Western Digital unveiled a new dual-band wireless network extender on Thursday called the My Net Wi-Fi Range Extender. As the name implies, this gadget is an added component to your home or office network, picking up the Wi-Fi signals from your current router and injecting the coverage into previously out-of-reach dead-zone areas.
"Today's home is filled with multiple Wi-Fi connected devices simultaneously streaming movies, music and TV shows on services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU and others," explains Scott Vouri, general manager for WD's connected life solutions group. "The My Net Wi-Fi Range Extender provides faster speeds at greater distances, enabling HD streaming to the outermost areas of the home."
Unlike competing products with only two antennas, WD's new range extender features a 3x3 multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) antenna array design, extending both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands (if available). With more antennas you get faster, stronger and more reliable network coverage in more places in your home, the company claims.
As with other extenders, customers can either use Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) to connect the WD device to their existing home network with a push of a button, or presumably take the manual route by physically connecting a desktop or laptop to the extender's Gigabit Ethernet port to configure the connection via a web-based interface.
Along the side of the range extender are three sets of blue LEDs that offer a visual indicator of the network's signal strength. Thus, if the first set of lights are on, the wireless signal is strong enough for Internet use. If the middle set of lights are on, the signal is strong enough for backup and watching low resolution video. All the lights come on when the device is placed in the optimal location.
The My Net Wi-Fi Range Extender is compatible with all Wi-Fi certified routers and gateways, as well as all wireless Wi-Fi standards, from 802.11a to 802.11ac, WD said. The gadget's overall dimensions are 2 (H) x 6 (D) x 5.2-inches (W), and it weighs a mere 0.44-pounds. Unfortunately, what's missing from this extender is a USB port for sharing files from a USB stick or external hard drive like the Wireless-N 600mW Gigabit Dual Band Repeater from Amped Wireless (SR20000G).
My Net Wi-Fi Range Extender is available now at select U.S. retailers and online at wdstore.com for a MSRP of $89.99 USD.