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Answered: What Is MoCA on a Router?

Learn about how MoCA-enabled routers/modems can allow you to get faster Wi-Fi speeds throughout your home.

MoCA Device - Actiontec by Screenbeam MoCA 2.5 Network Adapter for Ethernet Over Coax Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

Last Updated: October 5, 2021

Written by Kevin Jones

What Is MoCA on a Modem/Router?

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MoCA support on a modem router combo device allows you to use a coax cable for Ethernet. In other words, your home network can use your home's TV or internet coax cables rather than Ethernet cables.

The popular new use case for this is to use MoCA as an Ethernet backhaul for your Wi-Fi Mesh network.

Coax Ethernet backhaul means that you are using your home's coax wiring with MoCA adapters to connect the router to the satellite nodes. Wired backhauls will result in a fast connection throughout your house, ideally without needing additional in-wall wiring.

MoCA adapters in a home network adapt an Ethernet cable to a coax cable and then back to an Ethernet cable. However, MoCA adapters allow for a multi-point network, connecting multiple Ethernet cables as a hub does. You can use MoCA Home adapters for extending any network or internet connection over a coax cable.

Modem router combo devices with built-in MoCA support act as a MoCA adapter. Built-in MoCA support means only one additional MoCA adapter is required to form a MoCA network.

I don't currently recommend purchasing a new modem router combo device with built-in MoCA support as the presently available devices only support MoCA 1.1 speeds. Instead, if you don't already have a modem router combo device with MoCA support, I'd recommend getting standalone MoCA adapters.

Use Cases for MoCA Adapters

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  • Backhaul for a Mesh Wi-Fi System (i.e., a wired backbone for the Wi-Fi satellites).
  • Extend wireless coverage.
  • Use existing coax cables as a replacement for Ethernet cables.
  • Get Internet access to hard-to-reach places in your home.
  • Use wired connections to avoid Wi-Fi interference from neighbors.
  • Avoid the latency of Wi-Fi while playing games on consoles and computers.
  • A secure alternative to Wi-Fi when using a MoCA POE Filter.

What Is MoCA?

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MoCA, which stands for Multimedia over Coax Alliance, is a standards group that defined how networking can occur over coax cables via MoCA Adapters.

MoCA was initially developed for streaming video over the Internet for set-top boxes and smart TVs but is now available for general use in home networks.

The primary advantage of using a MoCA network rather than traditional Ethernet cables is that it provides the convenience of using a home's existing coax cables for Ethernet communication.

The example below has a MoCA adapter connected to the primary Wi-Fi router.

If you have a modem router combo that supports MoCA, your setup is even more straightforward! The upper left MoCA adapter in the diagram isn't needed.

Example MoCA Home Network Example MoCA Home Network Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

MoCA for Mesh Wi-Fi Ethernet Backhaul

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Mesh Wi-Fi Systems are becoming more popular as they simplify getting Wi-Fi signals into hard-to-reach locations of a home. They create a Wi-Fi network with multiple Wi-Fi access points to spread out the Wi-Fi coverage. Each of these Wi-Fi access points is called a satellite node.

However, as each satellite node in a Mesh System is just repeating Wi-Fi data to transport it to and from the router, there may be a performance penalty.

To avoid the lower performance via satellite nodes, you can run Ethernet cables between the main router and satellite nodes. Using this wired connection is called "Ethernet Backhaul."

The drawback to using only Ethernet cables is that your home may not already be wired for Ethernet. To avoid adding additional Ethernet wiring, you can instead use MoCA as a coax Ethernet backhaul.

Example MoCA Home Network Example MoCA Home Network Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

What You Need to Set Up a Home MoCA Network

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Setting up a MoCA Home network is quite simple, as it often requires no software configuration.

  • If you have a router that supports MoCA already, you need a minimum of one additional MoCA adapter.
  • If your router does not support MoCA, or you want to create a separate coax network for MoCA, then you'll need at least two MoCA adapters.

MoCA adapters may come with short Ethernet cables and a coax splitter.

  • If your MoCA adapters don't come with Ethernet cables, you'll need Cat 6 or Cat 6a Ethernet cables for each adapter.
  • If your MoCA adapters don't come with coax cables, you'll need short RG-6 coax cables to connect each adapter to the wall.
  • If your MoCA adapters don't come with coax splitters and you are connecting multiple cables, you'll need MoCA compatible coax splitters that support up to 1625 MHz.

To ensure that the MoCA communication is not accessible by a neighbor, you'll need to ensure that the coax cable coming into your home has a MoCA POE Filter. MoCA POE Filters block 1 GHz frequencies and also reflect them, which improves MoCA communication.

Find MoCA 2.5 Adapters on Amazon (affiliate link).

Find MoCA POE Filters on Amazon (affiliate link).

Find MoCA-compatible Coax Splitters on Amazon (affiliate link).

Check out my Ultimate Cable Internet Wiring & Optimization Guide for additional cable setup guidance.

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Best MoCA 2.5 Adapter: Actiontec ECB7250 Bonded MoCA 2.5 Network Adapter

  • While older versions only use a 1 Gbps network port, the ECB7250 uses a 2.5 Gbps port, allowing for maximum network utilization.

  • Includes most of what you'll need, including two adapters and power supplies, two network cables, two coax cables, and a coax splitter.

  • The instructions are a bit lacking, but it's straightforward to set up initially. The instructions seem to avoid discussing the MPS button, but that won't be needed for most installations.

  • You'll probably want also to buy a MoCA POE Filter if your ISP didn't already install one.

  • Check the latest price of the Actiontec ECB7250 Bonded MoCA 2.5 Network Adapter on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Actiontec ECB7250 Bonded MoCA 2.5 Network Adapter

Best MoCA Wi-Fi Extender: Actiontec WCB6200Q

  • The Actiontec WCB6200Q is an excellent solution if you:

    • Have a modem-router combo with MoCA support; or
    • Want to use MoCA for Ethernet backhaul from this Wi-Fi extender to the router.
  • 4x4 802.11AC Wi-Fi can use the full bandwidth of the MoCA 2.0 bonded connection (1 Gbps) with devices that support streaming to all four antennas (4x4 MIMO).

  • It only supports MoCA 2.0 Bonded speeds, but that should be enough for most internet streaming purposes.

  • Check the latest price of the Actiontec WCB6200Q 802.11ac WiFi Extender with Bonded MoCA on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Actiontec WCB6200Q 802.11ac Desktop WiFi Extender with Bonded MoCA

MoCA Setup Tips

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Interoperability

  • MoCA is incompatible with Satellite TV, Dish, Direct TV, and AT&T U-verse TV, which use the same frequency bands.
  • Coax amplifiers and splitters will need to support the frequencies of up to 1625 MHz used by MoCA.
  • Using MoCA over RG-6 coax cables is best, but it may still work over older cables.
  • MoCA adapters are generally backward compatible but will run at lower speeds when used with older versions.

Find MoCA-compatible Coax Splitters on Amazon (affiliate link).

MoCA POE Filter

MoCA Point of Entry Filters filter out the 1 GHz+ frequencies used by MoCA devices.

MoCA devices commonly include DVRs and MoCA adapters and can be used for Ethernet communication over a coax cable.

MoCA POE Filters are beneficial for privacy, to prevent leaking data to your nearby neighbors, as well as reducing noise on the line.

They also reflect the MoCA frequencies, which can be desirable for improved MoCA device communication.

Your cable provider may have already installed a MoCA POE Filter with one of these labels:

  • Do not remove—Required for multi-room DVR operation
  • Do not remove—Required for whole-home DVR operation
  • Do not remove—Required for any-room DVR operation

Despite the phrasing, these filters also apply to MoCA adapters for Ethernet usage. The main reason for this wording is that DVR set-top boxes are a more common usage of MoCA.

Find MoCA POE Filters on Amazon (affiliate link).

Learn More About MoCA Adapters

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Learn more about MoCA adapters in my article, Ethernet Over Coax?! A Complete Guide to MoCA Adapters.