In contrast to many other network equipment manufacturers, German ADSL router specialist AVM has a relatively small hardware catalogue that it updates infrequently, preferring instead to add new features to existing products through firmware updates. But in response to demands for a lower-priced option (its current flagship 7390 model still costs close to £200 even after nearly two years on the shelves), it has recently announced the Fritz!Box 3270, a design based on the older 7270 model but with some important differences.
The most important difference is the VoIP support. Although the 3270 has the same advanced VoIP features as the more expensive models (including support for up to 10 SIP accounts, built-in answering machine and configurable dialling plans), there are no analogue phone connectors or DECT base station. Users can still turn Wi-Fi-enabled tablets and smartphones into VoIP devices using the free iOS and Android apps, however.
It has a single dual-frequency 802.11n radio, with the 2x2 MIMO configuration supporting speeds up to 300Mbps. The twin antennas are mounted externally at the rear. WAN connectivity is either via the integrated ADSL2+ modem or via DHCP/PPPoE by sacrificing one of the four Gigabit LAN ports. A 3G dongle can be used in the single USB port for the primary WAN connection or as an automatic failover option.
There is a built-in DLNA media server for USB storage devices, and printers and scanners can also be shared using the supplied utility.
Costing around £140 (inc. VAT), the Fritz!Box 3270 is hardly cheap, but with its excellent user-friendly graphical interface and comprehensive power-saving options, it could be an attractive choice for those needing an easy-to-use and flexible router for home office or even branch office use.