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Wireless Features

WD My Net N900

I think it is pretty ballsy of WD to enter the wireless router market at this late date. With all the competition and razor-thin margins, I can't believe that WD thinks this will be a major money maker for them. On the other hand, having survived this long making hard drives, router margins could look relatively fat to them!

The My Net N900 is the top of WD's router line if you don't want built-in storage. Since it sports seven Gigabit LAN and one Gigabit WAN ports, it's a bit wider than many current routers. It takes an old-school approach with its sit-flat design and no vertical stand bundled in.

WD My Net N900

WD My Net N900

Cutting right to the chase and popping the top reveals the view shown in the photo below that I took from the FCC ID docs. There are three antennas each for the 2.4 and 5 GHz radios, which come in full-sized mini-PCIe modules. Yep, that's a fan sitting at the lower right of the photo. But it doesn't spin up unless it has to. In the four hours or so I've had the router on and not running under load, it has yet to turn on.

WD My Net N900 inside

WD My Net N900 inside

The component table below summarizes the My Net N900's key components. Since the design is so similar to the D-Link DIR-857 I just finished testing, I included its components for good measure. A key difference between the two products, however, is the WD's use of separate 2.4 and 5 GHz antennas vs. the D-Link's dual-bands.

Updated 7/10/2012

A helpful reader clued me to PC Perspective's review that took the RF shields off and found a few different components. So I've updated the table. Note that PC Perspective miscalculated the amount of RAM. It is 256 MB as shown in the table below, not 128 MB.

  WD My Net N900 DIR-857
CPU Ubicom IP80009U IP8260U Ubicom IP8000AU
Switch Atheros AR8327N (x2) Atheros AR8327N
RAM 256 MB 512 MB
Flash 16 MB 16 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - Atheros AR9381 dual single-band 3-stream 11n SoC
- 6976691A205 (manufacturer unknown) 2.4 GHz power amps (x3)
- Atheros AR9380 dual-band 3-stream 11n SoC
- Unidentified manf. power amp (x3)
5 GHz radio - Atheros AR9381 AR9380 dual-band 3-stream 11n SoC
- Skyworks/SiGe SE2595L Dual Band 802.11n Wireless LAN Front End (x3)
- Atheros AR9380 dual-band 3-stream 11n SoC
- Unidentified manf. power amp (x3)
Table 2: WD My Net N900 component summary

While the FCC photos provided detailed component shots, it was still tough to read the part number of the Ubicom processor. Sure looks like a "9", not an "A" as in the DIR-857's processor. It looks like QCA has removed all Ubicom component details from the web, so we'll have to wait until after testing for me to pop the top and do a positive ID.

WD My Net N900 processor detail

WD My Net N900 processor detail

Identifying the radio device was easy, though.

WD My Net N900 radio detail

WD My Net N900 radio detail

Given the similarity in component selection, I hope that the My Net N900 doesn't share the DIR-857's relatively poor wireless performance. The final word on that, however, will have to wait until I test it.

More Wireless

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