Have you ever been watching a Hulu video on your iPad when someone in your house starts downloading a big file, reducing your weekly dose of Hell's Kitchen to a paralyzed "buffering" screen? That's a problem Western Digital aims to solve with its My Net Wi-Fi routers -- the first networking products from the company -- which can prioritize video traffic.
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WD calls the tech FasTrack, and it analyzes your data stream in real time to ensure that specific entertainment sources get to be first in line in your Wi-Fi network. Besides Hulu, the router can identify video traffic from Netflix, YouTube, Vudu, Xbox Live, Skype and others. And it's not just video -- games are given the VIP treatment as well.
In the case of streaming services like Netflix, where the video doesn't necessarily stop playing but its video quality will suffer, FasTrack can help there, too, keeping that episode of The Walking Dead nice and sharp while your roommate downloads Photoshop. You can see the My Net routers in action in the WD video below.
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If the idea of setting up a new router makes you cower in a corner to question the meaning of life, WD has something else to calm your nerves: a streamlined setup app that lets you configure the My Net router from your iPhone or iPad. Need to change something later? Just fire up the app to enable security, adjust parental settings or change your password.
Pairing the My Net with storage is a no-brainer, and WD offers models with either a 1TB or 2TB drive built right into the router. You can use the storage as a backup device (it's compatible with the default backup systems on both Macs and PCs -- including Windows 8) or a "personal cloud" that you can access from anywhere, or both.
The top-of-the-line My Net N900 Central pairs a dual-band router that can push data as fast as 900 megabits per second (Mbps) with either a 1TB ($300) or 2TB drive ($350). There's an extra USB port for hooking up a networked printer or even more storage.
If you just want the router with no storage, there's the My Net N900 for $180, which has the same specs except it includes two USB ports. The My Net N750 ($120) and N600 ($80) round out the line with somewhat lower data rates (750 and 600 Mbps, respectively). There's also wired My Net switch available, with eight ports, for $70.
How do you like WD's first venture into the router business? Share your thoughts in the comments.
My Net N900 Central
Speeds up to 900 Mbps, $300 for 1TB storage, $250 for 2TB.
This story originally published on Mashable here.