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MoCA - Wit's End

Discussion in 'MoCA, HomePlug, HPNA' started by Tisbury, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. Tisbury

    Tisbury New Around Here

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    Hello all, first time poster here as I'm relatively new (yet fairly tech savvy) at this networking thing.
    My family recently moved to Kansas City and our new home was built in 1998. There is existing coax run through the entire house, but nothing else. The basement is unfinished so I purchased 500ft of Cat6 and ran it through the basement into certain areas of the main floor, but I have no desire to learn how to wall fish to the second story so I decided to try MoCA out. After some research I decided to go with ActionTech adapters and called them before ordering to find out exactly what I needed. The representative there told me I would need three: one for the modem in the basement, and one for each coax jack I'm wanting to use upstairs.
    So I ordered three of these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013J7O3X0/?tag=snbforums-20

    Per ActionTech, I was to run the coax line from outside into their splitter, then coax into the adapter, then coax into the modem, then Cat6 from the modem to the adapter as well. Tried that, went upstairs to a coax and plugged in a second adapter, then Cat6 into my computer, nothing. Tested the adapters per their troubleshooting, both work fine. Took off the wall plates, coax is connected fine.

    Spoke to a networking guy and he said the ActionTech rep is an idiot and I should connect the adapter directly to my router and then run coax into the wall there. Tried that, nothing.

    I have two Netgear Nighthawk routers running. An R8000 wired to the modem and an R7000 wired to the first router and properly setup as an AP. I don't know what's going on with this house, but the wifi signal is horrid upstairs where both of my children have their computers, and I have my office.
    My Modem is an Arris Surfboard SB8200

    I don't know what to do, but I feel like I'm losing my mind.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  2. degrub

    degrub Very Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    878
    a couple issues to sort -
    0) do you know from previous use that the cable runs are actually working ? ie you can plug a cable tv box and tv in and it gets signal ?
    1) is the existing coax RG59 or RG6 ? it will be printed on the cable
    2) does your cable enter the house into a splitter or splitter/amplifier and then from that splitter go to each room ?
    3) You need to figure out a map of your cable layout to be able to figure out the MOCA issue. You need to know where there are splitters, what type they are. Some will pass MOCA freq bands and some will not. Some will pass only in one direction and not the reverse (required for MOCA).

    once you get it documented, upload to this post and we can help you better. Otherwise we are shooting in the dark as much as you.

    BTW, alarm system installers are usually pretty good and relatively inexpensive for fishing cables into difficult spots.

    if you are pulling cable always pull two. It only costs the cable price and saves headache when one goes bad. You don't have to terminate, just coil in outlet box.
     
  3. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    14,149
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Demarc -<COAX> --- ActionTec -- <COAX> -- Cable Modem -- <CAT5>-- Router (WAN)

    on the action tec -- connect the ActionTec adapter ethernet port to one of the LAN ports on the router - then upstairs, the other ActionTec into your cable outlet on the wall, and then ethernet to a PC (or AP/Router configured as AP)

    Should work

    MOCA is sensitive to cable quality and splitters, regular splitters, esp older ones (this is more for the community at large) are very lossy at the higher end of the frequency range, and will result in poor or no connectivity.

    From ActionTec's Website - Splitter requirements...
    • MoCa 2.0
    • Bi-directional
    • 5-1675 Mhz 6kV
    • Coax ports are 3.5 dB
    For coax - RG6 is preferred, RG59 can work well enough if it's already installed.

    Pay close attention to the connectors - the old-school crimp style Type-F's which were good for Analog CATV and roof antennae are not appropriate for MOCA, CATV (both digital and SDV). If they look like below, you're good...

    coax-type-f.png

    Same goes with splitters, many of the older ones top out at 1000 MHz at best. Most quality splitters will have a freq response printed on them, if not, assume that they're good to around 900MHz...

    CMC2002H_800x600t.jpg

    If your room drops are a pig tail, then that is good, you see what you see - if it's a wall plate, take a look...
     
  4. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Keep in mind that each split is going to drop signal level... -3.5dB out is over half a reduction in signal strength...

    Note that depending on the splitter, even an open tap is going to see that loss for the other tap...

    Prior to my DTV install, with Cox CATV - at the Demarc, we had a two way - one for the Cable Modem, one for the rest of the plant (e.g. TV drops).
     
  5. Tisbury

    Tisbury New Around Here

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    Ok, so what I have seems to be a hot mess... But I would consider myself under a beginner when it comes to this type of knowledge.
    0) Just moved in and we haven't had cable for five years. No idea if the lines actually work.
    1) RG6

    Taking off the two faceplates upstairs that I want to use the MoCA adapters on, the one by my office is a white single coax, the one by the kid's computers has two black. They were cut off at the tips so I put new tips on yesterday hoping to get a connection but nothing. I've also tried every single coax jack in the house with zero success. It's still dark out so I haven't been outside to see where the line comes in, but I assumed the line running into the modem was exactly where I should be putting the first adapter.

    [​IMG]

    Never seen coax run to a power cable before, guessing that's for the amplifier?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Splitter
    [​IMG]

    Is this just an extension?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  6. Tisbury

    Tisbury New Around Here

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    Messages:
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    From a newbie's perspective it looks like literally zero of the coax cables going to the house are connected to anything at all, which makes me think I need to follow the line going from the modem back to this cluster of crap and connect it to the splitter, then connect the rest of the cables to the splitter as well. Right? Then hook up the ActionTech splitter before the modem via coax and it should, then, send the signal throughout the house?
    My modem has two internet ports which I've never seen before. I currently have one empty and the other running to my router. Right now this is what I have:
    Coax from outside -> Modem -> Cat6 Router -> Cat6 AP

    Guessing I should do this:
    Coax from outside -> ActionTech Splitter -> ActionTech Adapter -> Modem -> Cat6 Router -> Switch -> Cat6 AP
    Then two coax adapters upstairs and Cat6 to switch to computers...

    Edit: Connected everything I could into the splitter. There are three white cables, but I only need the one in my office to work. After connecting every single coax to the splitter (including the second main line coax to the "in", still no MoCA on any of the tested coax. The coax light never lights up on the adapter either. The only time that happens is when I connect them both together, so I know they are functioning properly.
    [​IMG]IMG_20180628_091615
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  7. Tisbury

    Tisbury New Around Here

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    Please excuse the pathetic drawing, but my laptop is the only computer with internet right now and it doesn't have a mouse... So I'm drawing in Microsoft Paint with a mousepad... Took me a good ten minutes longer than it should have.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]MoCA Failures

    Just realized I botched the drawing. The main router is connected to the modem, not the ActionTech adapter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  8. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    All those splitters and the amp are 1000MHz, that's MOCA hostile...
     
  9. Tisbury

    Tisbury New Around Here

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    Hey guess what? Just had a tech over from my IP and they said Spectrum doesn't allow MoCA in any shape or form. Would have been nice to know a couple weeks ago...
     
  10. degrub

    degrub Very Senior Member

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    So on the RG6 that is not directly connected to the Spectrum modem or to a set top box over coax, you are free to install MOCA2 network of your own. You will need to replace those splitters if they are on your coax network with the Actiontecs.
    Only if you want TV from Spectrum directly over the RG6 to a room would you have a concern.
    So next step is to ring out the cable runs - ie figure out which cable goes where, label on each end, and make a map.
    Then you can use those Actiontecs the way they were meant.
     
  11. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    Once you are on your side of the demarcation point, they have no say... as long as it does not interfere with their side of the demarcation.
     
  12. Tisbury

    Tisbury New Around Here

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    I tried connecting the Actiontec adapter via Cat6 to my router and then running that to the coax Network and nothing worked. This is driving me crazy. based off of the coax splitter in the basement, I have every black coax cable connected and I'm still getting no signal to any of the adapters. :-(
     
  13. krkaufman

    krkaufman Senior Member

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    Fret not, your Spectrum tech is an idgit. You'll need to acquire and install a "PoE" MoCA filter, to bounce your MoCA signals off and keep them inside your house (and off Spectrum's premise), but with that MoCA filter in place your MoCA network will operate independent of Spectrum's knowledge or concern.

    Do you have a "PoE" MoCA filter on-hand? (see here for more on "PoE" MoCA filters)

    edit: p.s. What @sfx2000 said, stipulating that the "PoE" MoCA filter is the barrier that isolates your MoCA signals from the provider premise. Absent a MoCA filter at the provider's Point-of-Entry (PoE) to your home, your MoCA signals will travel back onto the provider lines and potentially over to neighboring homes.

    p.p.s. A "PoE" MoCA filter, properly installed on the input of the main splitter, can also boost a MoCA network's performance (see here), helping to overcome sub-optimal splitters.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  14. krkaufman

    krkaufman Senior Member

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    ^^THIS^^

    Absent some other cable testing device, you should be able to use your pair of MoCA adapters to identify your coax runs. To identify each coax run...
    1. Connect the "IN"/"NETWORK" port of one MoCA adapter to a coax wall outlet for which the associated central coax line is unknown;
    2. At the central coax junction, connect each unidentified coax run to the "IN"/"NETWORK" port of the other MoCA adapter until the COAX/MoCA status LED lights-up.
    3. Label the coax line at the central junction with its associated coax wall outlet location;
    4. Repeat 1-3 until all the lines are identified -- or at least the lines you're looking to interconnect. (My recommendation would be to get all the lines identified and labeled while the tools to do so are readily available, and while the process is fresh.)
    NOTE: This process assumes home runs for all the coax lines; that is, there aren't any additional splits between the central location and each coax outlet.​

    Basically the same thing you did using a short coax cable to prove the adapters are functioning, but now using each of the coax runs to your wall outlets, one at a time. (It would probably be overkill, but you could also use a laptop to connect to the Ethernet port of one of the adapters, once connected, to check the MoCA stats for the currently connected coax run. The stats could help identify whether a given coax run is more problematic.)

    p.s. Note that identifying the specific runs is important because you'd ideally be using a right-sized splitter that supports only the number of coax outlets needed, to minimize signal loss.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  15. krkaufman

    krkaufman Senior Member

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    If/when you acquire a "PoE" MoCA filter, if you find the amplifier is still needed, you'll want to install the "PoE" MoCA filter downstream of the current amplifier to isolate the MoCA signals from the amp.

    amp MoCA concerns.jpg

    A couple alternatives...

    current_amp.jpg moca_bypass_amp.jpg
     
  16. krkaufman

    krkaufman Senior Member

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    Setup 2 looks correct for that room, aside from your stated correction and the unnecessary splitter. See attached Setup 2(a) reflecting these tweaks, plus a Setup 2(b) where the main MoCA adapter could instead be connected to the standalone switch rather than to the router's built-in switch.

    Setup2_is_OK.jpg
    That said (and diagrammed), getting this room correctly connected is just the first critical step. You'll need to get the correct coax runs connected at the central panel, and with a "PoE" MoCA filter in place to secure and strengthen your MoCA network.
     
  17. Tisbury

    Tisbury New Around Here

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    You guys are freaking awesome.
    I don't have a filter, so will order one and get it going per your recommendations. Thanks so much!