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AVM Fritz!Box 4040, First Take: A fast and reliable dual-band Wi-Fi router

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AVM's Fritz!Box range of routers has long offered an excellent range of features and are, in my experience, highly reliable.

The Fritz!Box 4040 sits at the top end of the lower half of AVM's product line-up -- the top half includes models featuring DSL modems and DECT telephony.

The 4040 looks like all the other Fritz!Box devices: a slim, streamlined red-and-silver case without any design extravagances that might force you to hide the device from view. A couple of buttons on the top control WPS and WLAN, while indicators show power, internet, wireless LAN and LAN status. There's also a moderately configurable Info light, and it would be helpful if AVM broadened the possible uses of this indicator.

At the back are four 1Gbps LAN ports, which you can downgrade individually for power-saving reasons to 100Mbps, plus a WAN port for connecting a DSL modem, a 3G/4G dongle or an existing network. A couple of USB ports are provided too -- one 3.0 and one 2.0.

The 4040 supports 2.4GHz 802.11n and 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the latter providing connectivity at up to a theoretical 866Mbps. I managed to get 650Mbps with my phone right next to the access point. Both wireless bands can be used concurrently, the 2.4GHz band providing up to 400Mbps of bandwidth.

Power-saving modes are available for the wireless signal too (it automatically reduces the wireless transmitter power when all devices are logged off), providing a useful saving for a device that you're likely to leave switched on all the time.

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Security is catered for by MAC address filtering on the wireless LAN, and by a stateful packet inspection firewall with port sharing to allow access from the internet.

The Fritz!OS software is supremely easy to use, and handsome too. The overview screen gives an at-a-glance of the status of the main features -- the internet connection, devices connected to the network, the status of all interfaces, and of the NAS and media servers that are built into the router.

The Fritz!NAS feature allows you to connect storage to the router over USB, and access it from anywhere either over UPnP, FTP or SMB (Windows networking). Other features include internet-only guest access, which disables access to the LAN, an IPSec VPN, and Wake on LAN over the Internet.

The Fritz!Box 4040 is the latest in a long line of impressive wireless routers, continuing AVM's tradition of high-quality hardware and usable software, and it's good value at €89 (about £77).

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