Western Digital intros four wireless routers, one with 2TB of storage

By on June 14, 2012, 1:30 PM

Western Digital, a company who is better known for its enduring legacy in storage solutions, announced that it will be dipping its toes into the consumer wireless network market. The company unveiled four new home router products that will cover most bases for consumers, starting with the no-frills N600 and finishing with the N900 Central -- a router that is effectively a NAS with up to 2TB of included storage.

Probably emboldened by its past dabbling with TV boxes, MyBook Live and its own line of powerline AV products, wireless routers seem to be a logical step for WD. However, it is safe to say WD's entry into the consumer networking space marks an uphill battle for the company. There are already a number of well-established players out there like Netgear, Linksys (i.e. Cisco), D-link and others.

In order to set itself apart from existing offerings, Western Digital calls its new products "My Net Entertainment Accelerators". Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Truthfully though, this gimmicky marketing phrase is WD's way of advertising its "advanced" QoS (quality of service) and FasTrack features, selling points which the company is trying to play up as major benefits.

WD's take on QoS automatically detects and prioritizes certain types of traffic, like streaming video from Hulu. Theoretically, this should help provide an interruption-free Netflix experience, for example, while that Windows 8 Release Preview ISO continues to download or while your laptop is performing a Wi-Fi backup to your NAS.

FasTrack offers users 21 available slots for QoS customization while FasTrack Plus offers an unlimited number and real-time traffic analysis. FasTrack Plus is only offered on the N900.

Here's what WD's wireless router line up looks like:

  • N600: 802.11n @ 2 x 300Mbps channels, 4 x 100Mbps network ports, 1 x USB 2.0 and FasTrack streaming ($79.00)
  • N750: 802.11n @ 1 x 300Mbps and 1 x 450Mbps channel, 4 x 1Gbps network ports, 2 x USB 2.0 and FasTrack streaming ($119)
  • N900: 802.11n @ 2 x 450Mbps channels, 7 x 1Gbps network ports, 2 x USB 2.0, FasTrack Plus video streaming ($179)
  • N900 Central: 802.11n @ 2 x 450Mbps channels, automated network backup, 4 x 1Gbps network ports, 1 x USB 2.0 and FasTrack Plus streaming (1TB model: $299; 2TB model: $349)



User Comments: 8

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gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This is actually kind of interesting. I need to share large amounts of files with my roommates at school, and I don't necessarily want to keep my computer on all the time. Is something like this worth the money, or would traditional methods be more worthwhile?

SoulSeeker said:

Being a FritzBox enthusiast, I am delighted to see some real competition coming for Germany's AVM. They have been leading in Home-Routers that offer a wide range of added features, with no company (to my knowledge) offering anything even close. When WD opens the firmware to customization, these boxes might offer great value for the prices.

SoulSeeker said:

@gwailo247: There are definitely cheaper ways to just share files with people in your network. You could get a NAS (Network Attached Storage), basically just an external harddrive with a LAN-Cable plug. Or get any router with a USB-Slot and connect an external hard-drive or usb-stick to that.

When you look for cheap deals or even better something 2nd hand, it could get alot cheaper than a brand new 2TB WesterDigital router... but of course... a brand new 2TB WD N900 would be sweet to have ;-)

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I've looked at NAS systems, and they're not that cheap, especially when you have to fill them with hard drives. $349 for 2 TB with a router is not that bad of a price. That's why I was asking. I'm probably going to buy a new router, cause mine kinda sucks. Price wise, I think this would be pretty competitive with a NAS of equivalent capacity. (although I'll admit my info is probably around a year old)

SoulSeeker said:

Yes, new NAS systems are expensive. But from my experience, everything that isn't "fresh" anymore, you can get very cheap when you have a month or so to keep your eyes open. So my thinking was: Buy 2 cheap used 1TB NAS for maybe 50 bucks when you are lucky... Altho with current harddrive prices, many people might be gunning for used storage right now..

Well, if you plan to buy a new router anyway, can't get much better than this one... So if you can afford it, why not treat yourself ;-) I just assumed you where like me and my roommates where :-D always trying to get by with hardly spending a dime. hehe

tonylukac said:

Not really an opportune time with IPv6 down the pike. Does it work with IPv6? I thought that doesn't use routers.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Yes, new NAS systems are expensive. But from my experience, everything that isn't "fresh" anymore, you can get very cheap when you have a month or so to keep your eyes open. So my thinking was: Buy 2 cheap used 1TB NAS for maybe 50 bucks when you are lucky... Altho with current harddrive prices, many people might be gunning for used storage right now..

Well, if you plan to buy a new router anyway, can't get much better than this one... So if you can afford it, why not treat yourself ;-) I just assumed you where like me and my roommates where :-D always trying to get by with hardly spending a dime. hehe

I don't buy used electronics. Brand new stuff has enough issues as it is without me having to worry about factoring in wear and tear or broken parts. And I think $50 for a 2 TB NAS, even used, is probably a stretch. Just the hard drives alone would be worth that much, like you said, with storage prices being high. Plus the logistics of shipping something like that over from the states would add extra cost. I'll see what reviews of this sucker say.

Arris Arris said:

Having owned a WD Mybookworld 2TB NAS type product (not the quickest access with 2 WD green HDs in it, but allows for raid for backup) I would probably consider one of these if I needed a router. I think that integrating storage into the router is an interesting idea. With the big push into "The Cloud" and the inflated prices for HDs at present you have to wonder what their next move is, at least for consumer products. Maybe this is part of it. Maybe Samsung did the right thing in selling off their HD business to Seagate.

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