The Fritz is a serious bit of kit. Talk about squeezing a quart into a pint pot. Inside you'll find a conventional 54G Wi-Fi two-port router with firewall, plus a veritable raft of telephony features. It has an ISDN/analogue port for a PBX and features a trio of sockets for telephone handsets. It supports VoIP using Sips (software-based internet telephony), so that you can make phone calls via the internet or over a landline. Once registered, you can make free calls to other users or low-cost calls to landline numbers. And VoIP call clarity is acceptable.
When it comes to setting up, the Fritz presents you with a cable-fest. Although the wizard's instructions are clear, better use could be made of colour-coding everything to simplify it.
With computer-controlled phone calls, all sorts of possibilities arise. You can, for example, set up rules to define how outgoing calls are to be handled. So it's easy to block certain numbers. The web interface contains a wealth of useful logged information – a record is made of every phone call and you can track internet usage, handy for those with a capped connection. And once set up, the Fritz is pretty easy to use.
The only disappointment with the Fritz is its wireless performance. It is a plain vanilla 54G device – although 125Mbps performance is promised with AVM NICs – and isn't as fast as the draft-N routers. For a 54Mbps device, it delivered poor results according to QCheck – a peak of 19Mbps in our close test and a rather feeble 7Mbps in the far test.