WD My Net N900 Central review: WD My Net N900 Central

But the storage features of the My Net N900 Central don't stop there; it has a lot more to offer with the Remote Access feature.

As mentioned above, once you have connected the router to a free account with WD 2go, the router's storage can be accessed from anywhere via a Web browser. I tried this out and it worked out really beautifully: once I used Firefox to log in from the WD 2go Web site and clicked on a share folder, a Java-based software program was launched and automatically created a network drive linked to that share folder. This meant that from then on I could close Firefox and was able to drag and drop files to and from that folder the way I do with an external hard drive. While creating a network shared folder is quite easy within a local network, being able to do that via the Internet means a totally new level of convenience. Note, however, that how fast you can drag and drop files in and out of a share drive depends on the Internet connection at both ends. Generally, I don't recommend doing that with files larger than a few megabytes, such as Word or Excel documents.

The router also supports the mobile WD 2go app (available for free on both Android and iOS platforms). After downloading the app to a mobile device, you'll need to add that device to the router by typing a 12-digit code generated by the router's Web interface into the mobile app. After that, you can use the app browser and play back content stored on the router's internal storage.

Overall, I was impressed with how well the remote storage feature works out. It's probably the best among routers in terms of remote storage-based features. Unfortunately, currently you can't use the WD 2go app to manage the router's other settings.

In addition to the internal storage, the My Net N900 Central also supports external hard drives and in my trials worked with all portable drives, including those not made by WD. You can use a drive formatted in either FAT32 or NTFS and quickly share its contents with the rest of the local network, including streaming digital content to DLNA-enabled network media players, such as the WD TV Live.  However, you can't share the external drive's content via the Internet using the Remote Access feature.

As a wireless router, the My Net N900 Central router is a true dual-band router that offers 450Mbps on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. This is the top configuration of the Wireless-N, or 802.11n, standard, similar to on the Asus RT-N66U or the Cisco Linksys EA4500. Like the My Net N900 HD, the My Net N900 Central doesn't support the latest 802.11ac standard. Up to now, this was not much of a drawback since there's currently almost no 802.11ac-enabled client hardware on the market anyway.

The second main feature of the My Net N900 Central is the FastTrack Plus QoS, which is also available in the previous My Net N900 HD router. FastTrack Plus prioritizes the Internet bandwidth for different devices on the network. With most routers that offer QoS, you generally have to set these features manually based on the device; for example, you want computer A to have a higher priority than computer B and so on. With FastTrack Plus, the priority is set based on the type of traffic, with audio, video, voice-over IP gaming being prioritized, regardless of clients. This means prioritization is done dynamically and you don't have to do anything. I tried this out and it generally worked well. Note that you need to have a fast connection to the Internet, at least fast enough for HD media streaming, to notice the difference. Fast Track Plus won't make your connection faster than it already is. By default, FastTrack Plus is turned on; using the router's Web interface, you can turn it off and choose to use the manual QoS configuration, if you want.

The Remote Access feature makes an excellent addition to the already long list of what the My Net N900 Central has to offer.
The Remote Access feature makes an excellent addition to the already long list of what the My Net N900 Central has to offer. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

The My Net N900 Central also supports IPv6 and has a good set of other common features, such as port forwarding, parental control, firewall, and so on. For security, the router supports all existing wireless encryption standards and also offers MAC filtering.

Performance
The My Net N900 Central consistently offered good performance in my testing.

For Wi-Fi, the router did very well on the 5GHz frequency band, scoring 192Mbps in the close-range (15 feet) throughput test. When I increased the distance to 100 feet, the data rate was lowered to 80Mbps. On the 2.4GHz band, the router, as expected, scored much lower, registering 57Mbps and 38Mbps for close- and long-range tests, respectively. Note that these are real-world sustained data rates, which are generally very different from the theoretical ceiling speed of the Wireless-N standard. Also, the router was tested at CNET headquarters, where there are many other Wi-Fi access points and clients, which interfere with the router's signal. At your home, depending on the environment, you might get higher performance.

In the same environment, in stress tests, My Net N900 Central successfully passed my 48-hour trial without disconnecting once. It also offer very long range, up to some 280 feet away, on both bands. For an effective Wi-Fi connection, you should use it within 170 feet or shorter, however.

CNET Labs 5GHz Wireless-N performance score
(Measured in Mbps / Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
D-Link DIR-857
172.4 
214.6 
WD My Net N900 HD
74 
195 
WD My Net N900 Central
79.9 
191.8 
Belkin N900 DB
138.2 
189.6 
Cisco Linksys EA4500
176.8 
186.8 
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
122.2 
185.6 
Asus RT-N66U
155.3 
181.8 
Netgear R6300
144.8 
178.8 
AirStation WZR-D1800H
120 
172 
Netgear WNDR4500
92.7 
152.8 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
105.8 
116.1 

CNET Labs 2.4GHz Wireless-N performance score
(Measured in Mbps / Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
35.8 
148.5 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
31.3 
77.8 
Netgear WNDR4000
23.9 
67.8 
Cisco Linksys EA4500
41.4 
62.4 
WD My Net N900 HD
16 
58.1 
WD My Net N900 Central
38.3 
55.8 
Asus RT-N66U
45.5 
55 
Netgear R6300
41.6 
51.2 
Belkin N750 DB
26.6 
50 
D-Link DIR-857
29.6 
47.8 
Netgear WNDR4500
31.1 
45.3 

CNET Labs NAS performance
Measured in Mbps / Longer bars indicate better performance
Read  
Write  
Cisco Linksys E4200v2
202.8 
171 
Cisco Linksys EA4500
163.2 
152.8 
Asus RT-N66U
88 
131.9 
WD My Net N900 Central
156.5 
119.8 
WD My Net N900 HD
158.9 
114.6 
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 
Netgear R6300
82.7 
72.3 
D-Link DIR-857
126.4 
69.6 
D-Link DIR-827
126.4 
68 
Netgear WNDR4500
65.6 
63.2 
Netgear WNDR4000
57.6 
51.8 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
17.8 

The My Net N900 Central's storage performance was about the same as that of the My Net N900 HD. In tests via Gigabit Ethernet, it scored 120Mbps for writing and 157Mbps for reading. This is fast enough for most casual sharing of data and media streaming needs.

Conclusion
With an excellent storage-based feature, very good Wi-Fi performance, and a nice networking feature set, the My Net N900 Central makes an excellent buy for those who need an advanced wireless router and a decent network storage system, all in one decent-looking box.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 21.5 oz
  • Data Transfer Rate 450 Mbps
  • Connectivity Technology wired
About The Author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.