Running a stable and fast internet connection throughout your entire home is not always an easy thing to do, especially when you have a large home and various devices (like smart TVs, DVRs, gaming consoles, PCs) that connect to the internet at the same time and require high speed and stable internet connection.
WiFi mesh systems can be a great way to bring WiFi coverage to every single corner of your home, but it is not always the best solution when you need a reliable and high-speed connection.
On the other hand, running a dedicated ethernet wiring can be costly and time-consuming as you would need to run the cables through the walls if you’d want to cover your entire home.
However, there’s a great workaround for situations like these – using your existing cable TV coax wiring and turning it into a fully functional high-speed ethernet.
This can be done with the help of MoCA adapters.
What are MoCA Adapters, and How Do They Work?
MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) is a technology that utilizes your existing coax wiring and turns it into a high-speed Ethernet network.
MoCA technology relies on the fact that coaxial cables have plenty of bandwidth which can be used to carry multiple signals simultaneously over the same wiring.
So, essentially, MoCA technology gives you a high-speed, low-lag, and reliable ‘wired quality’ ethernet but without having to do the wiring again. All of this is done through the existing coaxial cable wiring that you use for your cable TV.
Even though there’s a lot of stuff going on inside MoCA adapters, essentially, the way they work is very simple.
MoCA adapters act as ‘miniature modems’ – they modulate the internet or multimedia signals so they can travel through coaxial cables alongside TV signals without interfering and canceling each other. This is what happens on the end of the cable where the signal enters the coax wiring. And on the other end, another MoCA adapter converts these signals back to ‘normal’ so they can get to the receiving device in a way that it can be properly ‘understood’ by the device.
For example, connecting a PC to the internet using MoCA adapters would work like this:
- At the entry point, the internet signal from the modem enters a MoCA adapter through the RJ-45 connector, i.e., through a regular twisted pair cable.
- The MoCA adapter adjusts the signal so it can travel through the coaxial cable and not interfere with the TV signal, exiting through an F-type connector, i.e., a coaxial cable.
- On the receiving end, another MoCA adapter gets the signal through the coax and an F-type connector (this time, the coax connector on the MoCA adapter is an entry point of the signal), and the adapter adjusts this signal so it can again travel through a twisted pair (ethernet) cable and connect to your PC’s RJ-45 connector on the network adapter.
Example of a MoCA network (source – ScreenBeam YouTube channel)
Laptops, PCs, DVRs, smart TVs, and other devices that connect to the internet come with an RJ-45 connector, and this is the only way they can connect to the internet through a cable. This is why you can’t connect your PC or laptop to the coax directly, and thus we need MoCA adapters.
Working Principle of a MoCa Network
When Do You Need a MoCA Adapter?
There are several ‘conventional’ ways to bring the internet from one spot of your home to another. That can be a regular ethernet cable, it can be your Wi-Fi coming from the main modem/router, or it can be a WiFi mesh system.
MoCA adapters are a great solution when you need a high-speed and low latency internet connection; you already have existing coax wiring that covers all the spots where you want internet access, and you don’t want to run the twisted pair cables through the walls again.
What is great about MoCA technology is that you can also use it for setting up Wi-Fi access points in remote parts of your home.
Essentially, MoCA technology can bring high-speed internet to all of your existing coaxial cable outlets (even if you already use them for TV), and what you do with it from there is completely up to you. Whether it be connecting your smart TV or gaming console to the internet or simply setting up a WiFi access point or an ethernet switch so multiple devices can connect to it – all of this can be done with MoCA adapters.
Reasons to Use MoCA Adapters
Is Wi-Fi Mesh Better than MoCA?
It all depends on what you want to do with it.
If you just want to use your smartphone or tablet throughout your entire home, or you don’t care too much if your internet is a little bit slower with a bit higher latency, then a WiFi mesh system could be a good solution.
MoCA is more meant to be used when you need high-speed internet that goes through a cable rather than over Wi-Fi. For example, streaming 4k videos on your smart TV or playing online games on your console over Wi-Fi is not always a pleasant experience. On the other hand, with MoCA adapters, all of this should be way easier to do and the performance will be almost as good as on a ‘regular’ Ethernet network.
It is important to point out that MoCA adapters and Wi-Fi mesh aren’t really ‘enemies’ that compete against each other. You can still use MoCA technology and your existing coax wiring to set up a high-speed WiFi mesh system.
A Wi-Fi mesh system where each node exclusively gets the internet signal wirelessly will eventually see a significant drop in speed and increased latency within the distant nodes since Wi-Fi signal quality drop is imminent when traveling through the walls and solid objects.
One of the ways to overcome this is using a direct, wired connection with the modem/router as a backhaul for the WiFi mesh nodes. And this can be done with the help of MoCA adapters.
Gaming with MoCA VS Gaming with Wi-Fi Mesh System
Are MoCA Adapters Good for Gaming and Video Streaming
MoCA adapters can ensure high-speed connectivity (up to 2.5 Gbps with MoCA 2.5) and low latency. Thus, they are a great alternative when you don’t want to run a regular twisted pair cable and use your existing coax wiring instead.
Streaming and gaming with MoCA adapters are still better than doing it over Wi-Fi.
Whether you want to watch 4k videos on your smart TV, play online games on your PC or gaming console, or do some streaming on Twitch, MoCA adapters used with your existing coax wiring are probably the best possible alternative to running twisted pair cable wiring to connect directly with the modem/router.
Depending on which version of MoCA adapters you use, you can expect to get a local ethernet connection speed of up to 2.5 Gbps with minimal impact on the original latency of your internet connection (up to 4ms). This is considered a good setup for gaming and streaming and is hardly comparable with what you would get if you were doing it over Wi-Fi.
MoCA 2.0 vs Moca 2.5 vs MoCA 3.0
It’s been more than 15 years since the first version of MoCA adapters (MoCA 1.0) was introduced. Since then, there have been a couple of upgrades to the MoCA standard, and the latest one currently available on the market is MoCA 2.5.
Each new upgrade to the MoCA standard (MoCA 1.1, MoCA 2.0, MoCA 2.1, and MoCA 2.5) meant higher speeds and better connectivity.
MoCA 1.0 devices provided ‘only’ 100-135 Mbps of actual throughput (which was still a big deal back in 2006 when they came out).
MoCA 1.1 devices supported up to 175 Mbps throughput and operated within the 500-1500 MHz frequency range.
While MoCA 1.0 and MoCA 1.1 devices aren’t sold anymore, if you can still get your hands on one of these, you should know that all of the new MoCA devices are backward compatible, which means that you can still make some use of them.
MoCA 2.0 devices can achieve actual throughput of up to 1 Gbps and operate within the 500-1650 MHz frequency range.
On the other hand, MoCA 2.5 technology will give you a higher throughput (up to 2.5 Gbps) and improved network security features like MoCASec peer-to-peer MoCA link security.
Both MoCA 2.0 and MoCA 2.5 provide low latency connection (less than 5ms with MoCA 2.5 and less than 4ms with MoCA 2.0 adapters).
MoCA 3.0 technology is currently in development and is expected to be on the market within the next two years. MoCA 3.0 devices will provide up to 10 Gbps of actual throughput.
Will MoCA Adapters Work With DirecTV or DISH Network?
Unfortunately, there are currently no standard MoCA adapters designed to work with satellite TV signals over the same coax.
Currently available MoCA adapters operate within the 500-1650 MHz frequency band. Therefore, these adapters cannot work on the same coax that carries a satellite TV signal because they would interfere with each other.
So, currently available MoCA devices are designed to work only with cable TV providers.
However, if you have DirecTV in your home, you can use DECA adapters (DirecTV Ethernet-to-Coax Adapter). These are based on MoCA technology but designed to work with DirecTV exclusively. Also, some of the newer Direct TV receivers like HR24 HD DVR come with built-in DECA adapters.
DIRECTV DECA Adapter
DISH Network has done a similar thing with their Hopper and Joey devices with built-in MoCA technology.
It’s important to point out that these alternatives will still give you significantly lower speeds than what you would get with regular MoCA adapters. For example, the expected actual throughput for DECA adapters is up to 100 Mbps.
What is MoCA PoE Filter, and Why Do I Need It?
MoCA technology turns your existing coax wiring into a functional, high-speed ethernet network. However, because of the way MoCA adapters send the signal through the coax wiring, there’s this one thing you might want to do to prevent the signal from exiting your home.
MoCA PoE (Point of Entry) filters are small devices designed to ensure your MoCA signal doesn’t leave your home and go into the main coaxial cable that’s bringing the internet and the TV into your home. Installing a MoCA PoE filter will boost your ethernet’s performance, and it will also act as a security feature so no one outside of your home can access your MoCA signal.
MoCA filters are usually installed at the main splitter, right where the main coax cable connects with your home coax wiring installation.
VIDEO TUTORIAL – Where to Install a MoCA Filter
Which Splitters to Use with MoCA Adapters?
There are a couple of things you should know regarding how MoCA adapters work with splitters.
Ideally, when using MoCA adapters, you need splitters that support a frequency range up to 1000 Mhz or higher. MoCA adapters work on a 500-1650 MHz frequency band, so if you can get a splitter that supports a higher frequency range than 1000 MHz, this would work better.
Another important thing to point out regarding the splitters is that having an amplifier or amplifying splitter as a part of your coax wiring can affect the performance of MoCA adapters. Check your splitters if you have issues with getting your MoCA adapters to work as expected. If you have an amplified splitter on your coax wiring, you can replace it with a MoCA compatible splitter that supports up to 1650 MHz frequency range or higher.
Can I Use Only One MoCA Adapter?
For establishing a functional ethernet over coax network, you need a MoCA device on both sides of the coax cable, one where the signal enters the cable and one where the signal exits. So, you need at least two MoCA devices/adapters to transfer the signal over your coax wiring.
However, the chances are that your existing cable modem/router is a MoCA-enabled device. If this is the case, you can turn on the MoCA feature on your modem/router and then use only one adapter at the receiving end of the cable.
If you are not sure whether your modem/router is a MoCA-enabled device, you can call your cable provider to check for this.
It is important to point out that MoCA-enabled modems/routers won’t always give you the best speeds as they might be working with a slower version of MoCA. So, even if your modem/router does have built-in MoCA technology, you might still want to check if it’s sufficient for use with your adapter on the receiving end of the cable.
Moreover, in some cases, you might want to completely turn off the MoCA feature on your cable modem/router so it doesn’t slow down the performance of your MoCA adapters that operate at higher speeds.
What to Look for When Buying MoCA adapters?
There are several things to pay attention to when buying your MoCA adapters.
MoCA 2.0 or MoCA 2.5?
MoCA devices are all about faster and more reliable internet. Therefore, the most important thing to decide when buying MoCA adapters is how much actual throughput you’ll need on your network.
MoCA 2.0 adapters will give up to 1 Gbps of actual throughput, and MoCA 2.5 adapters will do up to 2.5 Gbps.
One important thing to know here is that, for example, the actual throughput of 2.5 Gbps means this is the max speed of data transfer that can be achieved over the coax. So, if you have multiple devices connecting to the internet and sending and receiving data simultaneously, all of these devices will share the 2.5 Gbps speed.
Also, MoCA connection throughput is not symmetrical, which means that if you are uploading and downloading at the same time on a 2 Gbps symmetrical internet connection, your max upload and download speed, in that case, will be around 1 Gbps.
Essentially, this shouldn’t be an issue; even if you have multiple devices that connect to the internet simultaneously, you should still be able to get a decent ethernet network performance with MoCA adapters.
MoCA 2.0 and MoCA 2.5 adapters come with MoCA Sec peer-to-peer MoCA link security.
Ethernet Speed At the Exit/Entry Point
Even though they can provide actual throughput of 2.5 Gbps within the network, not all MoCA 2.5 adapters will let you get the 2.5 Gbps speed on the ethernet connector, i.e., on the cable connecting with your laptop or smart TV.
This is not an issue unless you have more than 1 Gbps high-speed internet connection. In that case, you need to pay attention to the ethernet speed when buying a MoCA 2.5 device and make sure you get one that comes with an RJ-45 connector that will let you get the whole 2.5 Gbps out of it.
Bonded or Unbonded?
When looking at different MoCA adapters, you’ll see that some of them have the ‘bonded’ feature while others don’t. The term ‘bonded’ essentially refers to channel bonding technology that combines multiple channels to increase the amount of the supported traffic.
Having a bonded MoCA adapter essentially means better connectivity and a higher throughput rate.
Number of Coax Connection Ports
MoCA adapters that come with a single coax cable port won’t let you connect your cable box or other devices that require the coaxial cable to work. So, if you still need a coax outlet alongside your MoCA adapter, make sure to get one that has two coaxial ports to avoid using additional splitters.
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Best MoCA Adapters to Buy Right Now
1. Best MoCA Adapter for Gaming and Streaming – ScreenBeam ECB7250K02
ScreenBeam (previously known as Actiontec) is a well-known brand among MoCA enthusiasts.
This particular MoCA 2.5 bonded adapter will give you the best from what MoCA technology can offer right now – 2.5 Gbps of actual throughput with a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port and the MPS (MoCA Protected Setup) button to create a secure connection between your MoCA devices.
The 2.5 Gbps ethernet port will come in handy if your internet speed is higher than 1 Gbps.
This adapter comes with only one coax port, so this can be a small downside as you would need to use a splitter if you have a single port outlet at the spot where you want to install this adapter, and you still need your coax outlet to connect other devices to it.
2. Best MoCA Adapter for Regular Home Use – Translite TL-MC84
This Translite 2.5 MoCA adapter has all the features you would expect from a decent MoCA adapter – the 2.5 Gbps throughput, two coax ports, two ethernet ports, and the MPS feature.
However, this will not be a great fit if the internet speed you are getting from your provider is higher than 1 Gbps as this particular adapter comes with two ethernet ports that support only up to 1 Gbps data transfer speeds.
A 2ft coaxial cable comes as part of the package as well.
3. Best MoCA Adapter for The Price – goCoax MA2500C
This is not the cheapest MoCA adapter out there, but it should be a good buy given the included features.
This goGoax MoCA 2.5 adapter will give you 2.5 Gbps throughput, and it is also equipped with a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port. This adapter supports five bonded channels that use the 1125-1675 MHz frequency band. The MPS feature is included as well.
It comes with a single coax connector, and that’s its biggest downside. There’s also the goCoax model with two coax ports.
Q: Can MoCA adapters work without coaxial cables?
A: No, MoCA stands for ‘Multimedia over Coax Alliance’; therefore, these devices’ name itself reveals that they are built to work with coaxial cables.
Q: Will MoCA adapters increase my internet speed?
A: MoCA adapters won’t increase the overall speed of the internet connection that you are getting from your cable provider to your modem. However, if you use Wi-Fi to connect your devices to the internet, having a direct cable connection with the modem instead of using Wi-Fi can increase your internet speed significantly.
So, essentially, a direct wired connection from the device that connects to the internet (like a PC or smart TV) to your modem/router should always be faster and with lower latency than Wi-Fi. If you want to use coaxial cables for this, then MoCA adapters can give you a similar performance as if you would be running a good quality ethernet cable.
Therefore, using MoCA adapters on your existing coax wiring should give you way faster internet connection than what you are getting through your Wi-Fi.
Q: Do I need a dedicated coaxial cable wiring for MoCA to work?
A: No, MoCA technology works fine even if your rooms are wired with single coaxial cables. So whichever kind of coaxial wiring you have in your home, MoCA adapters should work fine with it (assuming that the wiring is done with regular coaxial cables usually used for cable or satellite TV).
Q: Can you use MoCA without cable service?
A: Yes, you can use MoCA even if your internet is not coming to your home from a cable provider and/or if you don’t use the cable TV service at all. The most important thing for MoCA devices to work is that you have existing coax wiring in your home. How you get your internet is less important as long as you can connect your modem/router to a MoCA device and send it to your coax wiring.
Q: Can I use MoCA adapters with ADSL internet?
A: Yes, if you have existing coax wiring, but you have an ADSL internet for some reason, you can still use MoCA adapters to run the internet through the existing wiring.
Q: Can I connect a WiFi mesh node to a MoCA adapter?
A: Yes, WiFi mesh nodes usually have an RJ-45 connector that allows them to connect to the modem/router through a twisted-pair cable and get the internet directly from the ‘source’.
Your MoCA adapter, when installed at the receiving end of the coaxial cable (for example, a coax outlet in one of your rooms), gets the internet through the coaxial cable and then adjusts the signal so it can run through the twisted pair cable through an RJ-45 connector which is, in that case, the exit point of the signal. This is where you connect your WiFi mesh node.
Q: Does MoCA work with Comcast?
A: Yes, MoCA adapters should work well with most cable providers.
Q: Are MoCA adapters worth the money?
A: If you want a wired ethernet connection and you are not able or don’t want to run Ethernet wiring throughout your home, MoCA adapters are a cool solution that will let you utilize your existing coax wiring and turn it into a high-speed Ethernet network.
Q: What is the maximum number of MoCA adapters I can use at once?
A: You can use up to 16 MoCA adapters simultaneously on your ethernet over the coax network.
Hey, I’m Jeremy. I hold a bachelor’s degree in information systems, and I’m a certified network specialist. I worked for several internet providers in LA, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Seattle over the past 21 years.
I worked as a customer service operator, field technician, network engineer, and network specialist. During my career in networking, I’ve come across numerous modems, gateways, routers, and other networking hardware. I’ve installed network equipment, fixed it, designed and administrated networks, etc.
Networking is my passion, and I’m eager to share everything I know with you. On this website, you can read my modem and router reviews, as well as various how-to guides designed to help you solve your network problems. I want to liberate you from the fear that most users feel when they have to deal with modem and router settings.
My favorite free-time activities are gaming, movie-watching, and cooking. I also enjoy fishing, although I’m not good at it. What I’m good at is annoying David when we are fishing together. Apparently, you’re not supposed to talk or laugh while fishing – it scares the fishes.