WD My Net N900 HD Dual-Band Router Review

Article Index

Wireless Performance

Everyone's setup is different, and with that in mind, we set out to test the My Net N900 in a variety of situations from 5 feet away from the router on up to 100 feet away and separated by several walls. We tested both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at each interval using iPerf/JPerf and compared the results with that of Netgear's WNDR4500 (N900), currently the fastest router we've ever benchmarked.

Our test client consists of an Asus G73Jh-A1 laptop (Intel Core i7 720QM processor, 8GB RAM, Mobility Radeon HD 5870) with an upgraded Wi-Fi adapter (Intel Centrino Advanced-N 622ANHMW) running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit w/ SP1.

Wireless Performance
5 Feet From Router; No Walls

Our first test consisted of placing our client notebook in the same room as the My Net N900 from about 5 feet away. Compared to Netgear's WNDR4500 (N900), the My Net N900 lagged behind, especially on the 2.4GHz band where Netgear's device was almost twice as fast.

Wireless Performance
15 Feet From Router; Separated by Two Walls

In our second test, we moved our client system to another room located about 15 feet from the router and separated by a pair of walls and some cabinets. In doing so, performance on the 2.4GHz band leveled out between the My Net N900 and WNDR4500, though Western Digital's offering again trailed behind on the 5GHz band by around the same margin as before.

Wireless Performance
50 Feet From Router; Outside the House

For our third test, we lugged our laptop outside the house and tested the connection from about 50 feet away from the router. This adds more open space to the router's signal, as well as a few more obstacles to navigate through or around. In doing so, the My Net N900 put up respectable numbers, but once again was unable to keep up with Netgear's router.

Wireless Performance
100 Feet From Router; Outside the House

Our final bandwidth test consisted of trekking across the yard about 100 feet from the router. Western Digital's My Net N900 posted 17.7Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio, and struggled to find a connection on the 5GHz band. The 5GHz band doesn't do as well when there are multiple obstacles to charge through, but even so, the comparison benchmarks show that Western Digital's amplifiers and antenna array are clearly outclassed by whichever ones Netgear is using.

Wireless Summary

Compared to Netgear's WNDR4500 (N900), Western Digital's My Net N900 leaves a bit to be desired in the signal strength department. On its own merits, the My Net N900 is a strong performer and is able to top 100Mbps in real world performance in some instances. It's just not a strong enough performer to unseat the current champ. For most users, that won't matter much, though it's something to consider if you happen to live in a sprawling mansion or plan to mozy about too far outside your home.

As far as real world testing goes, we connected each router with Speedtest.net to see how they would handle our broadband connection. Here's how it broke down:
  • Western Digital My Net N900: 36.55Mbps download, 3.14Mbps upload
  • Netgear WNDR4500 (N900): 38.96Mpbs download, 3.11Mbps upload

Both were benchmarked within minutes of each other and from a distance of about 20 feet of the router, separated by a corner wall.

Wireless Performance -- File Transfers
LAN Speed Test

We used TotuSoft's Lan Speed Test v2.0 to test the performance of reading and writing files over Wi-Fi to a USB connected Iomega Store 'n' Go hard drive. On the 2.4GHz channel, transfers held steady at around 20.5Mbps (write) and 33.75Mbps (read).

In the same test, Netgear's router posted slower speeds: 17Mbps (write) and 26.69Mbps (read).

We repeated the test on the 5GHz band and saw a noticeable improvement in performance. This time around, the My Net N900 posted 31.25Mbps (write) and 57.95Mbps (read) speeds. In both cases, we performed the test at about 20 feet away with a corner wall separated between the client PC and router.

This time around, Netgear's router posted a faster write speed at 40.39Mbps, but a significantly slower read speed at 40.79Mbps. In terms of file transfers, Western Digital's My Net N900 is the overall winner here.

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