Today, Western Digital [NASDAQ:WDC
] has launched their new line of networking products to the public. This line of My Net products from Western Digital takes the company's new approach towards home networking and home entertainment and builds upon the evolution of the company's products from being simply a hard drive manufacturer to a full media solution provider.
Western Digital has slowly been evolving as a company away from being solely a hard drive manufacturer in the past few years. This was most evident with their media streaming line of products called WDTV. These little boxes provided the ability to make virtually any TV an internet connected TV and also allowed you to stream media off of devices that were already on the network. The evolution of this product eventually created the WDTV Live Hub which had a 1TB hard drive, which we reviewed
, and created somewhat of an entertainment center of the home by being able to not only play back network content, but also to serve it to other devices on the network. Needless to say, we do not doubt that Western Digital is always looking for ways to sell more hard drives.
Today's announcement of the My Net line of networking products further punctuates the evolution of Western Digital as a media solutions provider rather than just a hard drive company. The My Net line of networking products will hit all price ranges for consumers will still maintaining a plethora of features that are needed to deliver the best media experience in the household.
Western Digital's My Net line of products will consist of a My Net Switch, My Net N600, My Net N750, My Net N900 and My Net N900 Central. All of these products will be gigabit enabled and dual-band, with the My Net Switch being an 8-port gigabit switch. The one great feature that exists across all of Western Digital's routers is IPv6 support, which is really useful now that the internet is slowly shifting away from IPv4 which is an antiquated standard and nearly resulted in a global shortage of IP addresses. Furthermore, all of the routers will feature 802.11n wireless rather than the currently latest technology, 802.11ac. This is because there currently are close to no 802.11ac products on the market and most users would see no benefit from an 802.11ac solution Western Digital went with it. Since most users' devices are 802.11n today, it makes the most sense to give consumers what would fit their networks today, rather than in a year.
The biggest feature that makes the Western Digital My Net routers unique from other routers is their traffic shaping technology which is specifically designed to deliver the best absolute experience across the home. This technology is called FasTrack and comes in two flavors, FasTrack and FasTrack Plus. FasTrack is available on the My Net N600 and My Net N750. This technology provides for 21 open queues for service applications with 6 services coming pre-identified. The remaining queues can be defined by the customer once they've installed it themselves. FasTrack Plus has unlimited open queues for service applications and requires no need for customization as the router will actively analyze all in-coming sessions. This feature will only be available on the My Net N900 and My Net N900 Central.
Another unique feature to Western Digital's My Net routers is the ability to create your own personal cloud with the My Net N900 routers. These routers will enable you to take any data on any USB-connected hard drive (since the router has two USB ports) or any internally built-in drives (My Net N900 Central) and allow you to access those files from your phone or tablet both inside and outside of your home. This feature is interoperable with all storage devices, which is good to know to if you don't own the latest external drives from Western Digital. Additionally, the N900 series of routers with storage (internal or externally connected) allow you to do automatic backups of devices over the network with Time Machine compatibility and Time Machine functionality for PC through WD SmartWare.
Western Digital provides applications for both Android and iOS devices to enable you to set up the phone or tablet once with your router and to never have to set it up again in order to remotely connect to your router. You can also remotely configure your router as well and supports FTP.
So, what separates these different routers between each other than their prices? Well, we've got a neat chart to explain those as well.
Below are the front and back of the Western Digital My Net N900
Note that there is also the My Net Switch, which sells for $69.99 in addition to the rest of the routers listed above. The My Net N600 will sell for $79.99, the My Net N750 will sell for $119.99 and the My Net N900 will sell for $179.99. The Central will come in two flavors, with a 1TB and a 2TB model which will feature a 2.5" HDD. As such, the My Net Central N900 1TB will sell for $299.99 and the 2TB for $349.99. The warranty in the US is one year while in EMEA it is two years and in APAC the warranty is three years. They should be available now from select US retailers and online at wdstore.com. The N900 central will be available next quarter (July timeframe).
We think that this is a smart move on Western Digital's part because they are recognizing the importance of the connected home and the fact that their hard drives are going to be ever more connected to networking devices. Western Digital's new line of networking devices is a logical movement towards the right direction in our opinion and we already have one of these routers in our hands and will be following up with a review in the coming weeks.
Our Western Digital My Net N900 with our Western Digital My Passport external USB 3.0 hard drive.
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