Remarks on the AVM Fritz!WLAN Repeater N/G

At home we’ve always had a nasty problem: The wireless connection works fine just about anywhere but not where we need it — the room my mother’s computer resides in. Since this room is just about the only room in the entire house we can’t plug cables, wireless was the only option.

Now, after trying a few different things (changing antennas, adapters etc.) I’ve given her a repeater for Mother’s Day. Take this as a little review, if you must.

The product I bought is the AVM Fritz!WLAN Repeater N/G, which promises easy, secure and fast setup and use. The repeater goes for about 70 Euros at Amazon, so it’s definitively more expensive than just buying a second WRT54GL and use it to bridge wireless connections.

AVM’s Fritz! repeater is a rather bulky plug for a power outlet, according to the relatively sparse guide you have to place it somewhere between the access point and the client it should serve. Sure thing, plugged the thing in.

First boot took about 2 minutes, since you have to wait for the new wireless network “AVM Fritz!WLAN Repeater” to appear and connect to it. Everything after is a piece of cake: Select the access point you want to repeat, give the passwords etc. and you’re good to go.

By default the repeater makes the SSID it repeats it’s own (which is questionable, but at least configurable). If you want to assign a static IP to the repeater you’re in for a bad surprise: You can’t. At least not in the repeater itself, you have to create a static lease on your DHCP server.

Just to give you an idea of the connection:
Before implementing the repeater in our network, my Mum’s connection was mere 20-30%, losing contact to the AP every few minutes (whenever a car passed by, the wind blew or some poltergeist would feel annoyed). Now, the repeater itself has a nice connection of 60-80% to the AP and serves my Mum’s computer with a strength of 85-98% which is exactly what we were aiming for. Since it’s a B/G network, connection goes up and down from 48MBit/s to 54MBit/s and vice versa at random, there are no connection drops though.

There are some useless gimmicks in the repeater: You can use it as a shortwave radio transmitter to broadcast your local music collection to radios accross the network (something that only works with Windows). Haven’t used it, won’t use it. Instead of implementing stuff like that, AVM should polish the interface and give it some advanced options for people who have to manage networks a little bit more restrictively.

Nice touch: The repeater can go to sleep/wake up at given time periods, unfortunately only fixed times, there’s no support for scenarios like “go to sleep x minutes after there’s no client”. So, our repeater goes down 20:30 and wakes up 05:00.

Booting time after the initial setup is acceptable. Settings are remembered across power-on/-off. The performance boost the repeater gives our B/G network at home is definitively notable. But is the device worth 70 Euros?

Personally, I think it is not worth the money. You can get all features by simply buying another WRT54GL for ~40-50 Euros. AVM’s repeater does not have any outstanding features that would justify the price tag. Quite the opposite: The lack of fine-grained control over the repeater makes it a bad choice for people who really want to get the most out of their wireless connection. For people who just want to get stuff moving quickly, it may be the right choice, though.

About Tsukasa

The fool's herald.
This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Remarks on the AVM Fritz!WLAN Repeater N/G

  1. Ivan says:

    Hello, nice review.
    I have some question about . I bought yesterday the Fritz wlan repeater.
    I have a wrt610 and i can see the FRITZ WLAN SSID. now the question is : how can i change it? 🙂

    Thank Ivan

  2. Tsukasa says:

    Hey Ivan,
    I guess you want a basic rundown on how to set it up…

    – Disconnect from your previous WLAN, make sure you have set your interface preferences on your computer/laptop to DHCP.
    – Connect to the Fritz! WLAN Repeater N/G network
    – Open your browser and navigate to http://fritz.repeater
    – Follow the assistant, it’ll scan your network for SSIDs etc., be sure to set the right kind of authentication.
    – When the repeater is online (like in: Everything works) – which can take a while, first reboot of the device after setup takes a while – be sure you’re connected and everything works.
    – Navigate to the repeater again (http://fritz.repeater or the IP of the device)
    – In WLAN -> Radio settings you can change the SSID of the _repeater_ (i.e. to MYSSID_REPEATER)
    – That’s it 🙂

  3. Kevin says:

    Does anyone here understand how to link two repeaters? I am staying in Weimar, Germany and so far have not been able to use the second repeater. I got a great deal on them so no need to comment on the expenses. I just can’t find any information on AVM’s website that explains whether or not 2 repeater’s can be used as a compliment of each other.

  4. spaetzle42 says:

    It is theoretically possible to link two repeaters together. However, AVM does not offer support on how to go about it.

    Another possibility is so-called star topology. In this scenario, every repeater is connected directly with the WLAN access point.

  5. Tsukasa says:

    I’m sorry I couldn’t answer this question but here’s something to think about:

    If you bridge two WLAN devices the bandwidth of these will be cut in half. That means if you’re operating on a 802.11g base you will never reach 54MBit/s (which you won’t reach anyway, no matter what) but be stuck with about 25-27MBit/s in the most ideal case. If you’re unlucky you get even less than that, resulting in the fact that your WAN connection may be faster than your wireless connection altogether.

  6. 011 says:

    Need advice on Fritz repeater,
    my computer does not see it at all. Repeater is connected to socket; it blinks few times in bottom right corner; than displays “fritz”; than is showing circle with kind of “needle” that is rotating clockwise, ant htere are 2 dots in b ottom left corner; when pressing on them display changes but when stop to press it it goes back to circle with rotating needle.
    I go to wlan and can see only regular client, that i want to enable to work with repeater.
    Can someone explain it step by step procedure?
    THX in advance

  7. Pingback: VDSL-Hardware.de - DSL & VDSL Hardware + Tarife

  8. Amir says:

    Great to see a review on this product! Very helpful.
    Thanks!

  9. TJ says:

    I just bought the Fritz/WLAN repeater in Germany and to my surprise, there is no English Manual USER!!!!!
    Any one here can send me some info on how to install it please?
    thank you.
    TJ

  10. Tsukasa says:

    Heya TJ,

    setting it up is rather easy:
    – Disconnect your WLAN adapter and make sure DHCP is active for the adapter.
    – Plug in the Fritz! WLAN Repeater into a power outlet.
    – Let your WLAN adapter search for networks, it will find the Fritz! adapter.
    – Connect to it, open your browser and navigate to http://fritz.repeater
    – The default password is 0000 methinks, click your way through the wizard and you’re done.

  11. TJ says:

    Yo Tsukasa !
    being rather low in IT terminology can you please tell me what WLAN adapter and make sure DHCP means?
    do you have skype? it will be so good to talk…
    Thank you
    TJ

  12. Tsukasa says:

    Heya TJ,

    sorry, I don’t skype, but I’ll try to put in easy terms 🙂

    Just let me assume now that you’re one of the 95% of the World that is using Windows 🙂 .

    If you use XP:
    – Click start, Control Panel, Network Connections
    – Select your wireless connection (usually indicated by a set of green bars or an antenna symbol)
    – Right click, select Properties, select TCP/IP
    – Make sure you didn’t assign an IP address or DNS server manually (just make sure the radio boxes use the “automatic” settings)

    If you use Windows 7:
    – Click Start, Control Panel, in the search panel enter “adapter” and select “Show network connections”
    – Select your wireless connection (usually indicated by a set of green bars or an antenna symbol)
    – Right click, select Properties, select TCP/IP
    – Make sure you didn’t assign an IP address or DNS server manually (just make sure the radio boxes use the “automatic” settings)

    After that just search for wireless networks (right click on wireless connection, search for wireless networks) and connect to the Fritz one.

    After that just follow the instructions from the previous comment.

    Hope that helps you, feel free to talk back if there are any questions 🙂 .

  13. TJ says:

    Hey Tsukasa!
    I cannot thank you enough for this support and help.
    I AM USING VISTA (I KNOW IT IS NOT THE BEST !!!!).
    I HAVE COMPLETED THE STEP : assign an IP address or DNS server manually, radio boxes use the “automatic” settings)
    tHE ISSUE IS THAT THE WIRELESS NETWORK DO NOT SEE THE fRITZ oNE. I unplugged the Fritz from power, and plugged it again. it is still ticking(clock search!) and do not want to connect to my computer.
    Now, what do you think it needs to be next to the router, or it is ok as i am about 30meters away in the room whare i want to connect to internet?
    I am sure I am doing something wrong…. but what is it ????

  14. TJ says:

    Also, my computer is connected to the network (wifi of the hote).
    do I need to disconnect from it to be able to do the above steps, or it can stay connected to the net?

  15. Tsukasa says:

    Heya TJ,

    For testing purposes I suggest you plug-in the Fritz! repeater somewhere close to your laptop and have a look whether you can find the Fritz! network after that (give it 2-5 minutes). Depending on the WLAN adapter in your laptop you might need to disconnect from your previous network to see all networks in your vicinity.

    You DO need to disconnect from your previous network when you find the Fritz network, because in it’s initial/unconfigured state the repeater sports it’s own dhcp server so you can later access http://fritz.repeater to configure it.

    As long as you don’t see the repeater’s network you can’t access it and configure it to relay data from another wireless network, thus rendering the repeater useless.

    Note: I wrote the initial password for the Fritz network would be 00000 while it is 00000000 (8 times zero).

    I just looked it up in the manual and the “clock” thingy is actually supposed to be a radar, indicating the repeater is searching for WPS compatible devices/networks. If you’re somewhat annoyed by the icon you can also try to tip the repeat, thus accessing it’s OSD menu… but there’s nothing you can setup, the configuration is all web-based.

    Another thing to be all happy about: The web-interface is completely German without any chance of changing language to anything else. I’ll translate the dialogues for you and upload them as pictures later on, if you want me to 🙂 .

  16. TJ says:

    It is not my luck I think … not working unfortunatly …
    Question: is there a way to reset the repeate. The reason is after buying it, i plugged it in the hotel in germany and after a while, it showed an IP address in its screen. could that be a reason why it is not working now?

  17. TJ says:

    ….
    It is not my luck I think … not working unfortunatly …
    Question: is there a way to reset the repeate. The reason is after buying it, i plugged it in the hotel in germany and after a while, it showed an IP address in its screen. could that be a reason why it is not working now?

  18. Tsukasa says:

    Don’t know about that, depending on the regulations in your country it may be possible that your WLAN adapter is using a different frequency-band than the German repeater. If you got not only a connection Hotel -> repeater but also Hotel -> repeater -> your laptop you can file this idea under “nonsense”, otherwise it may serve as an explanation. But try to reset it first (good thought!):

    You can reset the repeater through it’s OSD menu:
    Tip the left lower edge of the screen with your finger, repeat that until you see an icon that looks like a round arrow (sort of like a browser “reload” icon) with the letter “R” on the right side of it.

    Tip the middle of the screen and tip again when the check-mark icon pops up. The repeater should be reset now.

  19. RedFam says:

    Is this repeater compatible with Vista? I have followed your directions and I am fine up to the part where you said to enter http://fritz.repeater into my web browser. I get nothing. I can’t seem to access and configure the repeater. What am I missing?

  20. Tsukasa says:

    Yes, RedFam, it is compatible with just about any operating system 🙂 .

    If you have trouble navigating to the web interface, you can try this: Since the repeater acts as a DHCP and DNS server when unconfigured, it will send it’s own IP when you connect to it and receive an address.

    You can try accessing the repeater by that address directly (thus skipping the hostname), the protocol is definitively http and not https 🙂 .

  21. TJ says:

    You are not going to beleive me, but i am still struggling with it … i still try all possible means… i will not let it go .. it must work !!!!
    🙁

  22. David says:

    Bought one, device is shit.

    Tried it at a friend’s place, worked for 1 hour.
    Then took it to my own appartement, what a surprise when I understood that it could not be reconfigured for another network!

    It keep displaying a running clock and there’s nothing I can do.

    I don’t see in the list of Wifi network around me.

    Thanks to your poste (and not to the manual that does not exist), I saw that there’s a menu behind the LCD screen, when touching it.

    Found the reset option (the one that looks like a Reload button) but pressing the middle of the screen does… nothing. It does not react.

    I think the device is much too young and not ready for public release, it was a mistake to buy it so early.

  23. Tsukasa says:

    Well, you can in fact reconfigure the device but you have to reset it first; you plug it in, tip the down-left corner of the device and choose the circled arrow.

    The user interface – especially on the device itself – is quite enigmatic and far from intuitive.

    I agree that some work would’ve been nice but there have been substantial upgrades to the firmware already (compared to the time when it was released fresh in the wild) so there’s some hope. 🙂

  24. Mattias says:

    Hi,

    I am trying to connect my Fritz wlan repeater and can see your explanation above, but cant make it work. Can you please describe in more details how you did (even if it was a long time ago)?

    Thanks

  25. lotke says:

    Hello
    I’m very satisfied with this repeater 🙂
    I’ve also found english manual for it, recently uploaded ftp://ftp.avm.de/fritz.box/fritz.wlan_repeater_ng/firmware/english/
    Also, they added english firware too, but i’m trying now upload it to german repeater, so far no luck

    Chhers

  26. Henrik says:

    Hi

    Im also struggeling with the repeater.

    I have configuerd it in my house with one of my laptops (VISTA). Then when i take the repeater out in my garage where its going to be, i plug it in and it finds the W-lan with good strength.

    Then when i start the computer i have in the garage (XP) it finds the W-lan connection ( the ss:id in the house is found with good strength, not the fritz!wlan connection) but when i try to connect with the W-lan i get problems.

    The connetion works but it says that its limited or no connetion, and when i try to repair it it can`t renew the IP ??? Same if i take my other laptop(XP) out in the garage and try.

    Thanks

    Henrik

  27. Laoan says:

    Jag kan inte se fritz repeatern när jag ska söka efter den i min wlan! Konstigt att det ska vara så här svårt..

  28. IJoerg says:

    A very nice feature of the repeater is the ability to function as soundcard. It has analog as well as optical output. I have a lot of music in lossless quality on my laptop, which I stream directly wireless to my Hifi amplifier this way..

  29. Laoan says:

    I hade same problem, I couldn’t find the fritz reapeater on wlan. But I tried later same day and it suddenly work! When I plugg in the repeater the repeater started to search like always then suddenly it swichted to reset and I just pressed the middle of the screen and after reseting it rebooted then a round circle came and I knew someting “changed” And I run the wizard from her: http://www.avm.de/en/Extern/fritzwlan_repeater_ng/fritzwlan_repeater_ng.html and then everthing work perfect.

  30. Al Gonzo says:

    My problem is I can’t connect. My PC see the repeater, but when I connect it ask for a security key, but I am connecting to an open unsecure wlan. Some help on this please.

    Al

  31. Sadat says:

    I bought two Fritz/WLAN repeater but i cant configure them because the language is in Germany. Please anyone to assist me on how to change the language to English. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.