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The first thing that you’ll notice about Western Digital’s My Net N900 HD dual-band wireless router is its size. Compared to diminutive hardware like the latest version of Apple’s AirPort Express, the N900 is honking huge. That said, Western Digital doesn’t let an iota of the router’s husky dimensions go to waste.
Like the 2012 AirPort Express, the N900 has an internal antenna, which makes it a breeze to fit it into cramped spaces. Unlike the 2012 AirPort Express, which only has space for a single Gigabit Ethernet LAN port, the N900 is rocking seven of them, making it a perfect choice for your next LAN party or to connect all of the computers in a small office. Western Digital rounds out their router’s wired connectivity options with a pair of USB 2.0 ports for hooking up an external hard drive and printer.
But enough about what the N900’s wired ports -- let’s talk about it can do once the cables are cut.
Via its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, the N900 kicks out Wireless-N data at 450kbps. That said, its not equipped to handle 802.11ac, so it’s not exactly what you’d call future-proof. Western Digital made up for this by giving the N900 the ability to prioritize the traffic that passes through your router: data-intensive stuff like streaming media and MMO games are given priority over more mundane tasks such as email and web surfing. In theory, this means that you (and anyone else jacked into your network) will get what you're asking for online without any noticeable lag, buffering, or other signs of a lousy connection.
We put the N900’s prioritization to the test by simultaneously playing World of WarCraft on a MacBook, streaming Netflix to a PS3, browsing the web on an iPad 2, and downloading a game to a PS Vita. Despite the amount of demand we were placing on the router and our data stream, we didn’t notice any lag in our MMO, browsing, or media streaming, and the PS Vita download moved along at an agreeable clip.
Setting up the N900 is insanely simple: Just plug the router in, visit the device’s setup page in your browser (even on iOS devices), and you’re in business. Should you encounter any problems, Western Digital provides an onscreen troubleshooting guide to walk you through it, a nice touch.
Our one complaint is that the N900 feels ridiculously cheap to the touch. Its flimsy plastic shell wouldn’t stand up to the same sort of punishment that, say, an Apple Time Capsule could tolerate. However, as the N900 is a piece of hardware you’re likely to stuff under a desk or mount on a wall, this complaint is minor at best.
The bottom line. Easy to set up and easy to use, Western Digital’s My Net N900 HD dual-band wireless router is a great choice for anyone looking to improve their home’s wireless network.
Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) or later, Safari 2 or later
Low profile makes it great for cramped space. Tons of connectivity options. Prioritizes content to make what ever you’re doing online feel speedy. Insanely simple to set up and use.
Pricey, same as Apple's AirPort Extreme Base Station. Poor build quality -- its housing is made of some pretty cheap plastic. This might help to keep the router’s guts cool, but we bet it won’t stand up to any abuse.