The AVM FRITZ!Box brand is well known throughout Europe but relatively unknown in many other regions. AVM has built a reputation for producing high quality coffee table products with a focus on functionality rather than aesthetics.
It has been five years since the FRITZ!Box 7590 and AVM have now launched a new model, the 7590 AX.
While it may seem a little late to the AX party based on our previous experiences with this maker, we’re genuinely interested in what this new design has to offer and how it stacks up against the leading brands. Compares with.
The 7590 AX is designed specifically for the home market, but a router that features this comprehensive can easily be used in business.
It’s been a while, so what new things has AVM added to its seminal router design?
Price and availability.
As routers designed for both home and business users, the AVM FRITZ!Box 7590 AX isn’t exceptionally expensive, but it’s not cheap either.
RRP is £265 plus VAT. At the time of writing the cheapest listed on Amazon was £329.82 including VAT. European sellers offer it for around £300, although you’ll have shipping costs and import duties to add to that outside the EU.
Being German-made, this hardware is most widely available in Europe, but is only available on import for US and Australian customers.
AVM makes a German-specific model and an international model, which come with slightly different cabling.
Design and setup
Wireless Connectivity: dual-band 802.11a/b/g/ac/n, 5GHz and 2.4GHz; 4×4 MU-MIMO; DECT base station
Processor: Dual Core Cell GRX550 MIPS CPU @ 1GHz
Note: 512 MB RAM
Storage: 512MB NAND flash
Ports: 1x Gigabit WAN, 4x Gigabit Ethernet LAN, 2x USB 3.0, VDSL/ADSL2+ modem (Annex B), 2x analog phone, 1x analog or ISDN landline
Dimensions (W x H x D): 254 x 63 x 191 mm
When this reviewer covered the original 7950 model five years ago, I described its appearance as ‘a little too Jetsons’, and the 7590 AX has similar signature styling.
In retrospect, it has a lot going for it for business telephones of a certain era, with an interesting combination of red and gray plastic that guarantees nothing else in the category remotely looks like it. Not visible.
The 7590 AX is more vertically stretched than its predecessor and has a sleeker look reminiscent of 1990s telecom hardware.
It should be noted that this is the second iteration of this design, as AVM had previously launched the 7590 AX and had some issues with it. According to some consumer complaints posted on Amazon, these issues are related to overheating.
Although it took a while for AVM to get from the vanilla 7590 to the AX version, they improved the device after realizing the problem, and this model has ventilation slots that completely cover the bottom.
After using the V2 Release for a few days during an unusually warm spell, I can say with some confidence that overheating is no longer an issue.
The layout of this router is simple but effective, with most of the networking and telephony ports on the back, a USB port on one end and a TAE socket for analog phones or faxes on the other.
Where this design departs from the usual router discord is that it combines an ADSL router, network switch, analog phone relay, digital phone point, DECT phone base, Wi-Fi 6 router and NAS box into a single solution.
Years ago, the hardware here would have been at the heart of any small business phone exchange, probably rack mounted and requiring a dedicated machine room.
That all this technology is enclosed in a box just 256 mm wide, 200 mm deep and 60 mm high. It is small enough to be placed on any flat surface or wall as needed.
The inbuilt DSL modem is rated for up to 300Mbits using ADSL2+ or VDSL, and the inclusion of a WAN socket should cope with cable modem connections up to 1Gbit. That link is distributed over WiFi or over a wired network via four 1Gbit Ethernet ports.
Two USB 3.0 ports allow the router to become a NAS distribution system if storage is attached, connect a USB printer to a network, or offer a 4G/5G failover solution using a mobile network services dongle.
It even supports ISDN for those few who are still using this primitive technology.
This is a general overview of what the 7590 AX offers, but there are some subtle enhancements to the telephone functionality.
Many router manufacturers, Netgear being a prime example, want customers to use a mobile application to configure the router for deployment. The downsides of this approach are that it assumes that the installation application is compatible with the customer’s phone or tablet and that the services it connects to are available on the Internet.
The FRITZ!Box approach relies less on specific mobile hardware and only requires that the machine be connected to Wi-Fi and then used to provide valid login information.
AVM kindly provides a curb card with the expected SSID, Wi-Fi password and admin access password to get you past these initial hurdles and into a web-based wizard that guides the owner through the install. .
An oddity is that the Wi-Fi password is twenty characters long, yet the password for admin access is only half as long. You can redefine them once inside the interface, but having such a long Wi-Fi password seems interesting.
The only issue we encountered was that some processes inevitably lead to router updates and reboots. When these reboots occur, the wizard stops working because the phone may be connected to another Wi-Fi service.
Once you realize what’s happened, it’s fairly easy to reconnect to the 7590 AX, but there’s some indication that this might happen.
In our specific tests, we dropped a Vodaphone cable router into the 7590 AX without issue, including cabling the internet, wired network and phone system.
That this router covers broadband connections, wired telephony and even acts as a DECT phone station makes it suitable for many scenarios. You can even use mobile phone applications that allow Wi-Fi connected mobile phones to answer landline calls.
And, if that wasn’t enough, it’s also a hub for smart devices.
Our only reservation about all these features is that if you don’t need them, you might be paying more than you need.
The complexity of this device and the flexibility of its Fritz!OS Linux-based operating system resonate well with users who want to get the most out of their devices. However, for non-technical users, it can be a bit overwhelming.
Wi-Fi performance on the 7590 AX is largely driven by a 4 x 4 radio, with four channels on each frequency providing a maximum throughput of 1733 + 800 Mbit/s, making it an AC2400 class design.
Making the most of this requires an AC client that can use multiple channels or enough devices to use the available bandwidth in the available spectrum.
The twist with any modern Wi-Fi network is that while 2.4GHz only has a bandwidth of 800 Mbit/s, the frequency penetrates walls better and therefore offers greater range. While 5GHz performance is much better due to the increased bandwidth, moving away from the router causes a dramatic drop in performance.
At short range, the 7590 AX is pretty typical of the performance you can get from an AC2400 router, but it’s more impressive when the client device is on the other side of the wall.
A room away and connecting to an air-block wall, the router is still close to 150Mbit/s on the 2.4GHz and 300Mbit/s on the 5GHz channel. That said, if the router is connected to a 100Mbit connection to the Internet, Wi-Fi connection performance above these numbers will not make it faster.
At close range, using an AC-capable Wi-Fi adapter, it’s possible to get close to 900Mbit/s, although this will only be for a local NAS box or server unless you have 1000Mbit or better internet.
Our test environment only has 100+ Mbit broadband, and it was possible to achieve all these speeds with a 5GHz channel when two walls and one floor away from the router.
Those wondering if a tri-band router can be any better should consider that the main advantage of tri-band is that the router is a gateway for MESH communication to other access points or more connected clients. Can use the unsolicited 5GHz channel. Client hardware is not typically designed to use three channels, and in this context, if it could, the bottleneck would be the 1GbE LAN ports.
To summarize performance, the 7950 AX isn’t the fastest Wi-Fi router we’ve ever tested, but in the AC2400 class, it’s a solid performer that delivers reliable numbers.
There’s a little ‘old school’ about the FRITZ!Box 7590 AX, but in a good way. It’s a solid solution that has all the technology that most home and small business users will appreciate.
However, for some users, this design lacks a certain amount of ambition, things that another AVM design, the FRITZ!Box 4060, includes 2.5GbE LAN and triple-band wireless networking.
In contrast, the FRITZ!Box 4060 model lacked the VDSL/ADSL2+ modem and analog phone port found in that design, but it would have been nice to see a LAN port and perhaps some other concurrent features make it into the 7590 AX.
For those who want telephone features but don’t need to connect as many Wi-Fi clients, the inexpensive FRITZ! The Box 7530 provides that option, and there’s always the older 7590 that can still be found if WiFi 6 isn’t a critical requirement. .
It’s nice to see router solutions that give the phone a higher priority and integrate multiple technologies into one package. This differentiates AVM products from mainstream brands.
The only real disappointment for this reviewer is that there is no UK-specific version, only an international model. With the correct cables supplied by AVM for this review, it will work with UK phones, and the power supply is easily swappable. More regionally specific solutions are always preferable, obviously.
The price is definitely higher, although once you factor in all the extra hardware, you might need to bring a cheaper 2400AC class router up to the 7590 AX specs, then it’s not excessive.
For those who simply want a solid AC2400 router, there are cheaper options, but they don’t come with all the telephone functionality or flexibility of the Fritz!Box 7590 AX.