Western Digital Penetrates Wireless Home Networking Market

Western Digital Penetrates Wireless Home Networking Market

Western Digital Presents 'My Net' Series of Dual-Band 802.11n Routers 

Western Digital has been in the tech industry for more than forty years now, with a sizable lineage of hard drives as well as media players like the WD TV series tucked under their belt. Today, WD ventures into wireless home networking field with an array of dual-band 802.11n routers designed to stream and accelerate high-definition videos and gaming content to both wired and wireless peripherals. Unveiled at the Clarity showroom earlier today, the My Net family of routers consists of four models predominantly - N600, N750, N900, and variants of the flagship N900 Central. But first, let's take a quick peek at the FasTrack technology employed within their routers.

Miss Amy Tan, Senior Manager of WD's South East Asia region, giving members of the press a quick overview of the company's maiden suite of wireless routers.

Western Digital's My Net family of dual-band routers comprises of four models mainly. From left to right - the N600, N900 Central, N900, and N750.

FasTrack Plus and FasTrack

One of the routers' main highlights include WD's FasTrack Plus and FasTrack prioritization technologies. In a nutshell, FasTrack Plus enables the access point to detect media content on the network; such as movies, games, and VoIP sessions; and prioritize them over less pertinent web traffic. On top of that, FasTrack Plus is also able to 'accelerate' these data packets to clients like gaming consoles, media players, Smart TVs, and mobile devices in real time. WD calls this "Smart HD Streaming". FasTrack, on the other hand, is more akin to an enhanced version of Quality of Service (QoS) technology often found in most 802.11n routers. It prioritizes streamed content from sites like Netflix and Hulu over web traffic to ensure a stutter-free delivery, but lacks FasTrack Plus' auto-detection feature. 

According to WD, the routers are also a breeze to configure, thanks to the user-friendly My Net Dashboard interface (which is likely the outcome from the good work they've put into their media players like the WD TV Live). In addition, all My Net routers support WD's Personal Cloud feature as well, where users are able to access data stored on the router's internal or attached drive via the cloud. This remote access attribute is further extended to mobile devices with apps like WD 2go and WD Photos, available on iTunes and Google Play. That said, let's take a closer look at the My Net entries.

Western Digital's FasTrack technology was designed to prioritize HD streams and gaming content over conventional network traffic. FasTrack Plus enhances this feature  further with its ability to detect and accelerate entertainment content to network clients like notebooks and mobile devices.

My Net N900 Central

Besides the FasTrack Plus perk, the N900 Central is the only model under the My Net series to offer internal storage facilities. Available in 1TB or 2TB flavors, users can choose to use the internal drives for remote access via the cloud, or simply use them for wireless backup purposes. Speed wise, the N900 Central is capable of theoretical top speeds of 450Mbps on each band (2.4GHz and 5GHz). Other hardware specs include four Gigabit LAN ports, a Gigabit WAN port, plus one USB slot with network storage and print-server support. In addition, the N900 Central is also Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) capable, which makes it convenient to connect compatible wireless devices to the home network. All My Net models are equipped with internal antennas, and augmented with WD's range-amplifying technology to increase the routers' Wi-Fi reach. 

The flagship N900 Central boasts of superior range and WD's FasTrack Plus technology. It's also the only model under the My Net umbrella to carry its own internal storage. 

My Net N900

The N900 does not house any internal storage drives, but it has a wicked arsenal which the N900 Central lacks. Clad in white and black, the N900 is armed with seven Gigabit LAN ports and two USB ports, which makes it ideal if you prefer an access point with a wider variety of hardware connectivity. Apart from these, the N900 is similar to the N900 Central in terms of features. Expect peak wireless speeds of 450Mbps on each band, as well as UPnP and DLNA support. Real-time prioritization and acceleration for media streaming and gaming content are available with the FasTrack Plus feature too. 

The N900 isn't equipped with the N900 Central's internal storage or wireless backup features. However, it does come with FasTrack Plus and a top speed of 450Mbps on both wireless bands.

The biggest incentive of the N900 is the extensive number of ports it carries. This baby packs seven Gigabit Ethernet and two USB ports on its back panel.

My Net N750

We'd classify the N750 as a mid-range model under the My Net series. Instead of FasTrack Plus, the N750 is equipped with the more subdued FasTrack prioritizing feature for online streaming services as well as bandwidth and upstream WAN traffic management. It has a slower theoretical speed of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, although its 5GHz rating is comparable to its N900 siblings at 450Mbps. Specs-wise, we'd say the N750 hits the sweet spot with four Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, and two USB slots for content and printer sharing over the home network. With a fairly reasonable price of S$159, this is the model to look out for if you do not require the auto-detection aspects of FasTrack Plus. 

Those of you who desire a mid-range router might want to take a look at the N750. This router is empowered with FasTrack instead of FasTrack Plus, with top Wi-Fi speeds of 300Mbps and 450Mbps.

My Net N600

The entry-level N600 is the most affordable of the lot, so don't expect it to be loaded with all of WD's fancy features. Instead of Gigabit ports, the N600 is fitted with five 10/100 Base-T ports, inclusive of the WAN inlet. In addition, there's only one USB slot to go around, but on the bright side, it still has the FasTrack feature to shout about. Naturally, you can expect the N600 to offer the slowest throughput among the four models, with peak speeds of 300Mbps on both bands.

Don't expect the best of WD's networking features when you're only forking out $99 for this access point. Still, one can expect FasTrack on this model as well as four LAN ports and one USB slot.


Western Digital's Family of My Net Dual-band 802.11n Routers
  N600 N750 N900 N900 Central
Simultaneous Dual-band
Wi-Fi Speed 
 Up to 300Mbps + 300Mbps Up to 300Mbps + 450Mbps  Up to 450Mbps + 450Mbps  Up to 450Mbps + 450Mbps 
Range   Good Better  Best  Best 
Accelerated HD Streaming  FasTrack  FasTrack  FasTrack Plus  FasTrack Plus 
 Ethernet Ports 4 Fast Ethernet  4 Gigabit Ethernet  7 Gigabit Ethernet  4 Gigabit Ethernet 
 USB Ports  1
 Advanced QoS Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
 IPv6 Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
 UPnP Certified  Certified  Certified  Certified 
DLNA  Compatible  Compatible  Certified  Certified 
 Internal Storage  -  Yes
 Wireless Backup  -  Yes
 Remote Access Apps  -  Yes
Price $99 $159 $239 1TB - $329
2TB - $399

One glaring omission from the suite of My Net routers unveiled today is invariably WD's Wireless 802.11ac model. The AC1300 has been launched in the States as we understand it, but according to WD, it will only arrive on our local shores sometime in the second quarter of 2013. In the meantime, all My Net routers will be available at select retailers by mid December if you're planning to snag one during this festive season. Merry Christmas, dear readers.