Western Digital My Net N900 Central review: Western Digital My Net N900 Central

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Typical Price: $399.00
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Some thought has gone into making a good, responsive web interface. Prettier than your standard router box.

The Bad 2.4GHz performance isn't great, especially at range. Storage isn't worth the extra cost due to low warranty. Cisco, Billion and Netgear all offer twice the warranty of Western Digital.

The Bottom Line Western Digital is off to a good start with its routers; it has a well-designed, usable interface, attractive aesthetics and a decent feature set. The 2.4GHz performance needs improvement, though, and the one-year warranty and non-user-serviceable hard drive hurts.

7.5 Overall

When Western Digital announced that it was making a router, we weren't sure quite how it would do. Sure, it had some experience with its NAS products on the networking side, but there's a little bit more involved in creating the hub for your online life.

We were sent the storage version of its router series, the My Net N900 Central — a box supporting dual-band simultaneous 802.11n with either a 1TB or 2TB hard drive inside. The hard drive means that the N900 Central gets something that many routers miss out on: a fan inside, actively cooling the unit. It's also weird to hear your router making mechanical hard drive clicking and head-parking noises, and certainly you'll have to be more gentle with this than you would with the typical router.

We should note that the hard drive isn't user serviceable, either. If it dies, you'll have to send the whole unit back for a drive replacement.

Western Digital certainly has got the aesthetics bit right, at least — rounded corners, a slightly inhaled top and a mixture of matte and gloss black that's muted, but respectable. Five status lights are along the front, covering power, wireless status, internet access, WPS use and whenever the hard drive inside reads or writes. A lone WPS button sits on the right.

Specs at a glance

Firmware tested 1.04.08
ADSL2+ modem No
Annex M N/A
3G modem No
IPv6 Yes
Wireless protocols 802.11b/g/n
Dual band Simultaneous
Highest wireless security WPA2
WDS Yes
Ethernet ports 4x gigabit, 1x gigabit WAN
USB print sharing/storage Storage
Accessories Ethernet cable, installation CD

Connections

Four gigabit Ethernet ports, gigabit WAN, USB 2.0 port.
(Credit: Western Digital)

UI and features

Western Digital has leveraged its NAS UI design skills here, and provided an interface that's attractive and accessible, divided into easy-to-use sections.

At first, you're presented with a wizard, which can be easily skipped if you desire. A notifications drop-down menu at the top right lets you know what hasn't been configured yet or whether there are problems, and links to the appropriate parts of the interface for you to fix it.

After initial set-up, a dashboard is presented with an overview of all the settings on your router. You'll most definitely want to change your default router password, as your wireless passwords are shown here in plain text.

Even the advanced interface is straightforward, attractive and easy to use.
(Screenshot by Craig Simms/CNET)

The internal hard drive is either accessible via SMB, FTP or AFP, and also supports DLNA devices and iTunes storage — with the same options available to set for USB storage as well. You can use Western Digital's WD2Go app on Android or iPhone to access the storage on the device, as well as through the web.

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