Quick! What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Western Digital? If you're like most people, you immediately thought of hard drives and other storage products, which have been WD's bread and butter for several decades now. But the times, they are a changin', and in case you haven't noticed, Western Digital is no longer content to simply take residence in your PC. That became evident when Western Digital dove into the media player market with its WD TV line-up of set-top boxes, but why stop at owning the living room when you can lord over the entire manor? Unable to come up with a viable answer to that question, Western Digital decided to do just that by launching its very first line of wireless home networking products.
Western Digital sent us its WD My Net N900 HD dual-band wireless router to take for a spin. It's one of a half dozen new networking products and the company's flagship model, sans internal storage (for those who need or want integrated storage, there's the My Net N900 Central with 1TB or 2TB hard drives baked in). As you can discern from the model number, wireless performance tops out at 900Mbps, at least in marketing speak. In reality, you can't actually combine the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios into a super-connection of sorts, though each one does operate at up to 450 megabits per second (Mbps), or Wireless-N speeds.
The My Net N900 also features seven -- yes, SEVEN -- LAN ports and one WAN port, whereas most home consumer routers sport four LAN ports. But Western Digital's biggest bullet point is the router's FasTrack QoS Plus technology that's pre-programmed to recognize and prioritize streaming entertainment services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Skype, and other video, audio, and voice platforms. The idea is to deliver a steady high-definition stream no matter what else you might be doing on your home network, so even if little Billy decides to download a massive game demo, it won't interfere with your HD playback of Game of Thrones.
Does it work as advertised? We'll tell you that and much more on the following pages, but first, let's take a glance at the spec sheet.
|Western Digital My Net N900 HD Dual-Band Router
|Specifications & Features
||IE 802.11 a/b/g/n
||Simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz
|Dual-Band N 450Mbps + 450Mbps
|8 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet (7 LAN, 1 WAN)
||2 x USB 2.0
||WPA/WPA2; SPI Firewall; Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)
||Multiple amplified antennas
||1.2" (H) x 9.3" (D) x 6.1" (W)
The My Net N900 is baked with all the ingredients required for a high-end router, including dual-band radios that operate at up to 450Mbps. It's Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certified, supports IPv6, and boasts the latest WPA/WPA2 (Personal and Enterprise) security protocols. Outside of a handful of draft 802.11ac routers starting to emerge, the My Net N900 is one of the best equipped consumer routers currently available.
The My Net N900 doesn't come with internal storage like the My Net N900 Central, but it does support USB drive (and printer) sharing via its two USB 2.0 ports. Western Digital set the MSRP at $180 for this particular model. Other models and MSRPs break down as follows:
- My Net Switch: $70
- My Net N600: $80
- My Net N750: $120
- My Net N900 Central (1TB): $300
- My Net N900 Central (2TB): $350
At $180 MSRP, the My Net N900 is priced right on par with competing high-end routers.