Western Digital My Net AC Bridge review

While the WD's bridge gets points for an easy setup, a well-designed interface and its capability to work as a wireless bridge, it gave poor performance in testing.
Photo of Western Digital My Net AC Bridge

The Western Digital MyNet Wi-Fi Bridge is an 11ac bridge designed to work primarily with Western Digital’s MyNet AC1300 router. Although the purpose of using the MyNet bridge with the AC1300 router is to deliver 11ac speeds to a network, you can use the bridge to connect to any 802.11n router that supports the 5GHz band. The Wi-Fi bridge, which connects wirelessly to a router, has four Gigabit Ethernet ports that can be used to connect TVs, gaming consoles, NASes, or any other device you want, to a router’s network. The MyNet Wi-Fi Bridge is easy to set up, has an easy-to-use interface, and is extremely uncomplicated to manage—everything you want in a wireless bridge. The one big issue I had with the device: poor performance in testing.

Design
Western Digital’s bridge is similar in design to the MyNet AC1300 router, except it’s a tad smaller, has an attached base, and operates upright.

The rear panel houses a power button, a WPS button for connecting WPS-supported clients, and four Gigabit Ethernet ports. On the front of the device are four LEDs which provide status of power, WPS, WAN, and wireless activity.

Setting Up the MyNet Bridge
The MyNet bridge ships with a hard copy guide instructing how to get it set up. Setup is very simple. The bridge can connect to a router via WPS. The enclosed guide illustrates how to plug in the power and press the WPS buttons on both the bridge and router to pair them up. Remember, as mentioned above, because this bridge supports 11ac, it only connects to routers that can operate on the 5GHz band.

I pressed the WPS button on the bridge until the LED for WPS started to blink. Next, I pressed the WPS button on the MyNet AC1300 router.  The LEDs for wireless and WAN lit up on both devices—first blinking and then glowing solid blue. At this point, the bridge was connected to the router.

Just to confirm it had connected, I went into the router’s web-based GUI. I was able to see the bridge listed under the area in the router’s interface displaying connected clients.

Configuration and Testing
Checking the bridge’s connection status within the router’s interface gave me the IP address that the router’s DHCP server assigned to the bridge. With this IP, I was able to access the bridge’s own web-based interface.

There isn’t a whole lot to set up with a bridge. A bridge inherits a router’s settings, including its wireless security level. However, you can use the bridge’s interface to connect it to a router in cases where you can’t use WPS (for example, an older router that may not support WPS).

You can also assign the bridge a static IP address through its interface. There are management tasks that can be performed in the interface as well including changing the admin password, upgrading the firmware, rebooting the bridge, or resetting it back to factory default.

For testing the performance of bridges, I upload a 1.5GB file wirelessly to a NAS first connected to a router, and then connected to the bridge.

Connected to the AC1300 router, copying the file from a laptop to the NAS clocked in just under 4 minutes, about 6.25MBps. In comparison, copying a file to the NAS with the NAS connected to the bridge was painfully slow. In fact, after 15 minutes, not even a third of the file was copied!

Contrast this to the Linksys WUMC710 Wireless-AC Wi-Fi 5GHz Universal Media Connector Bridge with 4-Port Switch. Using the same file and NAS, a copy job to the WUMC710 took 1 minutes and 42 seconds. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why there’s such a discrepancy between performance of the WUMC710 and the MyNet Bridge—but there is quite a difference.

Questionable Performance
The general rule of thumb with networking hardware is that using devices all or mostly from the same company can optimize performance and make networking components work more harmoniously. However, I can’t ignore that abysmal performance time in copying a file to the MyNet Bridge versus copying the same file to the AC1300 router. Whenever I perform this test, the numbers should be within a reasonable range of one another, no more than 5MBps slower or faster for either device.  For that, I would eschew convention and suggest if you are looking for a bridge that supports 11ac and the 5GHz band, the  is a better bet than the Western Digital MyNet Bridge.

While the WD’s bridge is gets points for an easy setup, a well-designed interface, and does bridge devices to your wireless network, the WUMC710 is just as easy to set up and performed better in testing.

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Specifications
Networking Options 802.11n (2.4+5 GHz Dualband), 802.11ac draft
Access Control Lists Based on MAC Addresses Yes
Security WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)

Verdict
While the WD's bridge gets points for an easy setup, a well-designed interface and its capability to work as a wireless bridge, it gave poor performance in testing.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc