Review: FRITZ! Mesh Set – Certainly if you live in a whole house, you can be sure that you will not be able to realize WiFi equally well with just a central router. And even in a flat, things often go wrong thanks to thick reinforced concrete walls. A Mesh router with accompanying helpers offers a solution. AVM has a nice FRITZ! Mesh Set developed.
FRITZ! Mesh Set
You used to have wifi repeaters. Those things were a pain in the ass to install and the results weren’t always something to write home about. What those devices actually did was pick up the WiFi signal and broadcast it again – under a different network name, for example. Much nicer work modern Mesh repeaters combined with a Mesh-capable router. In FRITZ! Mesh Set you will find a Mesh-capable router (the FRITZ! Box 7530) and a Mesh repeater in the form of the FRITZ! Repeater 1200. Both are WiFi ac-capable and thus provide a super-fast wireless network. The router can be connected to, for example, a fiber optic or cable modem or the existing router of your provider. If you live in a rural area and depend on ADSL, then there is also good news: the 7530 has a built-in DSL / VDSL modem with a maximum speed of 300 Mbps. But you are not obliged to use that part. We are going to get started with an existing router, behind which we connect the 7530. From that moment on, the 7530 will be our main router, the often (unfortunately still almost mandatory) provider router then only functions as a conduit for the internet connection.
Behind the provider router or modem
If you are using the FRITZ! Box 7530 behind an existing provider router or modem, connect a LAN port on the existing device to one of the LAN ports on the FRITZ! Box using a network cable. Disconnect the power adapter and switch on the FRITZ! Box. After a while, the WLAN LED lights up and the Power / DSL LED flashes. Connect your computer, tablet or smartphone to the wireless network with the SSID (network name) FRITZ! Box 7530 ZX. The default factory password can be found on a sticker at the bottom of the router, it is the long number. Once paired, start a browser and go to http://fritz.box.
See if any updates are available
Choose your country and log in to the user interface; the factory default password is also on the aforementioned sticker at the bottom. Go through the wizard with installation questions. Somewhere in between, it may restart. In this example, at the Set up Internet access step, we choose a router behind a modem / router from the provider, as promised. To do this, select the option Existing access via LAN behind Internet provider. Plug a network cable into LAN 1 – if you haven’t already done so – and click Next. Also click OK in the inspector. You are now in the main menu of your FRITZ! Box. To get started, we will check if there is any new firmware available, click on the link behind FRITZ! OS at the top right. If there’s anything new, you can download and install it now. After the update, we will have access to WPA3, a solid security method for wireless connections.
Select the option Existing access via LAN here if you connect your router behind your provider router.
The FRITZ! Repeater 1200
We’ll stick to the basic settings for now. As always, it is wise to change your router’s administrator password, as well as the network name (SSID) and associated password. All is possible, but is not interesting for now. Let’s move on to another device that we included in the FRITZ! Mesh Set: the FRITZ! Repeater 1200. You can use this small square box with integrated mains plug to make your wireless network available in a room with hardly any or no WiFi signal. In that case, you plug in an ethernet cable (which must of course be available) connected to your router. Or you place 1200s at strategic places in the house (often you can go a long way with one!) To pick up and re-beam the WiFi signal that is still available there. In essence, you increase the reach. If you choose the wireless method, you only have to plug the 1200 into a socket. To get started – and avoid running back and forth – it’s helpful to choose an outlet very close to your router. Wait for the LED on the 1200 to flash slowly. Then press the Connect / WPS button on the FRITZ! Box. Then press the red WPS button on the FRITZ! Repeater 1200 within two minutes. The LED starts flashing quickly (again) and a light show also starts briefly on your FRITZ! Box. Ready!
Unplug the FRITZ! Repeater 1200 from the socket and plug it into a socket halfway between the FRITZ! Box and devices that you want to connect via WiFi. There, too, the WiFi signal is now available at full strength without further complicated configuration hassle. The WiFi network also has the same name and the same login details everywhere in the house. That is the great strength of Mesh: once you have set it up, you no longer have to worry about it and for all your devices connected to the WiFi network it does not matter to which router or repeater they actually connect. Ideal, and a set with both devices at the same time is a great starting point. And if one FRITZ! Repeater 1200 turns out not to be enough to provide your entire house or, if necessary, office space with WiFi, you can easily buy as many additional 1200s as you want. Configuring the newbies works exactly the same again.
Optimal result: FRITZ! With FRITZ!
The FRITZ! Repeater 1200 has been specially developed for use with a FRITZ! router. Only then can you enjoy the quick setup with a few button presses. At the same time, the 1200 can also work with other Mesh-capable routers from other brands. The installation / pairing procedure may then be more complicated. You should in any case read through the manual or help file of your own router thoroughly.
Free choice of modem or router
2021 will be the year of freedom. On the one hand, we hope to be free from lockdowns and other misery. And when it comes to getting rid of lockdowns, that – finally – also applies to your router or modem choice. Until now, most providers require you to use the router or modem supplied by that provider. Often these are largely boarded-up copies which, moreover, do not always have the latest state of the art. It regularly creates a router buttons behind a router. From a management point of view, a far from ideal solution. Also environmentally unfriendly because there is actually an unnecessary energy consumer on day and night. Needless, because most router and modem manufacturers offer equipment that is perfectly capable of replacing and usually surpassing the provider stuff.
FRITZ! Mesh Set – Conclusion
FRITZ! Mesh Set is a very handy set with which you can realize fast wireless internet through a large part of your house (and probably your entire flat) in an instant. Even without complicated thinking, if you don’t want to. And for anyone who wants more, there is more than enough to fine-tune and tweak the devices in the FRITZ! Mesh Set. Recommended if your old router is so slowly due for replacement. Or simply, if you want many more options than what your provider router (or modem) has to offer.
Positives of FRITZ! Mesh Set
- All-in-one set with seamlessly interacting parts
- Router offers many additional options
- Operating system gets regular updates
- Fresh design
Negatives of FRITZ! Mesh Set
- Built-in ADSL / VDSL modem less interesting for the Dutch