Installation went smoothly and by the numbers, the web interface is fast, attractive and illustrates what the user should be connecting to what, with obvious diagrams showing if there was success or not.
The system is designed to hook off an existing ADSL/cable router; if you're doing that then everything should work fine, and if not then you're going to run into headaches with the external media sharing.
When testing wireless devices we put them through a number of set real-life environments to emulate how the devices could be used in homes and offices.
The first is a standard same-room test, the second places a solid brick wall between the router a room away and the last is a line-of-sight 25m distance test to see how the router copes with that.
For this WD My Net N900 Central we ran upstream and downstream speed tests at both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
The new 450mbps rating requires three antenna on the receiving laptop, and despite Intel Wi-Fi Link AGN adaptors supporting this few laptops offer the three antennas.
Limited to 300mbps connections the WD My Net N900 Central puts in an above-average but solid performance; more so at its 5GHz range, managing 17.2MB/s in the same room, and rising to a good 17.9/MB/s one room away.
But it performed far less well at 25m, dropping to 3.4MB/s. At 2.4GHz performance was, if anything, sub-mediocre in the same room at 8.8MB/s, but a room away reached a more acceptable 13.8MB/s.
Switching to 450mbps unleashed the router at 5GHz in a same-room scenario with class-leading 27.6MB/s downloads and upload pushed to a staggering 36MB/s.
At one room away these remained very strong with 23MB/s downstream and 31.5MB/s upstream. Though distance performance remained average at around 4.7MB/s downstream.
As we've seen with other routers NAS drive performance is slow, lacklustrely plodding along at around 10MB/s via wireless and 20MB/s via LAN.
This hinders its use for storing gigabyte-sized files, especially when you consider Gigabit connections should hit 125MB/s.
While a DLNA server is included there are no transcoding features, which isn't unexpected but this does mean to be of any use your target device has to directly support the files stored on the internal drive.
We remain fans of the WD 2go app that makes it easy to access files on most mobile devices with the use of a four-digit PIN.