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WD expands connected home offerings with My Net routers

Thu, 06/14/2012 - 1:47pm
Andrew Berg, Wireless Week

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Western Digital's N750Western Digital (WD), a provider of external storage and streaming media players, today released a new line of in-home routers aimed at mitigating performance problems related to the increasing number of wireless devices connecting to home networks.

The new My Net line of routers are designed specifically to accelerate movies, video and gaming by prioritizing tasks and devices with the company's proprietary FasTrack technology.

FasTrack instantly detects entertainment traffic on the network and fast-forwards it to gaming consoles, media players, smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, computers and other Wi-Fi devices.

Scott Vouri, vice president and general manager of WD connected home solutions, said that Western Digital took time to look at exactly what Americans are doing in the home to devise a technology that would appropriately allocate bandwidth to the network’s most important tasks. Vouri notes that 70 percent of all Internet bandwidth in the United States is monopolized by online movie streaming.

Through real-time analysis, the new HD dual-band wireless routers actually prioritize traffic based on popular services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, YouTube, Xbox Live and Skype.

In addition to providing better performance in the home, My Net routers allow users to centralize storage and backup of computers in their home while also creating a personal cloud for their digital media, which can then be accessed via apps on mobile devices. The My Net N900 Central is integrated with a 1 TB or 2 TB internal hard drive for just this purpose.

WD's My Net line offers a range of features and prices. The My Net Switch allows users to expand their wired connections with Gigabit Ethernet up to 10/100/1000 Mbps and will run for about $70. On the higher end is the $350 model of the N900 Central, a dual-band storage router that provides accelerated HD streaming with 2 TB of storage for wireless backup and remote access.

Vouri said WD was very concerned with providing a product that was easy to use, something most consumer routers have failed at out of the box.

"We actually went into people's homes and watched them install routers," Vouri said, noting that the My Net routers offer a variety of setup level from automatic to granular controls.

Given WD's existing line of streaming media players, these new products should further the company's track toward developing its connected home portfolio.

The My Net N900, My Net N750, My Net N600 and My Net Switch will be available June 14 at select U.S. retailers and online. My Net N900 Central will be available next quarter.

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