Western Digital MyNet N900 Central review
Apple’s Time Capsule is a good option for backing up multiple Macs on a home or office network, but although it acts as a wireless base station the Time Capsule doesn’t include a router for your Internet connection. That means that you have to keep your existing wireless router alongside the Time Capsule, taking up more space and creating an extra mess of cabling.
Western Digital’s new MyNet N900 Central goes one better than the Time Capsule, as it includes both a hard disk and a full dual-band wireless router. Prices start at £299.99 for a model with a 1TB hard disk, with the 2TB model costing £349.99. That’s quite a bit more expensive than a Time Capsule, but of course the N900 Central also includes the router as well.
It’s neatly designed – not much larger than a conventional router even though it has a hard disk inside it – so it’ll be easy to plug it in and set it up in a convenient corner of your front room or office. The router itself provides simultaneous 802.11n wireless networking on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and Western Digital has developed a feature called FasTrack that allows the router to prioritise high-bandwidth tasks, such as streaming video, in order to provide the best performance.
There are four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back of the router for wired connections, as well as a single USB port for sharing a printer or another hard disk on your network. The router can be configured through a simple web browser interface that has been designed to look like a touch-screen iPad app, so it’s easy to establish an Internet connection and then set up your own network. Our only complaint is that the PDF manual supplied with the N900 focuses more on the Windows side of things and skims over Mac-specific details such as using the N900 for Time Machine backups.
The N900 Central includes both a router and hard disk
The N900 Central is a little pricey, but the fact that it includes both a hard disk and a dual-band router makes it a good option for any home or small office that needs an all-in-one networking and storage system in a single box.