What is MoCA Home Networking?
MoCA stands for Multimedia over Coax which is a new home networking technology that uses the coax cable (cable TV cable) in the home to carry Ethernet traffic. MoCA networking is especially useful for carrying audio / video traffic because of it’s high speed and reliability (limited interference) and range in the home. MoCA networking is being used by cable TV and satellite companies for the Multiroom DVR feature and is also available for retail consumers who want to add wired home networking for Xbox, Internet TVs, Bluray Players, etc… without having to install Ethernet cable in their homes.
Which retail manufacturers offer MoCA home networking products?
The current retail brands that offer MoCA home networking products are NETGEAR, D-LINK, Channel Master, and ACTIONTEC and are primarily Ethernet-To-Coax adapter (ECA) products or WiFi/Ethernet-to-Coax (WECA) access points and routers. TiVo now offers DVR and STB products that also have MoCA networking built in. These products all interoperate with each other via the MoCA standard. They can be found at most major online and brick and mortar stores that carry home networking products. These bridges are mostly sold in pairs since most households will need 1 bridge by their router and 1 bridge to connect to another room ie Living Room. If you are fortunate enough to already have a MoCA-enabled router, for instance a Verizon FiOS customer, you can use both bridges to connect to 2 other rooms.
WARNING: Do not use the passthrough coax connector (labelled TO TV or TO STB) on the MoCA ECAs to connect to another MoCA device (like another bridge or MoCA set-top box) as it will block the MoCA signal from passing through. Use an inexpensive 1-to-2 splitter (from Radio Shack or online) so both MoCA devices will receive the MoCA signal.
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How many MoCA bridges can be connected to build a network?
Up to 16 MoCA devices can be on a network using MoCA 1.1.
What is the maximum throughput of the MoCA bridge?
The maximum possible throughput is 175 Mbps (send + receive). Real performance may significantly vary depending on the distance between the devices, the quality of the cabling and other factors. The rated physical layer speed is 270 Mbps which includes network overhead, error correction, etc… Most MoCA bridges have 10/100 Ethernet ports so these devices will have 100 Mbps limit in any one direction.
How do I connect more than one Ethernet device (Xbox, PS3, Tivo, Sling, …) to my MoCA bridge?
Some vendors sell a 4-port MoCA adapter which allows 4 devices to connect through the adapter. If your MoCA adapter only has one port, you can connect it to an Ethernet switch with usually 5-ports or 8-ports to gain additional ports. Ethernet switches are inexpensive and available from most major home networking manufacturers.
What is the recommended maximum range between units?
Recommended maximum of 300 feet of cable between the root node and the coax outlet.
Will MoCA products from different manufacturers work together?
Yes, MoCA is a standard like WiFi so products from different manufacturers are tested to make sure they are interoperable.
Does MoCA work with my satellite TV service?
The current MoCA cable products only work with cable TV, FiOS or off-air TV services. This is because the frequency band which the current MoCA products use, 850-1550 MHz will interfere with satellite TV signals (but don’t interfere with cable or offair signals).
DirecTV has announced MoCA for their coax network although the frequency band (<800 MHz) they are using is below what is being used for cable. Therefore the DirecTV MoCA bridges will only work with DirecTV installations, unless you have a totally separate coax network for cable/off air. Another requirement is that the customer have a SWM (Single Wire Multi-Switch) install which is being put into all new HD households. DirecTV’s MoCA bridge is called DECA (DirecTV Ethernet-to-Coax Adapter) and is available from various online retailers.
DISH Network is also part of the MoCA standards committee and launched their HOPPER DVR system which uses MoCA networking.
Does MoCA work with my Verizon FiOS or AT&T U-Verse?
MoCA products will work with Verizon FiOS and not interfere with the TV signal. If you have a Verizon FiOS set-top box and a MoCA adapter, use a splitter to separate the coax cable. AT&T U-Verse uses a separate coax networking technology (HPNA) which is not compatible with MoCA, so will not work with a MoCA network.
Can I daisy chain MoCA devices together?
No. Daisy chaining MoCA devices (i.e. connecting one MoCA device through the TV Out port of another) is not recommended because the TV Out port filters out the MoCA signal.
How can I improve the performance of the MoCA bridge?
Installing a Point of Entry (POE) filter could possibly improve the performance of your MoCA home network. The POE filter is installed at the cable point of entry to your home and keeps the MoCA signals from leaking out of your home’s cable system. The filter actually reflects MoCA signals back in to your home coax which may boost your signal strength resulting in better performance. Ask your product manufacturer about where to obtain a POE filter. UPDATE: POE filters are available from Soontai or their distributor Power & Tel Supply.
Does a CATV amplifier affect the performance of the MoCA bridge?
Yes. A CATV amplifier can block or interfere with the MoCA signal and cause the MoCA bridge to malfunction. Avoid placing an amplifier in the path of the MoCA nodes unless it properly bypasses the MoCA frequencies (850 to 1525 MHz) or use a moCA-compatible amp.
Is it normal that TV picture becomes worse as MoCA bridge is powered off?
Yes. If the TV is connected to the “Coax Out” port of the bridge, the TV picture can become worse when the bridge is powered off. The user can connect TV to an external splitter, instead of the “Coax Out” port, to resolve the issue.
My cable service provider already has a MoCA network set up in my home, how do I join the existing network?
To join an existing MoCA network, first install MoCA bridge normally to see if it connects automatically with no password. If it doesn’t connect, try resetting your MoCA bridges and then connecting them back-to-back to make sure they can connect separately from the MoCA network. If the bridges work properly and it still doesn’t connect to your network, contact your service provider for their MoCA network password and add it to bridge using the configuration utility.
What data transfer rates do I need for HDTV (High Definition TV)?
The amount of bandwidth needed to transfer HD video depends on the resolution of the video (e.g. 720p, 1080i, 1080p) and the size of the file. MoCA has more than enough bandwidth to transfer many HD streams simultaneously.
720p – 6+ Mbps recommended
1080i – 8+ Mbps recommended
1080p – 10+ Mbps recommended