problem with connecting the router located upstairs to the basement, where there’s no Ethernet wiring, and where my media hub is currently happen to be. For various reasons in-wall network cabling installation wasn’t an option. It got to be wired LAN though.
“What an odd problem” – you probably say – “he never heard about wifi”?
Well, yes I have, but there are issues with wifi, and plenty of it. The issues are especially noticeable when you’re trying to stream 1080p or even 720p video with a decent bit rate. See, wifi is very much dependent on environment, and guess what – environment doesn’t really care about wifi. Even strongest wifi adapter won’t necessarily do well in noisy environment.
On your right I hand picked a list of the Ethernet over powerline or coax adapters I consider the best Ethernet adapters 2010.
On the way from your router or access point to the home theater computer somewhere downstairs the signal has to pass few walls or floors – and each 2 degree angle through a floor will make the floor appear to be 42 feet thick, which doesn’t help for maintaining great and stable transfer rate.
If you have 2.4MHz cordless phones, microwaves, baby monitors, wireless video cameras, they all crowd up the same space where your wifi is trying to live.
And remember about your neighbors, especially if you live in condo, and even more if that condo is located in city.
No, I’m not trying to say that wifi doesn’t work, I’m just saying that it has way too many reasons to go up and down in transfer rate whenever it feels like that. If it decides to slow down to a crawl exactly when you’re watching your favorite action movie – it that very moment! Arghhh!
To make the long story short, instead of looking into how to increase signal strength of wireless router I decided to see if what other, superior yet affordable enough options to network the entire house from up to down. In the worst case I would have to look into home network cabling, but I didn’t have to.
First thing that comes to mind is powerline Ethernet adapter. Quite popular relatively inexpensive networking devices that can plug into standard home power outlets in order to create a network connection between conventional or wireless Ethernet and power lines in the home. In-home wiring provides the links between rooms and around the house, while standard Ethernet or wireless devices handle the links between the HomePlug powerline adaptor and computers or other networking gear.
Powerline network adapters could be one great solution for those who want to connect computers to the network in rooms with no in-wall outlets, especially in condos or apartment. Ethernet powerline appears to be easy choice – given that electrical wiring already goes everywhere, it’s a shame not to take advantage of it for your network, isn’t it? However, the inherent problem of power line Ethernet as a way to wire your house is – if it works for your neighbor it doesn’t necessarily means it’s going to work for you. Reported throughput of all these Powerline AV devices is often rather disappointing. Curious why? Read on…
In real world house or apartment Powerline AV adapters may sit on different circuits, so signals have to pass through the primary circuit box to get from one adapter to the other. This could reduce throughput by 30% or even more, which means you have to no way to know how well power over Ethernet adapter will work at your place until you buy it and try.
Ok, so Powerline might work, or might not, so what else could we try? One yummy word: “Moca”. Netgear MoCA Coax-Ethernet adapter to be precise. This device works, and not just works, but works extremely well. Personally I consider it THE best wired Ethernet solution for home if you can’t run a network cable.
What Netgear Moca did for me, it made me stop worrying about signal strength, antennas, electronic noise, etc. It just works.
What is MoCA Adapter?
It is a a bridge, in fact it is a Ethernet to coax bridge, build based on CableLabe specification that allows devices to utilize the unused bandwidth on the coax at your house, yes, that very coax you use to connect your cable TV box. So if you really want to stop trying to stream HD via wifi or power-line, read carefully on where Moca excels and where it won’t do.
Moca acts as coax to Ethernet adapter: regular coax cable between two Moca adapters works just like a regular network cable.
While this little box looks like a home router, it’s Ethernet to coax bridge. You need at least two devices: on in, one out, but you can connect up to 16 of them if you need a connection in every corner. Each device has a single Ethernet socket, and two coax connections. The coax connections work in pass through mode so you can continue to use the coax cable to pass TV signal as usual. One important note: Moca isn’t compatible with satellite – they use overlapping frequency bands – so it’s for cable only.
Moca Advantages over Powerline and Wifi
The greatest advantage of Moca technology over power line Ethernet or wifi is stable connection. Coax cables are designed to protect the signal from as much interference as possible, and coax does it better then any other sort of cable, and of course wireless, which often suffers from so many other radio devices at home. It’s recently confirmed that HD video streaming over Moca connection keeps users nearly ecstatic.
Also, coax in-wall sockets are naturally available next to AV equipment, which not only allows to hide MoCA adapter among other boxes, but it also allows to conveniently connect other audio video, home automation, and security equipment. For example, I placed my iCamView network camera at every place where I have MoCA connection.
Due to the fact MoCA Ethernet connection is very stable, it also allows to place such latency sensitive equipment as SIP VoIP adapter in places without in-wall CAT5 cable connection – without MoCA it would be literally unthinkable.
Netgear Moca setupHow to use MoCA? Setup took me literally few minutes, it just couldn’t be simpler. Simply unscrew the cable connection and plug Moca adapter in between the wall cable socket and your coax cable (short coax cable is provided), do it on both sides. No other coax cable adapter required, and you don’t need any CAT5e wiring besides few short Ethernet patch cables to connect the devices.
Time saving tip: if anything goes wrong, find a tiny Reset button on the back of the device, and reset the adapter to factory default settings by pressing longer than 10 seconds. In rare cases a problem may arise if signal must pass old coaxial cable splitter.
MoCA and Satellite System
Officially MoCA doesn’t work with Satellite TV boxes due to overlapping frequencies, however if you’re technically inclined, you might try to game the system. Citing Tim Higgins @SmallNetBuilder.com
You would need to put the device in All pass mode, then install an external diplexer to restrict operation to frequencies that don’t interfere with your particular satellite system.
There might be just enough non-overlapping range to make it actually work.
MoCA Adapter Security
Does MoCA encrypt the data passed between devices just like WiFi does> This question asked countless times, as Netgear documentation is a bit unclear on that. Well, the answer is: All MoCA devices support the same encryption. MoCA doesn’t encrypt the network traffic; it simply instructs adapters to only communicate with those others that have the same passcode.
Is MoCA safe? Considering that MoCA is consumer standard, in my opinion it is safe enough for home network. Unlike WiFI that can be reached from far away using long range antenna, to hack into MoCA setup, besides “guessing” the passcode, intruder would have to physically plug his own adapter into your cable wiring. This is a task serious enough so anyone who would go this far is likely to have a good reason for that. And those who may possibly have something that valuable in their home network are better to have other network security measures setup that would render merely plugging ineffective. Regular consumers are better to make sure their Wi-Fi router uses AES encryption as WiFi is by far easier method to break into your network.
What Netgear Moca did for me, it made me stop worrying about signal strength, antennas, electronic noise, etc. Once connected it just works with transfer rate twice as much of what’s required for HD video. Copying large files isn’t a problem anymore too. When I’ll need to connect more rooms in the house I’ll just buy and plug more Moca adapters – it’s that simple!
If you’re sick of trying to make wifi or powerline work for HD video or large traffic – go with Netgear MoCA Coax-Ethernet adapter, you won’t be disappointed.
- Model: MCAB1001 is the MoCA Coax-Ethernet Adapter Kit and MCA1001 is a single MoCA Coax-Ethernet Adapter. The MCAB1001 kit includes Two (2) MCA1001 units.
- Dimension: 25.4 x 171.5 x 111.1 mm (1.0 x 6.75 x 4.38 in)
- Weight: 0.28 kg (0.62 lb)
- Speed: 270 Mbps
- MoCA 1.1 certified
- Ensures interoperability with MoCA 1.0 and 1.1 certified products
- Ensures compatibility with cable and DSL service provider networks in homes wired with coax
- One (1) LAN-10/100 Mbps Ethernet RJ45 port
- One (1) F-type MoCA 1.0
- One (1) F-type out to TV tuner
- 5V, 1A power adapter, localized to country of sale
- Maximum 300 feet of cable between root node and outlet
- No amplifiers in the path between MoCA nodes unless they are appropriate bypassed at MoCA frequencies (875~1500 MHz)
- Two (2) MoCA Coax-Ethernet Adapters (MCA1001)
- Two (2) RG-6 Coax cables with F-type connectors (1 meter/3.28 ft)
- Two (2) Ethernet cables (1.5 meters/4.92 ft)
- Two (2) power adapters
- Setup CD
- Warranty/support information card
- NETGEAR 1-year Warranty
MoCA coax Ethernet adapter is currently the best way to network your house without Ethernet wiring.
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