Western Digital My Net N900 HD Lightning Review: A Router You Might Actually Get Excited Over

Illustration for article titled Western Digital My Net N900 HD Lightning Review: A Router You Might Actually Get Excited Over

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 a zillion porn 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 customize and prioritize 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.

Using It

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 Hulu, WoW, 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.


Tragic Flaw

The $180 price is more than most people want to pay for a router.

Test Notes

  • The N900 doesn't have the new WiFi 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 50+ feet through walls. 5Ghz didn't fare as well, but that's to be expected.

Should You Buy It?

Yes. 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




DD-WRT is great if you're a hacker and you don't mind futzing with your router every couple of days. Thing with a router is, people don't want to think about it. They just want it to work. Same concept with phones. That's why Apple has been so successful - you don't need to think about maintenance that much to keep it running. I finally switched from my Buffalo router with DD-WRT to Time Capsule because it just works. Over the last 6 years I've had 4 routers. An Airport Extreme which I loved (until my dad stole it), a crappy wireless router from AT&T that I think was just B&G, the above mentioned Buffalo router which should have been great but kept losing connection and was a pain in the ass with NAS, and now finally the Time Capsule.

If you know enough about routers I'm sure you can probably get DD-WRT to bend to your will and work just fine. But for most of us we just need it to work now. The time cost to keep a DD-WRT router working all the time far surpasses the cost of a solid "it just works" router.