Western Digital this week confirmed a new line of home networking routers, marking the storage specialist's entry into a new market and putting it in closer competition with everyone from Cisco, D-Link and Netgear to emerging Asian companies such as ZTE and TP Link that also target consumer networking customers.
New from Western Digital is the My Net family of products, intended for speedier delivery of rich media content such as movies and games. According to Western Digital, the routers use its FasTrack technology as a way to detect entertainment traffic on the network and move it quickly to gaming consoles, media players, tablets and various other Wi-Fi devices.
"Our successes in creating Connected Home solutions with our WD TV media players and personal cloud products have given us valuable insights into the network-overload problems of home wireless users, and entering the wireless home networking market offers WD an exciting opportunity to strengthen our Connected Home offerings that are aimed at enhancing the home entertainment experience for consumers," Jim Welsh, executive vice president for Western Digital's branded products and consumer electronics group, said in a statement.
Reached by CRN, a spokesperson for Western Digital declined to say whether the company is considering a push into business-grade networking products but said Western Digital is "always looking at furthering our product line."
The new routers include the My Net N900 Central, a dual-band, 802.11n storage router featuring speeds up to 900 Mbps, integrated 1 TB ($299.99) or 2 TB ($349.99) internal storage for automating wireless backup, four LAN and one WLAN Gigabit Ethernet ports, one USB port, and range amplifier antennas. Other models include the My Net N900 ($179.99), which adds more LAN and USB ports among other features, and the My Net N750 ($119.99) and My Net N600 ($79.99), which offer slightly different features and slower speeds. Topping it off is a My Net Switch ($69.99), an eight-port Gigabit home entertainment switch for expanding home connections.
The My Net N900 Central will be available next quarter. All the other new products were available through Western Digital and U.S. retailers starting June 14.
Western Digital has been busy on the IT channel front lately, too. In March, it rolled out a new partner program called myWD, in which it awards points to solution providers based on sales of Western Digital products sourced through distribution. MyWD replaced Western Digital's previous selectWD program.