After being a customer of AOL for quite some time, I have found them to be extremely reliable and I have always received pretty much the promised speeds (They advertised 8mb, I get 7.89MB)
I never used their software personally. You dont really get any advantages over it, except that you can view your latest bills and chat to tech support live via a chat window. Also, if you are with the AOL Talk like I was, the software can show you itemised bills etc.
I used Internet Explorer and then moved onto Mozilla Firefox. Both worked well with AOL.
As long as you have put your AOL Screen-name and password into the router as they show you in the setup, you can use any browser that you like.
As I said, the only benefits of the software is up-to-the-minute itemised billing and a live technical support chat.
I am now with Virgin, just to take advantage of their 20mb speeds. You can always do what I did, use Internet Explorer but have AOL software just to view the bills and chat to AOL when needed.
Hope this helps.