Perhaps you haven't yet purchased MoCA adapters but are trying to understand how they work. Or maybe you already bought a pair but aren't sure how to set them up. In either case, this article will show you how to get started with MoCA adapters and give you an overview of how they work.
When I discovered that MoCA adapters existed, I had just spent a week moving Wi-Fi routers and Wi-Fi access points around my house. I was trying to get a good signal upstairs, downstairs, and outside simultaneously. I didn't want to run an Ethernet cable out a window or drill a hole in a wall or floor, so I was stuck with moving around a Wi-Fi access point.
That was until I realized that I already had wire in the walls—coax cable! But wait, you can't use coax cable for Ethernet communication, can you? The answer turned out to be yes, you can!
MoCA adapters can be very simple to set up. Conceptually, you can think of a pair of MoCA adapters as an extension for an Ethernet cable. More than two MoCA adapters behave like an Ethernet hub combined with Ethernet cables.
Most MoCA adapters are configured similarly.
To set up MoCA adapters:
- Connect one MoCA adapter to your Internet router via an Ethernet cable and to the coax wall outlet via a MoCA-capable coax splitter. You can skip this step if you have a MoCA-capable router, although additional router configuration may be needed.
- Connect one or more additional MoCA adapters to coax outlets in rooms where you want Internet access. Connect them to computers or other network devices via Ethernet cables.
- You can also add a MoCA POE (point of entry) filter to the entry point of coax outside your house for increased security and signal quality.
That's it! Your devices should now be on the network and have Internet access.
Check out my Recommended MoCA Adapters below.
Kevin Jones / TechReviewer
- MoCA is incompatible with Satellite TV, Dish, Direct TV, and AT&T U-verse TV, which use the same frequency bands.
- Fios/Xfinity: Some people have experienced compatibility issues when using Xfinity DVRs, as they communicate using MoCA frequencies. The most straightforward workaround is to prevent communication with the Fios/Xfinity devices by configuring the MoCA adapters to use D-band high-end frequencies at 1400 Mhz and above. Xfinity uses 1150 MHz frequencies for MoCA on LAN networks. In this configuration, you would need at least two MoCA adapters. If this sounds too advanced for you, you could consider Powerline adapters, which I discuss in MoCA vs. Powerline.
- 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.
MoCA POE Filter
MoCA Point of Entry Filters filter out the 1 GHz+ frequencies used by MoCA devices.
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.
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.
What Is a MoCA Adapter?
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.
- 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.
MoCA adaptors in a home network can 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. You can use MoCA networks in all of the same ways as Ethernet cables and hubs.
MoCA Access is a variation of MoCA that has additional management features. Businesses and institutions can use it to distribute Internet access for multi-dwelling facilities such as a hotel, apartment building, resort, hospital, or educational facility. It is generally a much more expensive class of products targeted at businesses.
Use Cases for MoCA Adapters
- 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 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 when using a MoCA POE Filter.
Use Cases for MoCA Access, which is targetted at businesses with a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint network architecture, include:
- Distribute Internet access for a hotel, resort, hospital, educational facility, or multi-dwelling unit such as an apartment building.
- Distribute Fiber to the Building (FTTB) Internet, using existing coax wiring.
- Network offices, restaurants, and the hospitality industry, using existing coax wiring.
- Provide a wired backhaul for 4G/5G.
MoCA adapters can be an excellent choice for distributing Internet and network access for homes already wired with coax cabling. MoCA adapters can create a high-speed, low-latency, and reliable network connection to any room in a home. The performance of MoCA adapters makes them perfect for gaming or streaming 4K content on your TV. MoCA adapters provide a hard-wired solution while avoiding the need to drill holes or run additional Ethernet cables.
You could also consider Powerline adapters for a lower-cost and lower-speed alternative, which I discuss in MoCA vs. Powerline.
|Ethernet Cable & Alternatives||Setup Complexity||Supported Speeds||Supported Distance||Latency||Reliability|
|Ethernet Cable - Ethernet over Twisted Pair (e.g., Cat 6a)||Excellent||Excellent||Good||Excellent||Excellent|
|Powerline - Ethernet over Powerline||Excellent||Fair||Good||Fair||Poor|
|MoCA - Ethernet over Coax||Good||Good||Good||Good||Good|
|Wi-Fi - Wireless||Good||Fair||Fair||Poor||Fair|
Learn more about Powerline adapters in my article, MoCA vs. Powerline? Which You Should Buy.
MoCA vs. Ethernet
Ethernet over coax provides the same functionality as Ethernet over typical Ethernet cables (e.g., Cat 6a). 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.
MoCA adapters will introduce a few milliseconds of latency to your network, but this is pretty insignificant.
MoCA vs. Wi-Fi
MoCA can be combined with Wi-Fi devices to create a fast wireless network. Alternatively, MoCA could create a high-speed wired network with higher throughput and lower latency than Wi-Fi communication.
The same communication which typically occurs over Ethernet cables (e.g., Cat 6a Ethernet cables) can also occur over a coax cable if you use MoCA adapters. Wi-FI, on the other hand, is the wireless sibling to Ethernet. While MoCA doesn't replace the Wi-Fi portions of a home network, it can work together with Wi-Fi devices. In particular, it can connect distributed wireless nodes across a home.
MoCA vs. Powerline
Powerline adapters offer a similar promise by using your home's AC wiring (power outlets) for Ethernet communication.
Suppose your Internet speed is less than 200 Mbps or your devices on the network do not support gigabit Ethernet. In these cases, 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 higher-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.
Learn more about Powerline adapters in my article, MoCA vs. Powerline? Which You Should Buy.
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, coax 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.
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).
You'll probably want also to buy a MoCA POE Filter if your ISP didn't already install one (for improved security):
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.
- You'll need the following additional accessories, if you don't already have them:
MoCA 2.5 is the latest commercially available version. MoCA 2.5 provides 2.5 Gbps of network throughput and supports up to 16 adapter nodes.
MoCA versions 2.0 and up include additional security features, such as MoCA protected setup (MPS) and signal power and network management features.
The MoCA 3.0 specification is complete, but it is speculated by Jeff Heynen, Dell'Oro Group Vice President, that manufacturers may never produce MoCA 3.0 Home products.1 This is based on the decline of the pay-TV cable market, transition to cloud-based DVRs, and advancement of Wi-Fi 6. MoCA silicon is often driven by demand and commitments from operators and service providers.
|MoCA Version||Network Throughput|
|MoCA 2.1 Bonded||1 Gbps|
|MoCA 2.1||0.5 Gbps|
|MoCA 2.0 Bonded||1 Gbps|
|MoCA 2.0||0.5 Gbps|
|MoCA 1.1||0.175 Gbps|
|Moca 1.0||0.1 Gbps|
Is MoCA 2.5 Backward Compatible?
MoCA 2.5 is backward compatible with 2.0 and 1.1.
Is MoCA 2.0 Backward Compatible?
MoCA 2.0 is backward compatible with 1.1.
MoCA 2.5 is the latest version with products available on the market.
MoCA networks can contain up to 16 nodes (one network coordinator + 15 other adapters). A MoCA 2.5 network has a throughput capacity of 2.5 Gbps. Networks with more than two MoCA adapters will share this capacity among all nodes.
Learn more in How Many MoCA Adapters Do I Need?.
By default, most MoCA adapters will not be secure. However, they can be secured in three different ways:
MoCA POE Filter - A Point of Entry filter is a low pass filter that filters out and reflects MoCA signals. POE Filters will prevent your devices from communicating with nearby neighbors. MoCA signals can travel up to about 300 feet.
Encryption - MoCA 2.5 adapters typically support some form of encryption, although it often requires manual configuration. Node password sharing is possible via an MPS (MoCA protected setup) button, similar to the WPS button on many Wi-Fi devices.
Coax partitioning - By disconnecting your MoCA coax cables from the cables that leave the property, you prevent other devices from accessing your data via coax.
Some cable modems have built-in support for MoCA, which means that you would only need a single additional MoCA adapter to create a MoCA network. However, most modems on the market currently only support MoCA 2.0.
MoCA 2.5 network has a max speed of 2.5 Gbps. The latest MoCA 2.5 adapters have 10/100/2500 ports, allowing full utilization of the network's throughput.
MoCA 3.0, which is expected to have silicon available in 2022 or 2023, will have a maximum network throughput of 10 Gbps. However, it is unclear if MoCA 3.0 Home adapters will be produced.
If you want to learn more about cable internet equipment, networking, wiring, or troubleshooting, check out these articles:
- Essential Equipment Guide for Cable Internet
- Ethernet Over Coax?! A Complete Guide to MoCA Adapters
- How to Choose the Best Cable Modem for Gaming
- Cat 5e vs. Cat 6a - Which to Buy?
- How to Connect Ethernet Cables - Network Switches & Couplers
- Ultimate Cable Internet Wiring & Optimization Guide
- Ultimate Cable Internet Troubleshooting Guide
- MoCA vs. Powerline? Which You Should Buy
- How to Set Up and Use MoCA Adapters
- How to Set Up and Use Powerline Adapters