AVM FritzWLAN Repeater NG – competition to the Apple Airport Express

Product Page

AVM FritzWLAN Repeater NG – manufacturer’s page (German language)

My comments

This gadget had intrigued me not just because it was a WDS-compliant Wi-Fi network repeater for all of the Wi-Fi networks but was a DLNA-compliant media player without a control surface.

It plugs in to an AC outlet in a similar manner to a HomePlug wireless access point like a Netcomm NP290W, Solwise ‘85PEW or Devolo dLAN Wireless unit. But this connection only exists to power the unit and, at the moment, is available only to fit the Continental-European power outlet.

The main strength in my opinion is its prowess as a network music player for the DLNA Home Media Network. It can be controlled by Windows Media Player 12, recent Nokia phones, TwonkyMedia Manager, an iPhone running PlugPlayer; and other UPnP AV Control Points or through its Web user interface. That same Web user interface can be used to select between six different Internet-radio streams of your choice but you would have to know the URLs of these streams.

You can connect it directly to a music system via its line input or digital input or enable a built-in “flea-power” FM transmitter to have it play through an FM radio tuned to a frequency that you nominate through the Web interface.

The closest competition to this device would be the Apple Airport Express which works as a USB print server, wireless-only router or network music player that only works with iTunes.

What I would like to see for this device would be to have it able to work beyond Continental Europe i.e. available with plugs to suit North America, UK, Australia and other markets. If extra value were to be applied to this device. It could also be improved with HomePlug AV and Ethernet connectivity in a similar manner to the aforementioned HomePlug wireless access points and work properly in an extended service set with client roaming to latest specifications.

The Internet-radio functionality could be improved by having the FritzWLAN Repeater work with an established Internet-radio directory like vTuner, Reciva or RadioTime to select the radio streams. This could then be taken further with access to the user favourites functions that the directories have.

The main take from this is that AVM have pushed the boundaries by adding a standards-based media player to a Wi-Fi network repeater instead of following the crowd.

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