What is MoCA, and how can it solve networking problems in some older homes?

Ever since cable television came onto the scene over half a century ago, there have probably been millions of miles of coaxial cable installed inside homes. And in homes built in the pre-Internet era, you sometimes hear the lament that the owner or tenant wishes they had a network (Ethernet) cable, where only a coaxial cable now exists.

This can impact us Free-to-Air satellite viewers, too. It may be that we have a satellite receiver or a combined PVR backend/frontend with a satellite tuner card located next to the TV set, but no network connection there. Or we may not have a problem getting the network connection to the backend server, but maybe we want to watch TV using a computer running Kodi in an upstairs bedroom where only a coaxial cable connection is available. As long as there is a coaxial cable that runs from that location to a place where an Internet connection exists, we can use that cable as a network connection.

Of course, there are also other possibilities besides the coaxial cable. You could try to use WiFi, and many people do, but this can be problematic for several reasons, particularly in multi-level homes. You could also try Ethernet to powerline adapters, which can work reasonably well in some situations, but often don’t support high speed connections. The best solution, and possibly the most cost-effective one if you can do it yourself, would be to just run a new Ethernet cable. But perhaps you are in a situation where that would be a major effort, where there is no clear and easy route for new cable. And, perhaps you are not so lucky as to find that Cat 5e or Cat 6 Ethernet cable was installed for telephone wiring that’s no longer used, and could therefore be repurposed as a network cable. But you do have that coaxial cable coming into the room, so you could use that for your network connection.

What you need is a pair of MoCA complaint Ethernet to Coax Adapters. If you need the cable to carry both TV signals and the local network, make sure the adapters support that.  You should look for devices that support at least MoCA 2.0.

This is an example of such a unit; remember you need a pair of them.
Actiontec ECB6200 Bonded MoCA 2.0 Network Adapter
This is not exactly an inexpensive solution; a pair of these will set you back around $150, give or take some.  But that might be cheaper than hiring a professional to try and fish a new network cable through your walls, and in many cases it will offer a far more reliable connection than WiFi. There is a review and thread about the pictured device here.

To find more of these units, search Amazon or another online retailer, using a search string such as “MoCA 2.0 Ethernet to Coax Adapter”. I do NOT recommend buying off of eBay, at least not unless the seller has a 100% feedback rating, because in my opinion eBay has become a haven for scam artists. And it appears you can no longer trust eBay’s feedback system, since negative feedback apparently simply disappears with no explanation. You may find a lower price, but whether you will get a pair of working adapters is anyone’s guess.

For more on MoCA, see this article: Networking 101: What is MoCA?.

Please note: For safety reasons, if you are running cable between unconnected buildings, I highly recommend using fiber optic cable rather than coaxial.

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