We were surprised when we heard that Western Digital, which is largely known for its storage and multimedia devices, recently entered the networking segment. The brand has recently launched a range of wireless networking routers and we had a hands on with the MyNet N900 HD dual-band router. Let’s see what it has in store for you.
Slightly wider than typical routers
Design and Build
While some routers are vertically designed with either hidden or external antennas, this one is horizontal and resembles an old-school lunch box. The router is slightly wider than most conventional wireless routers available today, thanks to the 8-port Ethernet connectors on the rear. It is quite uncommon to see routers with 7 LAN ports and 1 WAN port around, but we assure you it can be beneficial for small offices. The unit is pretty rugged and sturdy, but the shell is slightly glossy around the top edges. The router has a dual-tone body with a black top and the rest has a matte silver finish. The front panel features four LED status indicators for power, Wi-Fi, WAN and WPS and a touch switch for the WPS mode. The rear panel sports a power switch, power jack, two USB 2.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet ports, which include 7 LAN and 1 WAN interface. The two USB ports on the rear were initially confusing as one sported a blue colour that resembles a USB 3.0 port. But it turns out that both the USB ports are 2.0. Another unique feature unseen in conventional routers today is an exhaust fan, which is on the base to help cool the router during extreme performance and 24x7 operation modes. The router is wall-mountable and looks good enough to blend with your interiors. Bundled along with the product is a power adapter, a network patch cable for LAN or WAN, a user manual and a startup disk.
Simple status indicators on the front panel
7 x LAN + 1 x WAN Gigabit and 2 x USB 2.0 ports
Many might confuse or assume that the MyNet would have a bandwidth of 900 Mbps because of its name. But the fact is that the WD MyNet N900 is a dual-band router and can simultaneously operate in two different frequency bands of 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The router complies with IEEE 802.11 N standards and is capable of data throughputs of up to 450Mbps on both bands. It is aimed specifically towards those users who would want to implement HD media streaming on their network. Implementing both the frequency bands can double the bandwidth speed by increasing throughput and also reducing interference from other devices that use the 2.4GHz frequency band, for example, Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, microwave ovens and few other typical home appliances.
The product also incorporates range-amplifying technology and additional internal antennas, which help broaden the wireless signal to reach out to a wider area. Parental controls are included for website restrictions, time limits and internet security, beneficial for both home and small office environments. USB ports provided on the rear make it easy to add and share external storage drives, printers and scanners to all on the connected network. The router is Gigabit and IPv6 ready for future networks, offers personal cloud storage and features network monitoring and built-in diagnostics.
Three additional softwares provided on the disk
Setup and Configuration
Setting up the device is as simple as any wireless router you may have used in the past. All you need to do is simply power on the router and connect a PC or laptop to it either wirelessly or using an Ethernet cable, and enter the default IP address of the router in any Internet browser. Sadly though, this router is not secured by default and you will need to initially set passwords for the Admin and the wireless network. A few routers from other brands feature out-of-the-box security and you don’t even need to configure it, because the SSID and passwords are pre-set and noted on the user manual and on the router. This helps any lay man or an individual, who does not know how to configure a wireless router, start using it by just powering it up without the worry of securing the network.
The setup wizard
Moving on, we hit the routers IP address to configure it using the usual old-fashioned method. The first page greeted us with a setup wizard, but the second page itself notified us with warnings that the security for the two frequency bands are open, there is no Admin password specified, the Guest access, WAN and LAN are not yet configured and the product is not yet registered. It will seem foolish for an enthusiast to see these notification alerts, but for a novice, it could mean a lot. You can use the setup wizard to guide you along or simply move on and manually configure the router if you know what to do. You can choose to keep both bands active (2.4GHz and 5GHz) or keep either one available as per your requirements. Do note that there are not many devices that use a 5GHz wireless network.
Storage sharing configuration
Updated 25 May, 2013, 6:04 pm IST
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