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AVM FritzOS 6.90: Mesh WLAN comes gradually into old as new Fritzboxen

Friday, September 8th, 2017 | Gadgets

AVM takes care of its existing customers. This is demonstrated by the software upgrading of mesh functions, which saves a lot of money compared to the current mesh WLAN systems. At IFA 2017, AVM told us that version 6.90 was only a beginning. First, the DSL boxes are supplied, including the four-year-old Fritzbox 7490.

In general AVM wants to enable the mesh WLAN on all largely current Fritzboxen. The first step was made with the recently released FritzOS 6.90. The Fritz boxes 7580 and 7560 and the repeaters or powerline adapters 1750E, 1160, 310, 450E and 1240E, 540E and 546E belong to the first mesh WLAN wave. Boxes 7590 and 7490 are expected to be next.
Mesh-WLAN also for cable boxes
This also applies to the LTE or cablemodem models, which are not available. In the distribution is to be largely no problems with Fritzboxen, which have been provided by the Provider. Most are freely updatable and in versions that remain under provider control, AVM recommends the provider to release the firmware as well. So the chances are good. Until all Fritzboxen Mesh WLAN can, but it can still last. The last devices will be able to master mesh WLAN in the first quarter of 2018. The first wave will be provided in the next weeks with a FritzOS update.

AVM also promises that the technically-versed user will find pleasure in the solution. The user should see which device is located in the mesh, and the connection quality between the nodes is displayed. AVM even mentions details of client roaming standards. 802.11k and v are sometimes used to control the clients. The company is also looking at 802.11r. Like other mesh WLAN manufacturers, AVM tries to move the clients between the access points and push them to the ideal tapes. AP Steering is currently being considered. This is a capability that mainly have professional WLAN controllers, but quite well some mesh WLAN systems. This is especially practical in companies or at events. These are not necessarily typical applications of Fritzboxen.
In addition, the use of several Fritzboxen will be possible. AVM recommends, only the more powerful Fritz box as a mesh master to define, which then in any case generally the Internet access offers. This is not compelling. For large mesh networks it is also practical that AVM wants to display the connection quality between the individual nodes.
There are restrictions
AVM has also admitted openly at the Ifa that the system has a few weaknesses. The mesh WLAN is built as a star, but it is quite over several levels. The self-healing capabilities of many mesh systems are missing. At least they do not work immediately, but there is a 20-minute timeout before a new connection is established. In addition, AVM's solution has a certain bandwidth disadvantage. Many mesh WLAN systems work with three spark units. One is used for the backhaul channel. The comparatively old AVM material does not offer the course yet. Until a few years ago, Tri-Radio access points were reserved for professional equipment. AVM, on the other hand, looks at what the client is doing and operates so-called intelligent cross-band repeating for the connection between the nodes and, if necessary, controls the clients on a tape that is suitable.
The whole thing has a certain complexity. And according to AVM, modern clients work better, especially if the clients already support 802.11k / v. AVM also admitted that it is difficult for the customer to find out whether a smartphone or notebook supports the standards. This also applies to other mesh WLAN functions.
Since there is a master, AVM's solution is not necessarily comparable to Qualcomm's popular mesh platform. At Qualcomm everyone is equally entitled. AVM, on the other hand, leaves the control system behind a central device. This is more like the WLAN controller concept. AVM plays, for example, the software updates of the individual nodes via the master, which then should not fail. The individual nodes themselves can not take over, but they are cheap and a new acquisition does not need it, because AVM maintains its old devices.

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