When thinking of routers the names that come to mind are Netgear, Linksys, Asus, D-Link and Belkin. Today we will be looking at a relatively newcomer to the network world, a company know for storage more than anything else – Western Digital. Approximately one year ago Western Digital released their first line of routers, a series of 802.11n capable devices.
With the introduction of the 802.11ac standard, Western Digital has brought the My Net AC1300 to the market. This protocol is designed to transmit 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band providing wired speeds wirelessly. While this standard is not yet commonplace and hardware that takes advantage of these speeds are still scarce it will soon gain a foothold as Apple has released its latest MacBook Airs with 802.11ac capability. Western Digital also sells the My Net AC Bridge to provide these speeds to areas that are not hardwired such as entertainment centers.
Currently the market for 802.11ac-enabled routers is not too crowed as the other models include Apple Airport Extreme Basestation, Netgear R6300, the Asus RT-AC66u, and the D-Link DIR-865L among others. Will the My Net AC1300 stand out from the rest or will it be just another member of the pack?
The My Net AC1300 arrives in a cardboard package with an image of the device on the bottom right corner. On the sides are more images of the router demonstrating the easy setup process and some of the features of the My Net AC1300. The back of the box has another picture of the device demonstrating Western Digital’s implementation of QoS, which they branded Fastrack.
Inside the box we find the router along with a resource CD, Ethernet cable, power adapter and quick install guide.
The router comes in all black with the Western Digital My Net AC1300 logo found on the top of the device on the bottom left corner. This router has no external antennas giving it an unassuming black box appearance. While most routers are made of plastic, Western Digital chose a real thin plastic giving the My Net AC1300 a flimsier feel; the impression is that this router is definitely not designed for punishment. Of course most routers are tucked in a corner and their biggest hazard is the accumulation of dust.
On the front panel are four LED indicators. Starting from left to right they are Power, Wireless, Internet and (WPS) Wi-Fi Protected Setup. On the far right of the front panel is the WPS button that allows the user to quickly connect wireless devices that incorporate this feature.
Looking at the back of the unit we find four Ethernet (LAN) ports, and a Internet (WAN) port, reset button, AC connector and power button. LED lights glow either green or yellow depending on the ports status. All of these ports are Gigabit variety. Two USB 2.0 ports are also found on the back for attaching external hard drives, shared printers, scanners and other USB devices. Used in conjunction with Western Digital My Book Live you can even create your own personal cloud based storage.
The bottom has four rubber feet designed to keep the router from sliding around. Western Digital did not design the My Net AC1300 to be wall mountable. Vents are found on the sides and bottom of the My Net AC1300 to keep it from getting too toasty.