AVM Fritz!Box 7490 review

AVM FRITZ!Box 7490Three years ago, I got the AVM Fritz!Box 7390, which has been serving me well over the time. However, with Proximus announcing the deployment of VDSL2 vectoring this year, my trusted Fritz!Box would not be accepted by the incumbent and network operator, despite its proven VDSL2 vectoring compatibility. I was left with the perspective to place one of Proximus’ BBoxes in front of my Fritz!Box. That would have meant two devices for one Internet connection. An ergonomic and ecological nonsense.

Not so anymore. Enter the Fritz!Box 7490. AVM is the first CPE manufacturer that went through the tough process of getting some its devices certified for Proximus’ VDSL2 network. The 7490 is one. The others being the 7360 and the 3490. Whether Proximus’ certification process is justified or not is another debate. Suffice to say that only certified devices are assigned a VDSL2 connection on Proximus’ network. Non-certified ones are downgraded to a low ADSL speed.

If you have been using Fritz!Boxes in the past, this one will look very familiar, both for its external design and its web interface. Hence, rather than restating the obvious you read elsewhere, let’s have a look at what is different.

VDSL2 Vectoring compliance

Up to now, the only certified VDSL2-vectoring friendly or capable modems in Belgium were Proximus’ own BBox-2 and BBox-3 in various incarnations, and their Sagem clones. All seem to have a rather buggy firmware at this time, in addition to being clearly tailored to Proximus’ marketing needs.

As mentioned above, AVM now has two devices certified by Proximus, this one being one of them. This is one of the major reason to buy this device if you do not want to use Proximus’ Trabants and would rather settle for a BMW.

The first time you turn the 7490 on, the setup wizard will ask you which country you are living in and adjust itself to the specificies of the country. The relevant firmware version is downloaded later in the setup process. In the case of Belgium, there is no possibility to upgrade the firmware to a new generic (or beta) version without losing Proximus-compliance. This is rather unfortunate, and especially worrisome in case there would be a major security bug that needs to be fixed rapidly. This is due to Proximus’ lengthy process for certifying new versions. (Note that Proximus’ own BBoxes get updated several times a year.Talk about field level playing)

Other features

In addition to the features already present in the older 7390, some additional ones are worth noting. The 7490 supports Wireless AC with up to 450 Mbit/s in the 2.4 Ghz band and even 1300 Mbit/s in the 5 Ghz band. The latter may come in handy if you live in an area with a lot of (mostly 2.4 Ghz) WIFI networks.

The 7490 also boasts more flash memory for its internal usage than its predecessor. This allows AVM to add additional features to the box with sacrificing others. For example, the latest iteration of the 7390 firmware removed the support for the SMB sharing due to the shortage of flash memory.  No more so with the 7490. AVM has a long tradition to continuously improve its firmware. Do expect new features to be added in the future, firmware certification permitting. See, for example, what is currently being tested in the Beta version.

With all the possibilities of the Fritz!Box 7490 regarding Internet, telephony and home networking, it is hard to think of a missing feature. Nothing being perfect in this world, one such missing feature for the Belgian market would be the so-called “full routing mode”. Right now, the Fritz!Boxes only offer the IPTV signal on two dedicated wired Ethernet connections. It would be helpful to have the IPTV signal available on all connections, including WIFI. According to AVM, this feature is already deployed in other markets, like Luxembourg. However, the relevant information for Belgium is not being provided to them. This is competition, the  Proximus way.

In usage

As can be expected from AVM, the modem is stable. My previous 7390 never required a reboot, except for firmware upgrades. After using the 7490 for a few days, I am confident it will perform flawlessly also. The Fritz!Box has a nice function which allows one to import the settings of another Fritz!Box. This worked nicely. In my case though, the settings related to IPv6 were not recovered (with the 6.04 stock firmware at least). According to AVM, this should be fixed in future versions of the firmware. I also needed to re-register my DECT phones, which makes sense since they were still expecting the former Fritz!Box.

My Internet connection not being upgraded to VDSL vectoring, I could not test its performance in this context. I will update my post if and when it finally happens (Proximus does not currently vectorise the 8d profiles). Regarding the performance in plain VDSL context, I did not notice any change compared to my previous 7390. This was expected.  VDSL performance is mainly dependent on elements outside the device manufacturer’s control: PSTN line length, copper quality, telco policies, etc.
Update 5 Aug 2014:   Proximus has now activated VDSL vectoring in my area. It did not change anything for me, as I am too far from the street cabinet. However, I was not downgraded, which demonstrates that the Fritz!Box is indeed certified by Proximus.

All in all, this Fritz!Box 7490 is worth every Euro. Surely, it may look more expensive that the average ISP-provided modem, but they don’t play in the same league. If you were to add the cost of a basic modem, a good home router, a DECT station and an IP-based PBX, the Fritz!Box is actually cheaper than all those components bought separately, and consumes less electrical power. So, do our planet a favour and prefer an integrated box, with a consistent interface.

Leave a comment ?

25 Comments.

  1. Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge about using a Fritz!Box with Belgacom.

    To get rid of the b-box 2 I’ve bought a F!B 3490 international to use it with Proximus in Brussels. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to connect to the internet and was hoping you or some site visitors could help me.

    As I’ve no clue what the reason could be I’ll describe what I’ve done so far:

    – Connected the F!B 3490 international with the Proximus wall outlet. Noticed that the AVM cable uses only two pins while the b-box 2 cable uses all four.

    – Used the wizard to set up the F!B (version 6.20). As far as I remember I filled in following: Belgium, Belgacom, Annex A, username and password.

    – Above didn’t work so I double checked the username and password in the b-box settings. Realised that it’s now fdxxxxx@PROXIMUS instead of SKYNET. Also changed the standard password {[(+-)]} on MyProximus to make sure I’m using the right password.

    – Still no internet connection :(

    Hopefully I covered everything relevant to narrow down the cause. Thanks in advance!

    Bastian

    • Patrick Vande Walle

      Please verify that you selected annex B for the connection. Proximus VDSL uses Annex B (weird as it is). If you used the setup wizard it should have selected Annex B automatically.

      AVM usually has a special firmware version for Belgium, different from the plain international firmware. Oddly, I could not locate it on the AVM FTP site for the 3490. In any case, the Fritz should automatically download it the first time it connects to the Internet.

      FWIW, in PSTN connections, only the two middle pins of the RJ11 connector are actually used. This is also the case for the BBox-2, even if it has the four pins wired.

  2. Proximus migrated me to the new VDSL and I had to move from the mighty 7390 to the new 7490! all nice and good, but for few weeks now, my connection is sometimes lost several times within minutes! For ex. yesterday I’ve got 20 re-connections within 10 minutes !!!
    I changed the line settings to max stability without any result. I had the Proximus technician come over and change the line card in the local POS. The same day I’ve lost connectivity several times. I don’t relay see a pattern or a obvious trigger to the sync loss. Just as I write I had +10 re-connections within 15 minutes. I can’t even send an email or post this message ! Thsi drives me insane !
    Anyone had the same issues with the 7940 on Belgacom / Proximus ? Any idea how to get a proper root cause of this problem ? Since I’m not using the “tinbox” support is kind of … helpless and in exchange for some on site support the technician was ready to replace the 7490 with … a tinbox …!

  3. Good day F!B fans!
    I’ve got my 7490 int yesterday and removed the combo bbox2 + 7390. recovered settings from 7390 and set up on Belgacom ok. Sync at 40/10.
    within 30 minutes almost everything was back to normal. If at the beginning of the setup I had no problems connecting in 5Ghz wifi using my laptop and my Galaxy S4 now I can’t get any device to connect to the 5Ghz wifi.
    The same laptop / android worked ok on 7390 and for a bit on 7490.
    On 2.4 Ghz no problem. I can see the 5GHZ broadcasting, I use the WPA2 and the associated key for both 2.4 and 5 Ghz. Guest wifi ok.

    I changed the SSID of both 2.4 and 5 Ghz. I re-booted the router and the devices after the change …without success.

    I could connect my phone for 1 min after I changed again the SSID, but after 2 min it dropped the connection and it did not reconnect in 5 Ghz but only in 2.4Ghz. I did not make any changes on the client side (laptop / android phone)

    I tried several wifi channels and security combinations without success !? I had a look to the driver settings and I tested again OK the 5Ghz with the 7390..

    Any ideas or similar behaviour ?

    maybe random or just coincidence but the router also rebooted exactly 1 min after I initiated a VoIp call…

  4. Hi,
    I just got a 7490, and am unable to get iptv to work. Line speeds are 70/10, so vectoring is working, but the belgacom tv box always gives a “problème de reseau”. WHat should I do, is there a specific config or lan port on the fritz I must use?

    • I had the same problem: putting the cable in LAN3 fixed the issue.
      Normally i thought LAN 3 en 4 had BGC-TV

  5. Hi Patrick,

    I see you mention Belgacom not being very collaborative with AVM. I am wondering if this is the reason for the problem I am experiencing.

    I have noticed that while Belgacom TV works well for SD channels, HD channels do not appear on my TV. I call Belgacom and they answer me that the only way to have HD is to use BBox3 due to HD not being compatible with my line (VSDL2) and the Fritzbox firmware.

    Are you aware of any such problem?

    By the way my Fritzbox is a 7490 model with a label which reads “Approuve pour VDSL Belgacom”.

    Thanks!

    • Patrick Vande Walle

      I can see several reasons why you do not get HD.
      One is that your Fritz Box is not running the certified firmware for Belgium. It that case, Proximus sets your line speed to slow ADSL. Check you are indeed using version 6.06 (top right corner of the modem main page) and have selected Belgium as the country (System/region and Language).
      Another reason might be a slow DSL line. What is the current speed of your line ?
      A third reason might be a slow link between the Fritz and the Belgacom TV decoder. Are you using some sort of WIFI bridge or PLC (aka Devolo) ? In which case, try a direct cable connection to the modem.

      • The speed of my line reported by Fritzbox is 7558 downstream and 575 upstream. It was good enough for HD TV in the past when I was using my BBox.

        I have the TV decoder directly connected to the Fritzbox by UTP on port ETH3 so that should be fine I guess.

        I upgraded the firmware to version 06.06 when I noticed the problem but it didn’t help and I have Belgium set as the region… Any other config setting which might help?

  6. Using Proximus in Wallonie, usually get 50/6 profile on the older Ikanos exchange, (hopefully will eventually get 70/6). Was using 7390 on OS6.20 but upgraded to 7490 Intl (which seems to be restricted to OS6.06 in Belgian version (http://userbase.be/forum/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=41528&sid=2f2d39cea1983041e0dd1d35785f3bbd&start=160#p576287)) as was getting constant connection issues. Now it seems Belgacom/Proximus has reset the vectoring profile to 30/6. Any idea how to get the old profile back?

    Best,

    Antoine

    • Patrick Vande Walle

      When the Proximus infrastructure detects a new equipment, it resets the line to the default values. You will have to wait until the DLM (Dynamic Line Management) does its job to upgrade your line values. This is an automatic process, not controlled by the Proximus staff. Hence, no need to call them. You could speed it up a bit by calling 0800/22424. This will launch a line test, based on which the DLM will adjust your speed. A full explanation can be found here.
      NB: Please do not use fake e-mail addresses when posting a comment to my blog. It prevents you from receiving a notification for a reply. Your address will not be used for any other purpose than to reply to comments. Trust me.

  7. FRITZ!Box Fon WLAN 7390 not working anymore with Scarlet since 24/09.

    Need to place Sagem modem before it…

  8. At present I have a bbox2 + “Bizz IP Box” and an ISDN connection converted to ISDNoIP. I also have a small/old ISDN based PBX enabling me to have 2 telephone calls at the same time. Behind the bbox2 (in the DMZ of the bbox2) I have my own router/firewall that I can fully control.
    Can I replace all this with the 7490 (in the manual – http://en.avm.de/fileadmin/user_upload/EN/Manuals/FRITZ_Box/Manual_FRITZ_Box_7490_en.pdf – it is not clear what DSL connection to be used, on page 22 “Connecting to the IP-based DSL or VDSL line” but this seems to imply that there is no telephone function via this connection”) and still use the telephone functions of the Fritz Box (and still have two concurrent telephone calls)? What about Belgacom TV (on the bbox2, internet and TV are two different VLANs hence the TV signals does not pass via my router).
    Many thanks in advance for whatever advice you can give me.

  9. Hello,

    I just in front of me the Fritz!Box 7490 International edition but the DSL connection is not recognized (but the connection DSL is working correctly with my old Bbox2). Do you have tip’s for me ?

    Thanks,
    Caroline

    • Patrick Vande Walle

      Did you select Belgium and Belgacom during the initial setup phase ?
      You also need to mention your username and password during the setup (this is automatic with a BBox).

      • Yes, I did it, and I used my fbxxxxx@SKYNET login.

        • Patrick Vande Walle

          What are the error messages you get ? See under System/Event log.
          Are you absolutely sure the password is right ? In case of doubt, you can reset it through the Belgacom E-Services.

          • Hello, I receive this error message : “La vérification de la connexion Internet a échoué. La connexion DSL est perturbée. Vérifiez si le câble DSL est correctement raccordé.”
            I checked the cable, I create a new one to buy by pass the adaptor between RJ45 and RJ11. (I tested the new cable on bbox2, no problem/nor for the adaptor).

            Any idea ?
            Thanks,
            Caroline

            • Patrick Vande Walle

              Caroline,
              Did you use the Y-shaped cable provided with the Fritz Box ? Its pinout is non-standard. Verify that the your DSL line is connected on the DSL plug of the Y cable. Otherwise the signal might not reach the box at all.

          • Hi Patrick,

            After a lot of try/error and the replacement of the fritzbox on the advice of the AVM support, we finally received a new fritzbox this morning.

            Same issue with “DSL line instable”. :sad: New visit on several forums and I found a trivial information about the firebox 7390 : check the DSL configuration on the modem. For ADSL line the selected annex must be the annex A.

            I try this configuration (Internet > Informations DSL > Paramètres de performances >Configuration de l’annexe > Annexe A) and the fritzbox is now correctly connected to internet !!! 😛

            Thanks for your time.
            Best regards,
            Caroline

  10. Dear Patrick,

    I want you to advertise :). I have seen so many different prices I would like to know if you have found a good opportunity or did you pay the 280-320 EUR price-tag, which is what I normally find in the stores that actually have the international version available here in Belgium.

    As the box is not for me but for my friend I need to buy it in the near future.

    Well thank you for all your advice and keep the reviews coming.Maybe the WIFI extender from fritz or the powerline? I might need one hehe.

    Have a good weekend. :)

  11. Hi Patrick,

    Wonderful,I knew you would buy the new Fritzbox 7490 probably even before you :). Remember my previous posts?

    Could you tell me where you have bought it as I am currently looking for a new box for a friend?

    By the way my Fritzbox 7390 is still working great with Scarlet 70Mbts/6Mbts sync and no issues whatsoever. I was expecting that my line would get downgraded but so far everything is perfect, lets hope it stays like that.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Best regards,

    Johev

    • Patrick Vande Walle

      I hate to advertise any particular retailer. Prices vary so much from one day to another. Google’s your friend, really. Be sure you order the international version (EAN 4023125026478).

      You can check if the ROP on which you are connected has been upgraded to vectoring on the DSL status page of the box. If you see the chipset in the ROP is Ikanos, then you are still safe for the time being with your 7390.

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