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Western Digital Launches High-Performance Routers for Home or Business
By Barry Levine
Posted: June 14, 2012 11:50am PDT

Western Digital "definitely thinks there's a market" for My Net routers among small businesses, said analyst Avi Greengart. He added that a typical use case for a Western Digital My Net prioritizing router could be someone conducting a video conference call with a supplier, while others are using the network to conduct various kinds of business.

Western Digital is entering the home networking market with a line of high-performance routers that could appeal to small businesses as well as consumers. The My Net line of networking products utilizes FastTrack technology, which detects video and other media on the network and speeds it on a priority basis to Wi-Fi connected devices.

Executive vice president Jim Walsh said in a statement that the demands on the connected home have "grown exponentially," because members of a family can simultaneously watch movies, play games, and browse the Web on a variety of mobile, wireless devices.

'Unique Value Proposition'

The company cited a recent U.S. Digital Consumer Report from Nielsen that found about a third of consumers stream a movie or TV show through a subscription service such as Netflix or Hulu Plus.

Western Digital said that the My Net line, which it described as the industry's only full line of high-definition dual-band wireless N routers, automatically prioritizes video and other high-bandwidth content by utilizing real-time analysis to maximize the available bandwidth, creating a smooth HD 1080p quality experience.

We asked Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, if the new Western Digital line provided a solution to a bottleneck faced by homes or small businesses.

Greengart said it did, adding that the new product line was "interesting, because it does offer a unique value proposition" of offering Quality of Service prioritization for streaming media. He noted that, as "families use their Wi-Fi networks to stream more and more media, this use case is more frequently coming up."

Market for Small Businesses

Greengart said that a typical scenario involves someone backing up a large file to a wireless storage location, while another family member is trying to watch a HD movie.

"If you asked someone doing the backup if they were OK giving the transmission priority to a movie being watched by another family member, they'd probably say yes," Greengart said.

Western Digital "definitely thinks there's a market" for this kind of product among small businesses, Greengart said. He added that a typical use case for that market could be someone conducting a video conference call with a supplier, while others are wirelessly using the network to conduct various kinds of non-streaming business.

The My Net routers provide a Dashboard to customize settings, including parental controls, Internet security, guest network access, network name and password, printer and scanner settings, and mapping of storage drives.

The My Net N900 Central model is an all-one router, in that it includes an integrated one or two terabyte internal hard drive, so that users can back up material and establish their own personal cloud. For Windows machines, WD SmartWare backup software is included, and Mac users can employ Apple's Time Machine.

Other models in the new line include the My Net N900, the N750, the N600, and an 8-port gigabit switch for wired connections called the My Net Switch.

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