AVM Fritz!Box 3270 £140

22nd Jun 2012 | 07:57

AVM Fritz!Box 3270

A more reasonably priced AVM Fritz!Box, but is it a cut too far?

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

Like:

Friendly interface; 5GHz support;

Dislike:

No mixed-mode frequency; 100BaseT LAN ports;

Introduction

The AVM Fritz!Box 7390 was a massively impressive, if over specified do-it-all wireless router. It also happened to be one of the first dual-band 802.11n routers we'd tested.

While that router remains priced in the £200 (around $310) region, AVM has released this outwardly similar device that inside isn't quite as accommodating, with all of the highfalutin DECT, ISDN, SIP and VoIP functions stripped out.

Even so, what you have here is a full ADSL2+ DSL router, with dual-band 2.4GHz or 5GHz 802.11n wireless internet, four 100 Base-T ports and a USB 2.0 socket for NAS and printer support. It'll also provide full UPnP media server streaming, and NAS and can run an FTP off it as well.

Unusually for an up-to-date design the AVM Fritz!Box 3270 still provides manually adjustable antenna and it's sporting that unmistakable AVM Fritz!Box red and silver style. But can it offer anything over other ADSL2+ dual-band routers such as the Netgear DGND3300?

Benchmarks

Our key tests run a batch of file transfers over the wireless networking at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands using a standard Centrino 2 laptop. Results are going to be limited because it only supports 100 Base-T LAN, but even so we'll run file transfers within the same room, one brick wall away and a line-of-sight distance test of 25 meters.

Same room transfer speed

File copy - MB/s: higher is better

Netgear DGND3300 2.4GHz: 10.5MB/s
Netgear DGND3300 5GHz: 11.8MB/s
ASUS EA-N66 2.4GHz: 9.7MB/s
ASUS EA-N66 5GHz: 23.5MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 7390 2.4GHz: 9.9MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 7390 5GHz: 19.3MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 3270 2.4GHz: 10.9MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 3270 5GHz: 9.8MB/s

One room away transfer speed

File copy - MB/s: higher is better
Netgear DGND3300 2.4GHz: 7.1MB/s
Netgear DGND3300 5GHz: 10.7MB/s
ASUS EA-N66 2.4GHz: 6.5MB/s
ASUS EA-N66 5GHz: 12.3MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 7390 2.4GHz: 6.3MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 7390 5GHz: 9.8MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 3270 2.4GHz: 9.0MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 3270 5GHz: 11.2MB/s

25m line-of-sight transfer speed

File copy - MB/s: higher is better
Netgear DGND3300 2.4GHz: 5.2MB/s
Netgear DGND3300 5GHz: 5.1MB/s
ASUS EA-N66 2.4GHz: 2.5MB/s
ASUS EA-N66 5GHz: 9.0MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 7390 2.4GHz: 2.3MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 7390 5GHz: 6.4MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 3270 2.4GHz: 4MB/s
AVM Fritz!Box 3270 5GHz: 4.8MB/s

Verdict

As with its more accomplished older brother, the AVM Fritz!Box 7390, at its heart the AVM Fritz!Box 3270 has a beautifully friendly web-based interface. It's quick and responsive in use and provides a friendly face to what could be an overly complicated device.

It supports key-based WPS so Wi-Fi configuration is simple to get started with and the ADSL side is taken care of with a wizard, but it still lacks pre-configured localised ISP settings.

An odd move for the AVM Fritz!Box is that it seemed to only provide exclusive 2.4GHz or 5GHz operation. Most routers offer mixed-mode operation, albeit with reduced 2.4GHz streams. It's not even like this frees up an antenna - optimised lengths are different for both frequencies - so 2.4GHz throughput is limited to 130Mbps.

Thankfully 5GHz mode can still reach 300Mbps. The main issue for us is that throughput from LAN to WLAN will be capped at 12MB/s due to the 100 Base-T ports.

A rather impressive addition to the interface, though, is an array of power efficiency reports and controls. It even breaks down the percentage of the power used on a per-component basis and offers ways to reduce the power consumption and power-down overnight.

Besides this, the AVM Fritz!Box 3270 offers the usual mix of security protocols with legacy WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption. Full WPS support includes the three main modes of use. An AVM Fritz!Box Fon app is also supported, and this clever idea enables you to connect your phone to the router via the Wi-Fi and make or receive landline calls.

Unfortunately the app looks rather outdated and we've had reports of varied success and poor audio quality.

We liked

If you already own AVM Fritz!Box kit, this is going to fit perfectly. It'll also be a friendly face with its easy-to-use web interface and familiar features. While performance was solid it didn't do anything to really impress.

We disliked

For us the 100 Base-T LAN ports and twin antenna really don't cut it, especially at this price. The either/or 5GHz frequency also seems rather limited, since most environments are going to have a mix of device frequencies in use.

Final verdict

Over a year and half has passed since the Friz!Box 7390 was released and dual-band routers, while not quite the norm, are in abundance. This means any weaknesses of a dual-band router are really going to be highlighted.

With competition stiff for dual-band routers, this AVM FritzBox 3270 doesn't cut it on almost any level despite it being so friendly to use.

routers TRBC
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