most In­ter­net speed rat­ings – it’s all go­ing to de­pend on your home’s dis­tance to the cab­i­net, the qual­ity of the ca­bling used on your lo­cal loop, and your ISP’s tem­per­a­ment on any given day – all things that the FRITZ!Box 7590 has no con­trol over.

Con­trol, though, is its real strong point. FRITZ!OS is a great firmware fron­tend packed with wizards and di­ag­nos­tic tools that make con­fig­u­ra­tion easy, and it con­tin­ues the en­ter­prise-ap­ing fea­ture set with some pro-level tweaks. Fancy drop­ping the Eth­er­net ports from gi­ga­bit to 100Mbit to save power? Dis­abling Wi-Fi on a sched­ule? Block­ing pings, fil­ter­ing ports, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween? Done.

Sum­mary

The AVM FRITZ!Box 7590 (we’re still tick­led by the shouty cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of that name) is a bit of a sur­prise. It’s not the fea­ture set, or the strik­ing look, or the com­pre­hen­sive firmware that does it – it’s that this is an in­her­ently like­able, ca­pa­ble, ver­sa­tile router that will make you want to ex­per­i­ment.

What home doesn’t need its land­line turned into some­thing use­ful? Why not cen­tralise stor­age, print­ers, and the like? This changes our view of what a router should be – the only prob­lem is that it’s not, in its price bracket, quite as good at the bits that re­ally mat­ter, and that’s a shame for a de­vice that’s oth­er­wise so fully fea­tured. If you want to do more with your net­work, though, it’s a solid pick.

An im­mensely ca­pa­ble router with a huge num­ber of fea­tures, and a price that’s just a lit­tle too high.

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