Spectator

MoCA network in an apartment building?

I would like to use a MoCA network adapter like the Actiontec ECB6200 to extend my LAN over the coaxial wires in my apartment and avoid WiFi.

 

I live in a 16-unit apartment building, there are three coaxial jacks in my apartment and I have internet service only with a Motorola SB6121 modem connected to one of those coax jacks. Unfortunately I don't know exactly how the coaxial is wired behind the drywalls and I don't even know where the point of entry into my apartment is (for all I know, I could be sharing a splitter with other apartments).

 

I know there are several potential barriers to getting a MoCA network functioning in a situation like this, but I have one specific question that I asked a chat support rep, and I'm not sure his answer is correct so I'd like to get anyone's input here.

 

I believe a MoCA filter is generally placed at a cable subcriber's point of entry, to prevent MoCA signals from getting out. According to the support rep, that is not possible in an apartment building. He stated, "We have a Tap at your locations outside, and we will provide the connection to each apartment without any interlinks between any two apartments."

 

He said that the tap outside has a filter on it, and "based on the services configured it will distribute the signals". When I asked him to confirm that it wouldn't be possible for data packets on my LAN to travel over the coaxial wire outside of my apartment, he said "Signals will not leak from your service line to any of the systems."

 

Does what the support rep told me make sense? Thanks for any info, I have tried to read up on this, but this isn't something I know a great deal about.

8 REPLIES
Established Sharer

Re: MoCA network in an apartment building?

Your goal of avoiding WiFi in a multi-unit building is admirable, but the MOCA signal will propagate into other apartment units unless it is blocked by a MOCA filter.  There's also no guarantee that all of your outlets can be connected into the same building distribution splitter.  If you would accept an alternative to avoid MOCA completely, I would suggest using a pair of ethernet over powerline adaptors instead. 

 

Something else to consider is upgrading your SB6121 modem to one with at least 8 downlink and 4 uplink channels and a full band receiver.  Although the SB6121 is a DOCSIS3 design, it doesn't fit into Spectrum's frequency plan going forward, and can't be provisioned for downlink speeds above 60 Mbps. 

Spectator

Re: MoCA network in an apartment building?

Thanks, I actually tried Powerline first, and found the speeds were unacceptable. That's how I got interested in MoCA.

 

Wouldn't a similar problem with MoCA occur if all the apartments in my building had DVR?

 

That's interesting to hear re: the SB6121. I'm paying for 100 Mbps down internet service, and when I've tested my internet speed before, it's usually about 100 Mbps.

Proven Sharer

Re: MoCA network in an apartment building?


@marktheknife wrote:

Thanks, I actually tried Powerline first, and found the speeds were unacceptable. That's how I got interested in MoCA.

 


What kind of through-put are you trying to get on your LAN that Powerline Ethernet adapters are unsat? 

Established Sharer

Re: MoCA network in an apartment building?

For dstoffa:

I think the answer from @marktheknife is going to be 100 Mbps (every byte he's paying for), but that is quite slow for today's modern EPL (ethernet over power-line) products. 

I'm thinking the outlets at his two locations are not on "the same side" of the AC breaker panel.  He could fix that by moving either end of the link to a different outlet. 

 

And for Mark:  Your first glitch is that Spectrum no longer suppports the use of MOCA on their network cabling like TWC did. 

Next, if you are paying for 100 Mbps internet you've probably got  a SB6141 or newer 8x4 modem.  Since I used to use one, I know that the SB6121 had only four DS channnels and was limited to 60 Mbps on TWC and now on Spectrum.

Spectator

Re: MoCA network in an apartment building?

@dstoffa it's actually been a while since I tested my powerline adapters, but if I recall correctly I was getting like 10-15 Mbps when trying to transfer files from a server to a client, and these were Homeplug AV2 devices. So as @karlbeckman implied, there was something about the wiring that was preventing me from getting even close to the theoretical max throughput for powerline. Unfortunately, no combination of outlets seemed to make a difference, I'm not really motivated to mess around in my breaker box, and so like I said, that's what got me interested in MoCA.

 

It's not even because I want to get the full 100 Mbps I'm paying for internet service. I want throughput much faster than that on my LAN if I'm transferring/backing up files, streaming videos from a local server, etc. My router, NAS, etc support gigabit ethernet and wifi can be laggy in my crowded city environment.

 

@karlbeckman what do you mean when you say that Spectrum no longer supports the use of MoCA on their network cabling like TWC did? I realize there are some physical barriers that may prevent MoCA from working in my situation, but let's just say there was a single point-of-entry into my apartment, no amplifiers, the splitters in the walls could pass the higher-frequency MoCA signals, etc. They couldn't stop me from using a MoCA adapter to extend ethernet throughout the coaxial cable in my own apartment, could they?

 

Also, not at all trying to contradict you, but I'm quite certain I have a SB6121, and according to speedtest.net at least, I can get 80-100 Mbps down most of the time. Not sure what the explanation for that would be.

Established Sharer

Re: MoCA network in an apartment building?

Gigabit powerline Ethernet adaptors are available at reasonable prices from several sources.  They are obviously MUCH faster than the HomePlug units you previously used. 

 

A tri-band WiFi router will give you advantages over your current hardware.  First, they are much faster since they use two separate 5 GHz radios to get throughputs over 3 Gbps,  Second, most of them offer multi-MIMO and beam-forming, and utilize multiple antennas for increased range.  Third, you'll be operating in a new, relatively unoccupied band that most folks can't use yet. 

 

TWC used to utilize MOCA for their Whole House DVR, and Spectrum continues to support the existing TWC WHDVR customers, but they will not install any new MOCA and don't provide support to customers who install their own MOCA operating over Spectrum's in-home cabling.  If you choose the D-I-Y approach you MUST install a MOCA blocking filter at the first connector where the cable enters your home.   Once past the filter, you can install your own MOCA hardware, but if things don't work as you expected, Spectrum won't change or repair anything.

 

All TWC/Spectrum Internet customers should visit Spectrum's Speed Test tool to  accurately check the speeds of their connection.  All other authorized speed testing sites are located outside Spectrum's internet data transport network, therefore they can incur delays at the IXP transfer points. 

 

Spectrum has evaluated the SB6121 modem's performance and will not provision it for download speeds above 60 Mbps.  If you decide to upgrade your modem to a device that works at the speed tier you are already paying for, check the list of approved cable modems that can be used for TWC/Spectrum Internet service on the Approved Customer Device List page.   Otherwise you should insist on a credit on your monthly Spectrum bill for the difference between the 100/10 and 60/5 speed packages. 

Spectator

Re: MoCA network in an apartment building?

Actually, Homeplug AV2 supports up to 600 Mbps. If I were able to get anything close to that, I'd be satisfied.

 

I'm not that interested in upgrading my router and/or wifi access point anytime soon (they are not the same device in my home). Not necessary to go into the reasons why for the purposes of this discussion.

 

Re: spectrum and MoCA, thanks for that info.  I had a feeling that what the chat support rep told me doesn't entirely make sense based on what I've read online. What you're saying seems consistent with my suspicion.

 

I dunno what else to say about my modem and internet speed. It's a SB6121, I get about 90 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up, even with the speedtest on spectrum's website that you linked to. And even if I did use a speedtest server not contained within Spectrum's network, how would that explain speeds that are faster than what spectrum supposedly approves my modem for? As you said, that would be a reason for the reported speed to slow down, if anything. By the way, that's the exact same speed test as the one at speedtest.net (which is owned by Ookla), and I was using the spectrum server when testing before, so it's not surprising my results didn't change.

 

Regardless, I see no reason to rock the boat by asking spectrum to credit my account. It seems to me that would be inviting them to actually cap my service at 60/5, and then charge me less. And since I'm getting the speeds I pay for, I see no reason to upgrade my modem either. If for some reason things slow down  to 60/5 in the future, I guess I'll know why, and what my options are.

 

Thanks again for the info.

Highlighted
Established Sharer

Re: MoCA network in an apartment building?

Regarding your SB6121, I have one, too, but my plan is a legacy TWC 15/1, automatically upgraded by Spectrum to 20/2, so I'm "in scope" according to the Spectrum speed restrictions.

 

We know that a single channel will provide about 20 megabits per second of data space, that's how they can provide 300/20 service on a 16-channel cable modem.  So the SB6121 should be able to handle 80 down, maybe a bit more if your signals are squeaky clean.  Thus I can believe that you are regularly getting 90 down, it's certainly possible.

 

However, the CMTS at your "head end" is certainly providing at least 8 channels of downstream, with 16 more likely and either 24 or 32 is possible.  Since your 4 channels can come from any of those 8/16/24/32 available channels, you can easily get into a situation where the SB6121 channels in use will be something like 1 - 3 - 4 - 8 instead of the ideal 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, and the SB6121 can't handle that much channel spread.  That's why you'd be better off purchasing a more capable DOCSIS 3 cable modem, because it will handle the wider spread AND it will split the load over more channels.  When the Spectrum network gets close to saturation, you'd get better performance with 16 channels than stuffing everything into 4 as is the case now.