WD My Net N750

With a wealth of features, an excellent user experience and very respectable performance, the low price is a pleasant surprise.


8.5
CNET Rating


Western Digital might be better known for its hard drives, but in recent years, the company has been branching out into networking gear. The recently launched My Net series of routers is the company's latest networking attempt to deliver the same quality experience storage that users have experienced for years, and the N750 sits right in the middle of the router pack.

As the price shows, it's a bare-boned router, lacking any form of internet connectivity or the newer 802.11ac standard, but it's still a bargain considering the dual band compatibility. Let's see if the budget price has forced a compromise in performance or features.

Specs at a glance

Firmware tested 1.01.04
ADSL2+ modem No
Annex M No
3G modem No
IPv6 Yes
NBN ready? No
Wireless protocols 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) & 802.11a/n (5GHz)
Dual band Yes
Highest wireless security WPA2
WDS Yes
Ethernet ports 4 + WAN
USB print sharing/storage 2x for storage, printer
Accessories Ethernet cable, power supply, driver disk

Connections

Compared to some of the 802.11ac juggernauts, the N750 is nice and small, with approximately 60 per cent of the footprint of the bigger beasts. Unlike some designer routers, which appear designed for display in the Museum of Contemporary Art, the N750 looks like your average, everyday router. It's not quite as plain as the likes of Billion's range, but it's also not an abstract art piece like Netgear's D6300.

The usual diagnostic lights adorn the front, while a bank of I/O ports cover the rear. Wired access is taken care of by four gigabit Ethernet connections alongside a WAN port. External printers and storage can be mounted at the same time thanks to the twin USB ports, and the inclusion of two is a nice addition at this price point. Surprisingly, there aren't any external antennas, with everything tucked away inside the small case.

The N750 features a simple, well designed interface.
(Screenshot by Bennett Ring/CNET Australia)

UI and features

WD is another company to insist upon the installation of software to access the router, but are good enough to also list the default IP in the small amount of documentation. Heading into the interface via Chrome reveals a well-designed series of screens. There are probably less than a dozen in total, far fewer than the likes of the Billion 7800NXL, limiting the user to some of the more basic networking duties.

Some of the screens feature extensive descriptions of each option, such as the USB Storage area, yet crucial screens like the Wireless settings don't explain a thing. Experienced users will be fine, but if you don't know the difference between the Security Mode and Channel Width, there's no help to be found.

Sometimes, simple means a lack of help.
(Screenshot by Bennett Ring/CNET Australia)

FasTrack QoS is WD's term for the automatic quality of service feature found on the My Net series of routers. It's meant to dynamically configure the bandwidth based on whatever software you're running, giving priority to games and media over web browsing and email. However, even with the newer firmware releases, we've found it to be lacking at best, often causing major performance drops. Accordingly, it's wise to keep this disabled until WD can iron out some of the kinks.

A good idea for automation, but in practice, needs more work.
(Screenshot by Bennett Ring/CNET Australia)

Performance

Our tests were conducted using LAN Speed Test, sending five 50MB packets over the course of several minutes. We used an Acer Aspire S7 ultrabook as the roaming client for range tests. The first test was conducted in the same room as the router at a range of 3 metres. Test two placed the ultrabook in the next room, at a distance of 5 metres and with one double brick wall between them. Our final test saw the ultrabook moved 10 metres away, with three double brick walls, a very challenging test indeed. Note that the router was set to run in 802.11n mode for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, as it lacks the 802.11ac standard.

At close range, the N750 offers decent performance, with an exceptionally high writing speed in the 5GHz band. Medium range drops off in the 2.4GHz band, but shows other, more expensive routers a thing or two in the 5GHz band. The final long range test showed very good performance in the 2.4GHz band, but this didn't carry over to the 5GHz range, where the connection repeatedly dropped. Overall, we'd have to say that the N750 is a very respectable performer, especially at this price point.

2.4GHz Read and Write (R/W in Mbps)

  • Billion 7800NXL
  • Netgear D6300
  • Linksys EA6500
  • WD N750

  • 150.98 W 36.89 R 97.98 W 82.64 R 98.17 W 79.24 R 89.79 W 97.33 R
    Location one (same room, 3 metres, no obstruction)
  • 57.77 W 44.07 R 86.23 W 78.31 R 71.25 W 96.93 R 62.98 W 71.45 R
    Location two (next room, 5 metres, one brick wall)
  • 3.58 W 5.72 R 3.2 W 0 R 18.42 W 25.35 R 11.03 W 20.36 R
    Location three (three rooms away, 10 metres, three brick walls)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


5GHz Read and Write (R/W in Mbps)

  • Netgear D6300 (802.11ac)
  • Linksys EA6500 (802.11ac)
  • WD N750 (802.11n)
  • D-Link AC 1750 (802.11ac)
  • Linksys WUMC710 (802.11ac)

  • 104.77 W 72.11 R 113.22 W 89.58 R 135.79 W 104.06 R 116.92 W 124.82 R 76.93 W 81.09 R
    Location one (same room, 3 metres, no obstruction)
  • 74.29 W 68.31 R 70.37 W 70.74 R 103.44 W 77.96 R 119.31 W 120.24 R 46.64 W 43.32 R
    Location two (next room, 5 metres, one brick wall)
  • 7.25 W 28.7 R 39.18 W 46.87 R 20.81 W 0 R 0 W 0 R 21.65 W 22.87 R
    Location three (three rooms away, 10 metres, three concrete walls)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Warranty

A three year limited warranty is one of the best in Australia, but users should note that they're covered for even longer by the Australian Consumer Law.

Conclusion

We're rather impressed by the N750, even if it did struggle with long range tests in the 5GHz band. With a wealth of features, an excellent user experience and very respectable performance, the low price is a pleasant surprise. Throw in a lengthy warranty, and this is a fantastic router built for today's devices.

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ThomasH3 posted a comment   

As an electrical/electronic designer and engineer I'm very confused with this information. Why show w/r performance for different routers as a function of attenuation by different building distances and construction? The building construction has absolutely nothing to do with the output of the transmitter. If there are differences it is purely a function of the building, nothing to do with the router performances. I suggest that a lot of the relative ratings of the performance of different routers shown here is the result of defective test methodology.




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User Reviews / Comments  WD My Net N750

  • ThomasH3

    ThomasH3

    "As an electrical/electronic designer and engineer I'm very confused with this information. Why show w/r performance for different routers as a function of attenuation by different building distanc..."

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