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MoCA vs. Powerline? - Which You Should Buy (2021)

Find out if MoCA adapters (Ethernet over coax) or Powerline adapters (Ethernet over powerline) are better for your home Ethernet network.

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

Last Updated: November 23, 2021

Written by Kevin Jones

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. Powerline adapters offer a similar promise by using your home's AC wiring (power outlets) for Ethernet communication. We believe that MoCA is the clear winner due to the faster speeds and better signal quality. However, there are still some use cases where Powerline may be the best solution.

Actiontec ECB7250 Bonded MoCA 2.5 Network Adapter Actiontec ECB7250 Bonded MoCA 2.5 Network Adapter Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

MoCA and Powerline adapters may solve your problems of extending Wi-Fi. Or perhaps they can help you avoid the latency of Wi-Fi altogether with a hard-wired network.

NETGEAR Powerline Adapter Kit, 2000 Mbps NETGEAR Powerline Adapter Kit, 2000 Mbps Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

Use Cases for MoCA and Powerline Adapters

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  • Use existing home wiring as a replacement for Ethernet cables.
  • Extend wireless coverage.
  • Backhaul for a Mesh Wi-Fi System (i.e., a wired backbone for the Wi-Fi satellites).
  • Get Internet access into 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.

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.

A pair of MoCA adapters allows you to use a coax cable for Ethernet communication. MoCA adapters behave like an extension for an Ethernet cable. Multi-node configurations can also function as an Ethernet hub.

For example:

  • Suppose you have a cable modem downstairs and multiple computers in various rooms upstairs which need Internet access.
  • You can share the downstairs coax outlet with the cable modem by using a MoCA-compatible coax splitter. The MoCA adapter is then connected to the modem using an Ethernet cable.
  • Upstairs, you can provide Internet access to each computer by connecting MoCA adapters to nearby coax outlets. The computers connect to the MoCA adapters with Ethernet cables.
  • That's it! MoCA adapters are typically plug and play, meaning that no additional configuration is required.

Some modems may include built-in MoCA support, making it so that you only need a single adapter.

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

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

Pros and Cons of MoCA

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Pros:

  • Fast throughput of up to 2.5 Gbps
  • Use a home's existing coax cables for wiring
  • Plug and play setup (no configuration required)

Cons:

  • Requires a Point of Entry (POE) filter for improved security

What Is Powerline?

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Powerline adapters behave much like MoCA adapters. You can create an Ethernet network by simply plugging a pair of Powerline adapters into your wall outlets. Powerline adapters can communicate over the same wires as you use for AC power transmission.

Pros and Cons of Powerline

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Pros:

  • Easy wiring using existing power outlets (connect an Ethernet cable)
  • Low cost (compared to MoCA adapters)
  • Encrypted (some products)
  • Up to a 300-meter range
  • Some models have built-in Wi-Fi
  • Plug and play setup (no configuration required)

Cons:

  • Often a low connection speed of 50-350 Mbps compared to the advertised 1-2 Gbps
  • Powerline devices need to be on the same electrical circuit
  • May cause noticeable electromagnetic interference with some devices such as speakers (static sound)
  • Power strip, GFCI outlets, and AFCI circuit breakers may degrade Powerline network signals
  • Some models block an outlet when connecting directly into a wall outlet

MoCA vs. Powerline Distance

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Both MoCA and Powerline are more than long enough for most homes.

MoCA Powerline
Max Distance 300 feet (90 meters) 984 feet (300 meters)

Do We Recommend MoCA or Powerline?

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Suppose you don't need to use the total capacity of your Internet connection, or your Internet speeds are low already. In that case, Powerline adapters may be the best of the two options for you, as they offer a lower price point.

On the other hand, MoCA adapters are a better option when you want to fully utilize a high-speed Internet connection and have existing coax cabling between rooms.

You could also consider using both! For example, MoCA adapters might work great for connecting an upstairs and downstairs via coax. At the same time, Powerline adapters would be great for getting Internet to a garage that has no coax line available.

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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 Ethernet port, allowing for maximum network utilization.

  • I own a pair of these adapters, and they work great!

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

  • The manufacturer could improve the instructions regarding using the MPS button for encryption, but that won't be needed for most installations.

  • Initial installation is very straightforward.

  • 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 Actiontec ECB7250 Bonded MoCA 2.5 Network Adapter Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)
  • You'll probably want also to buy a MoCA POE Filter if your ISP didn't already install one (for improved security): MoCA 'POE' Coax Filter MoCA 'POE' Coax Filter Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

Value MoCA 2.5 Adapter (1 Gbps Port): GoCoax MoCA 2.5 Adapter

  • This adapter should work almost as well as the Actiontec ECB7250 adapter, with a few exceptions:
    • The Ethernet ports only support a 1 Gbps Ethernet connection, rather than 2.5 Gbps.
    • It doesn't include a MoCA-capable coax splitter or coax cables. goCoax MoCA 2.5 Adapter goCoax MoCA 2.5 Adapter Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)
  • You'll need the following additional accessories, if you don't already have them: MoCA 'POE' Coax Filter MoCA 'POE' Coax Filter Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link) Coax Splitter MoCA 5-2300MHz Coax Splitter MoCA 5-2300MHz Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link) 3FT RG6 Coaxial Cable (2 Pack) 3FT RG6 Coaxial Cable (2 Pack) Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)
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  • This model includes some great features:

    • An extra passthrough Ethernet port
    • An extra outlet (although the device will block part of a second wall outlet)
    • 2 Gbps (theoretical) speeds
    • Support for encryption
  • Check the latest price of the NETGEAR Powerline 2000 Mbps Adapter Kit on Amazon (affiliate link).

    NETGEAR Powerline Adapter Kit, 2000 Mbps NETGEAR Powerline Adapter Kit, 2000 Mbps Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Additional accessories you may need: Tripp Lite Cat6a 10G Patch Cable 3ft Tripp Lite Cat6a 10G Patch Cable 3ft Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)