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AVM Fritz Box 7530 Review

With strong performance and an impressive range of features the Fritz!Box 7530 is a good upgrade for your existing broadband router, although the apps are a little rough around the edges.

Should I Buy The AVM Fritz Box 7530?
If you want to upgrade your existing broadband modem or router then the Fritz!Box 7530 provides good performance at a competitive price.

Its real strength, though, is its wide range of additional features, including support for features such as VOIP telephony and network media streaming. However, the Fritz apps aren’t quite as slick and easy to use as those offered by some of its rivals.

Price When Reviewed
  • £132
There are plenty of routers already available that offer a good upgrade for the more basic and inexpensive routers provided by most Internet service providers and, at first glance, the Fritz!Box 7530 doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. It does, however, have a number of features that will appeal to more technically knowledgeable users. Here's our full review.

Price
Developed by the Berlin-based AVM, the Fritz!Box 7530 has a recommended retail price of £132 here in the UK, although Amazon currently charges £138 and we’ve seen it online for as much as £170, so it will certainly be a good idea to shop around before buying.

That’s relatively expensive for a dual-band 802.11ac router such as this but, as we’ve mentioned, the Fritz!Box 7530 does provide other features that will help it to earn its keep.

Cheaper routers tend not to include a modem for Internet access, which means that you still have to connect the new router to your existing modem or router, leaving you with a clutter of boxes and cables sitting in the corner by your broadband connection socket.

However, the Fritz!Box 7530 does include a modem as well, so you can simply use it as a straightforward, clutter-free replacement for your existing modem or router. You also have the option of connecting two or more Fritz! routers – including more expensive models such as the Fritz!Box 7590 that we reviewed last year – as part of a high-speed mesh network for larger homes. You can also get a Fritz Mesh Kit.

Design & Features
The Fritz!Box 7530 looks fairly unremarkable, but it does manage to squeeze a wide range of features into a compact design that is well suited for use at home. A simple set of green LED indicators provide useful feedback when you’re setting the router up, and a series of buttons on the front panel allow you to quickly turn the Wi-Fi signal on or off, or to connect your devices using the WPS (Wi-Fi protected setup) option.

The router itself provides dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi using the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, with a maximum throughput of 1266Mbps - although, as always, the real-world performance will be rather less than that. The DSL connector on the back will work with ADSL broadband connections, as well as the newer ADSL2+ and VDSL.

There are four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back of the router for wired connections, along with a USB port for connecting a printer or storage devices, and the router can also act as a DECT base-station for up to six cordless telephones that can be used for voice-over-Internet (VOIP) telephone calls – including AVM’s own range of Fritz!Fon handsets.

There’s even a ‘FON’ socket that will allow you to connect an analogue telephone, answering machine or fax machine for office use.
This is where the Fritz!Box 7530 really stands out, as the Fritz!OS operating system that controls the router is specifically designed to support features such as VOIP telephony, mesh networking and media streaming. To support those features, AVM provides a number of different apps for smartphones and mobiles – although we did find that the various Fritz! apps lean a little more towards the Android side of the fence, rather than Apple’s iOS devices.

Some of the Fritz! apps are available for both iOS and Android, but others – such as Fritz!App Media, which allows you to stream music, photos or videos that are stored on your network – are only available for Android.

The Fritz!App WLAN that helps you with the initial set-up process for the router does run on iOS and Android, but the iOS version is more limited and lacks features – such as the ability to create a guest network – that are available in the Android app.

A spokesman for AVM told us that this was due to technical restrictions imposed by Apple itself, but we’ve seen plenty of other routers that were able to include those features in their iOS apps.

The iOS app does, however, include a button that opens up a web browser interface for the router instead (which you can also use if you want to configure the router from a Mac or Windows PC). And, even when using the Android app, we found that we still needed to explore the browser interface in order to locate common features, such as the ability to create a schedule to limit Internet access to specific times of day.

To be fair, this browser interface does provide access to the router’s full range of features, and will appeal to more experienced users who want greater control over their network settings. However, ordinary home users who just want to quickly set up the router using their smartphone or tablet might be a bit intimidated by the browser interface.

Performance
The Fritz!Box 7530 could perhaps be a little easier to use, but we can't fault its performance. Its dual-band technology isn’t top-of-the-range, but it clearly outperformed our aging BT router, with devices in the same room achieving a connection speed of 398Mbps compared to 100Mbps with the BT router.

More importantly, it continued to perform well, even in our back office where BT's unreliable Wi-Fi signal normally forces us to use PowerLine adapters to provide a wired connection for our computers. In that office, the Fritz!Box 7530 managed to hold its own with a very respectable average speed of 141Mbps.

Verdict
It’s easy enough to set up the Fritz!Box 7530 for basic Internet access at home, and it certainly performs well enough to provide a good upgrade for an older router.

But if you really want to make full use of its many additional features then you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get to grips with its rather dense browser interface, which means that the Fritz!Box 7530 may appeal to more technically knowledgeable home users rather than networking novices.

Specs
  • Supports ADSL, ADSL2+, VDSL
  • Dual-band 802.11ac (2.4/5GHz)
  • Analogue telephone port
  • Built-in DECT base-station
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 3.0
  • Fritz!OS supports VOIP, media server and NAS functions


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