What Is a MoCA Network?

MoCA networks might just be your solution to tough Wi-Fi problems

MoCA (short for Multimedia over Coax Alliance, the trade group that manages the standard) networks are devices that use coaxial cable to transmit data to and from the wider internet.

What Are MoCA Networks?

If you’ve ever streamed a TV show from your cable box or used a cloud-based DVR provided by your cable company to watch something you’ve recorded, you’ve already seen how a MoCA network works.

The devices wire your router into your home’s coaxial networks. Then you can connect a second adapter to a media player directly to another coaxial port or a network extender to the port. You don't need cable internet, just an internet connection and coaxial wiring in your house.

Coaxial cables also called “coax,” are cables with an inner conductor, an insulating layer, and an outside conducting sheath. You'll commonly encounter it as the “cable” in cable TV; the connector is a pin in the middle with a nut around it that you tighten around a screw.

Is MoCA Better Than Wi-Fi?

MoCA can be better than Wi-Fi depending on your needs, but it's also a complement to Wi-Fi systems. Since it's a wired network, MoCA can be faster than exclusively using Wi-Fi extenders and mesh networks. Suppose a coax port is wired into an area far from the router, like an upstairs bedroom or a garage. In that case, MoCA can provide an internet signal in those areas where other technologies may be limited or blocked by steel, concrete, or other construction materials.

Will MoCA Interfere With My Wi-Fi Network?

Since MoCA systems use the wiring in your house, they won't generally interfere with over-the-air signals, such as Wi-Fi or your cellular network. You can connect a wireless extender to a MoCA adapter for a faster signal.

How Do I Set Up A MoCA Network?

To set up a MoCA network, you'll either need to connect a MoCA adapter to your current router or upgrade to a router with MoCA built-in and connect it to a coaxial port already wired into your home. Then, attach another MoCA adapter to a convenient coax port, such as an upstairs office, and connect it with an Ethernet cable to any device you want, like a Wi-Fi extender.

Should I Install A MoCA Network?

Pros
  • Many homes are already wired, so no renovations or cable installations will be required.

  • Extenders have a wired connection directly to your router, reducing lag and increasing speed.

  • Connection is generally simple and can be done by hand.

  • It can bring internet to more locations in your home, with more reliability than Wi-Fi extenders.

Cons
  • Networks limited to 16 devices total, which may not be ideal for larger homes and complexes.

  • Networks are limited to where coax ports are installed in the home.

  • Older networks may need to be evaluated by a professional if you run into concerns.


MoCA is best for:

  • Large homes and newer homes, as MoCA doesn't have a limited signal range like extenders or mesh networks
  • Homes with interference problems with wireless networks
  • If you don't need a wireless network and want to connect to the internet through a wired connection without installing Ethernet cables or threading cables from a router through your house

They'll work in any home with a functioning coaxial network. If you want more speed and less lag, they're worth a try.

FAQ
  • Do I need cable service to use MoCA?

    No. You don't need a cable television service to use MoCA, but you do an internet service provider (ISP).

  • How do I know if my router supports MoCA?

    Look for “MoCA Certified” on the router, or check the manual or the manufacturer's website. Ask your ISP if you rent your network equipment.

  • What is the maximum length of a MoCA connection?

    The maximum distance between two devices connected via MoCA should be no more than 300 feet. At longer distances, the strength of the signal could be compromised.

  • Is MoCA better than Ethernet?

    Ethernet is technically faster, but MoCA is more reliable, so you're less likely to experience network latency with MoCA. Both technologies have advantages and drawbacks, so there's no clear winner.

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