Western Digital My Net 900 Wi-Fi router review: Smack-dab in the middle of road
At a Glance
Western Digital’s roots are in storage, so it makes sense that the company’s expansion into networking infrastructure started with network-attached storage. The company’s My Net product line, introduced in 2012, substantially expands their presence in the home networking market. I reviewed their 802.11ac router earlier this year and found it to be a strong contender. The performance of the company’s 802.11n router, the My Net 900, is more humdrum.
The My Net 900’s enclosure is low, flat, and slightly concave on top. LEDs on the front panel report the status of the router’s power, wireless network, Internet connection, and pairing via Wi-Fi Protected Setup. The rear panel hosts the router’s WAN port, two USB ports, and—surprise! —a seven-port gigabit switch (most routers have only a four-port switch).
The router is very easy to set up: You can either drop the provided installation CD into a personal computer, or navigate to the router’s setup screen using the web browser on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. WD provides several utilities that you can install on your PC: WD Print Share, for managing shared printers, WD Quick View for monitoring the router’s status, and WD My Net View, for a high-level evaluation of your network’s performance. WD’s FasTrack Plus Quality of Service automatically prioritizes audio and video streams over more lag-sensitive traffic, but you can also write up to 32 custom QoS rules.
As you can see from the benchmark chart, the My Net N900’s 2.4GHz network was slug slow compared to the top performer in this roundup, the Asus RT-N66U. The My Net N900 outperformed the Asus on the 5GHz frequency band, but only when it was at close range. The My Net N900’s performance at our other two test locations was more in line with the rest of the field—meaning it was significantly slower than the Asus. Unlike several of the routers in this roundup, you can operate guest networks on both of the My Net 900’s frequency bands.
Should you decide to connect a USB hard drive to the My Net N900, you’ll appreciate the installation wizard Western Digital provides: It automatically configures the router to make those files available on your network (as either public shares or shares secured by user IDs and passwords) and to the router’s DLNA and iTunes servers, with the option to also share files using the router’s FTP server.
The My Net N900 placed second—or close to it—when it came to writing files to a hard drive attached to its USB port (the Linksys EA4500 was the clear leader on all the storage benchmarks). It also performed very well when reading files from that drive.
Western Digital’s well-designed user interface and its free software utilities make the My Net N900 a good consumer router. Its wireless performance, on the other hand, falls far short of the fastest router we tested, and it lacks the advanced features that you’d want for a home office or a small business.
Note: This review is part of a roundup. Click here to read reviews of the other four routers I tested at the same time.