WD now makes routers. For those who are not familiar with Western Digital’s past when they used to make calculators, a certain type of processing units and graphics cards, they would probably find it surprising that WD’s first bold move as a storage drive manufacturer is to manufacture streaming players such as WDTV and now routers. WD My Net 900 Central router that I have comes with a 1TB storage drive built inside, obviously to be used as central storage.
Seeing that a lot of companies have been making NAS units and Dual Band routers, one might speculate that someone would make a router with an internal storage to be used for storage.
To introduce the product briefly, WD My Net N900 Central Dual Band Router sports a 1TB drive inside, with the purpose to provide backup and storing media files and act as a central storage so that you can stream in your devices. WD uses something that they call “FasTrack” technology which basically streams movies smoothly, Lag Free experience during Voice/Video chat and during online gameplay. This is achieved by analysing your usage and prioritizes your broadband bandwidth accordingly.
Also, you can use the unit as your personal cloud storage using WD 2Go Web access. This way, rather than using those Online Cloud Storage you can access your WD Storage router should you require accessing data stored in that device via online and since there is iPhone/iPad/an Android device app for it, you’re good to go.[nextpage title=”Packaging and Specification”]
Well, the packaging that I received has instructions and features written in German. Other than that, its going to be the same packaging.
As one expects from almost any router (well- at least that I am familiar with) you get the usual essentials with the router: the device itself, an Ethernet cable, an A/C adapter, a setup disk and a separate pamphlet contain Tech support contacts.
When I was vaguely checking the router’s interface I found that this unit uses WD 1TB JPVT 2.5” Scorpio Blue drive SATA III drive for evaluation. I wanted to open this unit and take a look at its internal specifications but sadly the unit is so nicely put together that I would end up damaging- even risk breaking the casing during the process. So we’ll have to be satisfied with the external Impressions.[nextpage title=”External Impressions”]
Well, there’s nothing much to go on as far as external impression except the built quality and a fan on the underbelly of the unit.
The 0.9A A/C adapter is made by Asian Power devices. They’re the same manufacturers who make power adapters for LaCie and Western Digital’s MyBook external storage drives.
The storage router comes with the combination of glossy and Matte Black finish with the design that WD following (just like WD My Passport 2TB Drive that I evaluated before)
Front (From Left): Power On LED, Wi-Fi On LED, Internet Connection ON LED, Refresh, HDD Activity LED
Rear (From Left) Power Button, A/C Adapter jack, 4x Lan Ports and 1x Ethernet port, 1x USB 2.0 and a Kensington lock.
There’s nothing on the top, except the usual design and a very small array of vents as marked on the image above. Whereas on the bottom, there are 4 rubber feet, a hard reset button a 40mm ADDA fan bang in the middle. ADDA is a company well known when it comes to making fans, Corsair and many companies who get excellent grade power supplies use fans made by ADDA in a lot of their models. But do note that even during the time I was using the storage router, the fan wasn’t on all the time- in fact, I haven’t noticed the fan spinning at all. Most likely it is temperature control and maybe judging by how warm the unit it got during data transfer, I could speculate that most likely the fans are temperature controls and maybe it needs to cross at least 40~45. But I would have preferred couple of strips of vents around the underbelly to help in better heat dissipation. There’s no telling if there any thermal pad or anything on the drive, but like I said, without potentially risking to break/damage the router’s casing, I can’t really say anything about the internals.[nextpage title=”Test Bench and Methodology”]
It gives me great pleasure to say that I get hardware support from the manufacturers to review not only their own products but others on behalf of the readers. Its some companies such as Asus, Gigabyte, Kingston, Western Digital and Coolermaster who give me hardware support by updating my test rig no strings attached and that helps me to help you! Thumbs up to these guys!
I would like to thank
- Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte 890GPA UD3H Rev 1.0 motherboard
- Asus India for providing Asus 990FX Sabertooth motherboard
- Kingston Taiwan for providing hardware support with memory kits and SSD drive.
- WD India for providing WD 300GB HLFS Velociraptor Hard Drive.
- Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply
|Test Setup for:||WD My Net N900 1TB Central Dual Band (WDBKSP0010BCH) 1TB Storage Router|
|Motherboard+ Processor||Gigabyte 890GPAUD3H Rev 1.0+ AMD 965BE|
|Memory||Kingston KHX1600C9D3P1K28G HyperX Genesis 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII|
|Primary OS drive||Kingston HyperX 3K 90GB SSD/WD 320GB BLUE 320AAJS|
|Power Supply||Coolermaster GX450|
The Benchmarks that I am using are as follows:
Intel NASPT- wired and wireless
Lan Speed Test- wired and wireless: Tested with 10 and 100 test packets
Transfer Tests: 1.27GB zip file transfer test; 11.34GB ISO Transfer; 98.39GB Assorted Movie Folder Transfer; 1.34GB Assorted Photo folder Transfer
Routers are tested in secure mode, using WPA 2 password with Channel set to 11. I don’t have Wireless USB dongle which can pick up 5GHz signals with so I’ll be testing 2.5 GHz with the 20Mhz mode set on the router only using Netgear WG111 V3 USB 2.0 dongle.
To give an idea of the placement of the router during wireless testing, refer to the following diagram:
As mentioned in Intel NAS performance Toolkit’s PDF file:
The Intel® NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT) is a file system exerciser and analysis tool designed to enable direct comparison of network attached storage (NAS) performance. NASPT seeks to discern differences in user level performance when a given client PC uses different remote storage solutions. To that end, NASPT uses a set of real world workload traces gathered from typical digital home applications: HD video playback and record, office productivity applications, video rendering/content creation and more. NASPT reproduces the file system traffic observed in these traces onto whatever storage solution the user provides, records the system response, and reports a rich variety of performance information.
As mention in LST’s Help:
LAN Speed Test v2.0 is designed to be a rock solid tool to measure your LAN speed (wired & wireless) easily and accurately. LAN Speed Test v2.0 has been completely re-written with many new requested features and a new powerful process to measure your LAN speed that is much faster and more accurate than version 1.0 You’ll find that LAN Speed Test v2.0 will quickly become one of your favourite network tools!
Data Packet= 10
Data Packet= 100
Transfer test should help you to let you know how much time it takes to a file size/type to upload and download to/from the network router. Now for comparison, its compared with the same storage router but with Synology DS112J Single Bay SATA II NAS and WD 3TB WDEFRX NAS Drive. Do note that the Ethernet cable- in both tests was connected to the second port whereas the NAS unit was connected to the first port.
I am curious to know what kind of chipset WD uses inside MyNet 900. Comparing it to a single bay SATA II NAS’s transfer speed in all cases, it doesn’t seem too encouraging.[nextpage title=”Router’s GUI Impression”]
I didn’t use the setup disc, but the router does in some way help you to setup the router with step by step setup and notifications in case you have set any password for your router and storage access.
You can set separate SSIDs, channel and channel width in both 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz. Remote access is where you do the setup for mobile access of the storage router by using the apps for smartphones and/or tablets- and also you can set up a WD 2go web access.
You can also add a USB storage drive on the router as shown.
There is a function which allows you to format the drive inside the storage router but even with the USB storage device connected, there wasn’t an option to format the external drive. This is the part where this doesn’t behave like a NAS.
If you’ve seen a lot of NAS box reviews- from Synology and/or from even QNAP, there are a lot of applications for different functions that you can download and install- even for having scheduled backups of your website via FTP and many such apps. This doesn’t. Also during testing, the 40mm didn’t spin up. I would have liked to see some option to turn the fan on and keep it on. Maybe my hopes for the WD My Net 900 Central was that it should be a full-fledged inbuilt NAS, but its more of a storage router. I and many would have liked to see if there was any way if WD or any Router manufacturer will have such routers with doubles up as a NAS and at least lets you install a 2.5” drive of your own choice.
So WD My Net N900 Central is a Dual Band router with 1TB worth personal cloud storage- not as a near full-fledged NAS as I would have perhaps thought it would have been.
I know to a certain extent I may have put together a somewhat respectable sized write- up, but I would have called this a review if I had a good enough 5GHz dongle. This way I could do the wireless test 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz with both 20 and 40 MHz Channel bandwidth. But this is where the performance numbers stay.
Having a NAS has its flexibilities and there is NAS box that it doesn’t really take a lot of space. It all, however, depends on the cost. You spend on a good router and a NAS and then for a drive.
With 10 and 100 size data packets, the wireless test in Lan Speed Test pretty much stays the same when it comes to read and write. Since I do not know the chipset used inside and/or the tech specs of the chip and there are no other devices similar to this I can compare it with, there’s really not much to say. This is where the performance stands.
I am concerned about the Storage router becoming warm and honestly, I would have had more vents. If there was some way to switch on the fans and keep it on, that would have been great. But if the fans are temperature controlled, I would like to have some sort of control over the fan and I don’t think it spins unless it crosses 40 degrees+. Maybe the fan would be turned on only if the S.M.A.R.T. indicates caution and hence the unit turns the fan on. Do note however that I am speculating and it may not be accurate. Also, not that I am saying I have faith over the tiny 40mm fan but imagine you’re accessing HD content from 3 different devices wireless from the internal storage. It needs more ventilation. Having passive vents on the border of the top casing is simply not enough. If you’ve seen the advertised specification, the maximum operating temperature limited to 40 degrees Celsius is all the more reason this unit needs adequate ventilation, especially with a 1TB mechanical drive inside.
The actual data transfer speed, however, compared to a SATA II NAS is disappointing.