First impression of the AVM Fritz! Card DSL: The modem has had its day
The supplied software
Beginners can simply use the two dial-up connections for ISDN set up by the setup and DSL called Fritz! Web DSL or Fritz! Web ISDN, here you are only asked once to enter your user data and from then on, dialing into the Internet goes automatically and by itself - as I said, this is certainly the most recommended way for beginners>
As a nice gimmick on the side, you can use this Fritz! Web software similar to the 'T-Online Speedmanager' to reduce the throughput of the Monitor internet connection. In the first beta versions of this software there were, funnily enough, problems in connection with games and professional graphics software, provided that graphics cards with Nvidia chips (TNT2, Geforce series, etc.) and more recent drivers were used - as soon as one started using the software products mentioned in Direct3D - or changed the OpenGL mode, an existing Internet connection broke down and could not be restored for the next five to ten minutes - the card lost the sync signal with the exchange and could usually only be revived by resetting the computer - a driver bug, which was fixed in the final version, so that no more problems of this kind occur here. Fritz! Web DSL is also multi-user capable, which means that the computer with the DSL card can be converted into a router and the internet connection can be made available to a house/company/family-internal network - very practical, I think, because you can use the Internet connectionDealing with sharing current Windows versions or corresponding routing software is not for everyone/a freak thing.
The supplied software package called Fritz! The current version 3.01 consists primarily of the following individual programs:
- Fritz! Fax - a fax software
- Fritz! Vox - an answering machine
- Fritz! Fon - a telephony software
- Fritz! Data - for data exchange via the ISDN line
- Fritz! Version - for checking the software package
- ISDNWatch - for monitoring of the ISDN channels
I will not go into the individual programs, as they are known from the well-known AVM ISDN cards and do not differ in any way from them.
The ISDN part of the card
In principle, the same applies to the ISDN part of the card - As already described at the beginning, this is a fully-fledged Fritz! card, only together with the DSL controller on a single plug-in card - if you already have an ISDN card in your computer, you can (and should) mothball it.
This is the only serious disadvantage that m e has noticed so far - you cannot use the ISDN part of the new card in addition to an existing ISDN card, you have to choose one of the two. However, it is of course possible to only use the DSL part and to shut down the ISDN area in order to avoid problems with active ISDN cards in a dial-in server, for example. The ISDN part masters all the usual and well-known features including ISDN channel bundling, uses Capi 2.0, is extension-compatible, uses Fast Internet over ISDN (a type of compression from AVM, among others) and is not blind to GSM/HSCSD. Both areas of the card are also installed as NDISWAN drivers during installation, so that you can use them directly without Fritz! Web to set up your own network andCan use dial-up connections.
What I do in the absence of the AVM-Ken! So far, unfortunately, we have not been able to test whether the ISDN part is also capable of multiple stations - being able to use Distributed CAPI would be unbeatably ingenious. If you are a bit more familiar with Windows and would rather build your own dial-up connection to the Internet than use Fritz! Web, you can also combine DSL and ISDN parts wonderfully and use ISDN as an automatic fallback, if the Internet connection via T-DSL should not work again. With the possibility of setting up a router so easily under Windows, the card is even interesting in the semi-professional area, i.e. also for medium-sized companies and not only for home users and student shared apartments.
The card and software have proven to be quite reliable and stable from the start, but the VLIW microprocessor used on the card is but quite warm - you put on an additional heat source in the computer.
While there were some serious bugs in the drivers at the beginning of the test phase, the drivers and software can now confidently be stable and mature for the official release describe. The excellent cooperation with the developers and programmers at AVM, who generally reacted very quickly and with motivation to bug reports, should be emphasized very positively. Sometimes I had a corrected driver in my mailbox just a few hours later after reporting a bug - a number of companies should learn more from this excellent communication between developers and testers/customers. The performance of the Internet connection is in no way inferior to the conventional DSL modem/network card method; In my experience, the CPU load is even slightly lower than with the method used so far.Downloads flow through the line at the maximum DSL speed, provided the remote station allows this. I got to know the Fritz! Software with the first ISDN cards from AVM and have always enjoyed using it - small, resource-saving and very useful tools that are completely sufficient for most purposes and make the purchase of expensive, megabyte-guzzling special software seem unnecessary.
In my opinion, AVM has once again successfully proven its reputation as a manufacturer of excellent TC hardware with this card - I have been using the product for months and I am completely satisfied and with the drivers of the retail version, the last bugs that occurred in the beta test have been fixed. In my opinion, it is an all-round recommendable product that has truly earned the top rating.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Carsten Albrecht again for providing this article.