What if a router could make sure streaming movies and online games always get the bulk of your bandwidth, even if everyone else in your house is downloading movies? That's exactly what hard drive kingpin Western Digital claims to have done with its first router, the My Net N900 HD.
What Is It?
A router that can customise and prioritise bandwidth use toward the things you need first.
Who's It For?
Anyone with more than one device connected to a home network.
It's huge! 156 x 30 x 237 mm. But it's a router. You're not carrying it around. Plus, the antenna is internal, so you can slide it into tighter spots than most routers.
Setup is simple. The on-board processor uses FasTrack software to automatically detect types of traffic and direct them. Use a simple menu to set up pre-defined services like World of Warcraft and Skype.
The Best Part:
FasTrack actually works! Normally, downloads crowd out streaming movies or games. Diablo 3 can lag with a latency rate of over 1,000ms if played during a simultaneous download. But after loading the router up with a few file downloads, from totally reputable sources, it played at a respectable latency (100-200ms), and even dipped below 100 from time to time. Impressive.
The $349.99 price is more than most people want to pay for a router, and it's massively disappointing to see that Australia is once again being thrown for a loop in terms of price disparity. For the same product, our US counterparts can expect to pay US$180. Poor marks for Western Digital there.
- The N900 doesn't have the new Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac. So, if you're looking for a long-term router, you might want to shy away for now. But the 450Mbps Wireless-N data rate on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz provides plenty of throughput.
- It has two USB 2.0 ports that can act as network-attached storage (NAS). Apps to access your media via mobile devices.
- Wireless performance on the 2.4Ghz band stayed relatively steady at 15 metres through walls. 5Ghz didn't fare as well, but that's to be expected.
Should You Buy It?
If you can stomach the price disparity, sure. The NAS features are a little lacking, and the lack of 802.11ac might hurt in a few years, but for now, FasTrack is the first exciting thing to happen to routers in a while.
Western Digital My Net N900 HD
• Networking: 802.11n (2.4+5 GHz Dualband)
• Ethernet Ports: 8
• Security: WPA, WPA2, WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), WPA2-Enterprise
• IPv6 compatible: Yes
• Giz Rank: 4.0 stars