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Question about how MoCA might work for me

Discussion in 'MoCA, HomePlug, HPNA' started by RogerSC, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Okay, things have changed a bit at my house. I've cut the cable cord...still getting internet from Comcast, but getting my TV via the internet instead of via Comcast Cable. Comcast put a 4-way amplified distribution splitter at the entry point of cable to solve some signal problems that I was having using their cable TV. The way that the cabling works is that the cable line that I use for internet runs to the back of my house, using one of the amplified splitter outlets. The place where I need faster LAN is at my living room TV, which is off a different output of the amplified splitter at the cable entry point. So these two would have to communicate via MoCA through the amplified splitter.

    The amplified distribution splitter is a PPC EVO1-5-u/u for reference.

    What I'm wondering is if I put a MoCA adapter at my router, which is in the back of my house where the Comcast internet cable run goes, and a MoCA adapter at my TV, which is on a different amplified splitter output, will this work? Or will I have to replace the amplified splitter with a 2 output passive splitter that feeds just the internet and just the TV?

    I'd rather leave the amplified splitter in place in case we ever want to go back to cable TV, but I really need better LAN speed at my TV to make the HDHomeRun that I have work better.

    Any advice? Thanks!
     
  2. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Hmmm...thinking back now, and as I recall I was able to leave the amplified distribution splitter installed if I used a two-way splitter on the cable input that also went into the amplified splitter power supply. The splitter had to have one output that passed the voltage for the power supply, and one output that didn't that went into the MoCA adapter.

    I don't remember how well that worked, just that using the special two-way splitter that passed the voltage to power the amplified splitter on one of its two outputs made things work.
     
  3. Internet Man

    Internet Man Senior Member

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    The amplified splitter might pass through MoCA signals. Some of the Q&A and reviews for this listing on Amazon say that these products are MoCA compatible although PPC appears to have released a newer M Entry Series of amplified splitters that are explicitly MoCA ready while yours from the Entry Series does not claim to be MoCA ready. Your model may only pass through some MoCA frequencies. MoCA 1.1 operates at 500 MHz - 1500 MHz while MoCA 2.0 uses 500 MHz - 1650 MHz https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia_over_Coax_Alliance#Technology

    This post from 2016 seems to confirm MoCA 1.1 support for your model:

    If your internet modem works fine without the amplifier then you could get a simple MoCA ready splitter for < $10 on amazon and use that in place of the amplified splitter for your MoCA runs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  4. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    I'm about half happy at this point *smile*. The MoCA 2.0 link between my cable modem and the TV works at my full internet download speed. Haven't done any more measurements, but that's a really good start. Using the Motorola MM1000 MoCA 2.0 adapters, much more plug'n'pray than the ActionTec adapters that I fumbled around with some time ago. Don't do encrypting of traffic, but that's okay. Nice thing about the Motorola's is that you don't have to fool around with a splitter at the modem. They connect like the old Netgear MoCA 1.1 adapters connected.

    So the amplified distribution splitter has turned out to be MoCA compatible. And the splitter with one port passing power keeps the amplified splitter powered up as I had hoped. That part's all good.

    The one problem that I have left is the link upstairs by the TV in the bedroom. I replaced the only splitter that I know of in my attic for this link, a 1GHz. model, with a MoCA compatible splitter that goes up to 1.65GHz. So the signal path is from the TV to that splitter, then out to the amplified distribution splitter at the POE. That link also works, but only gets up about 10Mbps, which is way down there from my ISP speed, and what I see in the downstairs MoCA 2.0 link mentioned above.

    Any ideas what the problem might be? I don't see any more splitters, but there could well be some factor that I'm not taking into account...just for reference, back when we were on cable TV a couple of months ago, the TV in our bedroom worked well. So there should be a good signal path for MoCA.
     
  5. CaptainSTX

    CaptainSTX Very Senior Member

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    Are you using the first set of MOCA adapters to extend the WAN from your modem to a router which is co located with your TV? If so perhaps having one pair of MOCA adapters on the WAN and another on the LAN is causing problems. If this is the case then using a MOCA filter might help by preventing overlap of the MOCA networks.

    Another thing to look at is if you only have 2-3 coaxial drops in your home do you really need the drop amplifier?

    Finally the old CATV installer fallback is to reterminate all the cables you are using.
     
  6. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Thanks...actually, my router and modem and desktop computer are located in one end of my house (family room), and the downstairs TV is located at the other end (living room). The eero in AP mode does fine for wireless to cover where the TV is, but it's wireless after all *smile*. I have put terminators on unused coax outlets, but haven't replaced all the connectors. That's where I'm at, not sure what else I can do.

    We do need the drop amplifier, there are actually 4 drops in our house counting the internet cable run back to my family room, a separate drop off the splitter. We also have another TV in the guest room that I didn't mention, but I don't care about getting wired-equivalent LAN there. And one currently unused TV outlet that's behind a bookcase that we may want to use at some point. Without the amplified distribution splitter, the TV in the living room had occasional annoying audio dropouts and minor pixelation events. The amplified splitter fixed that. While we're off cable TV for the moment, I want to be able to go back to it at some point so will keep the existing distribution network intact *smile*. And I do know that the amplified splitter is MoCA compatible as claimed in the video about it on the PPC web site, since the link between my modem and the downstairs TV goes through it bidirectionally. And that works well.

    The basic problem I'm trying to solve is that I have an indoor over-the-air antenna in the upstairs bedroom where the TV is, along with an HDHomeRun Connect. The indoor antenna works surprisingly well, getting ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, PBS, and ION, all the network affiliates that I'm not getting with internet TV, so I want to be able to use that antenna downstairs. With just wireless, I get some pixelation on the highest resolution TV channels at the downstairs TV from the HDHomeRun. With the addition of the MoCA link from my main router (Netgear R7800) to the TV in the living room, that situation has gotten a lot better. I think that getting the MoCA link working from the TV/indoor antenna/HDHomeRun upstairs will fully take care of the problem.

    The other end of things is that I've been considering a Tablo in place of the HDHomeRun. The Tablo has variable speed streaming modes, and a more compressed stream. While the HDHomeRun streams in only in raw MPEG-2 mode, and needs higher bandwidth to do that, the Tablo transcodes the video stream to a lower bandwidth stream, and can also be turned down to as low as a 2Mbps streaming mode, of course giving lower resolution on the TV at that low of bandwidth. And, the Tablo has a Roku app, which is very helpful. One of those things where if I'd have known about the Tablo, I most likely would have gone with it instead of the HDHomeRun. Anyways, it won't be the end of the world as we know it if I can't get the link from the upstairs bedroom down to the main router running, but it would give me the higher resolution I'd like to have.

    I just need to figure out what's slowing that link from the upstairs bedroom to the main router downstairs down *smile*.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  7. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    From that - it sounds like there might be a bit of loss - only thing I can think of is checking all the runs, any splitters, unterminated runs, etc...

    Before I switched over to DirecTV - I had serious issues with one specific run, and going up into the attic, found an ancient splitter from 1978 along that run that was causing Cox's SDV mini-box to drop out quite often - doing a rough run (e.g. on the floor) is that whole span was basically out of spec, it was good enough for analog CATV and ClearQAM, but when cox disabled both and moved to SDV, that span couldn't support it.

    Problems with Coax can be a challenge - I was fortunate in that I "know a guy" that is a Cox/Spectrum contractor, and he has all the slick tools to check the internal plant - not just from my demarc, but also from the tap out on the curb. Basically, outside of the specific run that was installed when I added my cable modem, it was all out of spec - so I ended up re-doing my entire in-house coax, from the demarc to the drops.

    Of course, when the DirecTV installer came over - he complemented me on my then current RG59 runs, quality of connections, etc... and the promptly did his own RG6 runs from the antenna all the way to the main box, and the deca's in between... completely separate and not-interconnected with my existing cable plant. Go figure..

    When looking at non-CAT5/6 implementations - MOCA and HomePlug, I can see why MOCA is usually the domain of the cable folks, as they have the tools to debug - I think MOCA is likely better than HomePlug, but HomePlug is easier for end-user installs...
     
  8. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Yeah, wish I had some of those coax network debugging tools. I should look into renting someone who has the tools and knows how to use them *smile*. Don't see anything obvious, so I guess I'm left with the run back to the POE itself. Like I said, the particular run isn't critical, but it sure as heck would be nice to get it operating at top speed like it should. Looks like I'll be spending more time in the attic soon.
     
  9. krkaufman

    krkaufman Regular Contributor

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    That's not a "designed for MoCA" amp and, though you may get MoCA connectivity between some of its output ports, you should consider upgrading it to a known-good model with built-in "PoE" MoCA filter and, ideally, MoCA bypass for the passive (VOIP/eMTA modem) output port. Short-term, though, if the goal is to just get MoCA properly functioning, I'd heed the advice to replace this amp with a simple (known-good MoCA) passive splitter configuration (with "PoE" MoCA filter properly installed).

    You'd want to try something similar to the following at your main junction, rather than the current PPC amp:

    Simple Cable-MoCA network v1.png
    edit: p.s. That the current PPC amp lacks a built-in "PoE" MoCA filter is a factor in your MoCA performance, as the "PoE" MoCA filter provides a performance benefit, not just security. And installing a "PoE" MoCA filter on the PPC amp's input port, though necessary, will not net the needed performance boost, since the MoCA signals would need to pass through the amplifier circuitry to bounce off the filter -- thus the recommendation to upgrade to an actual MoCA amp or replace it, for now, with passive splitters that would allow proper "PoE" MoCA filter installation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  10. krkaufman

    krkaufman Regular Contributor

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    How are you measuring the effective throughput of this connection? And have you reviewed the MoCA stats reported by your MM1000 MoCA adapters to confirm it's a MoCA/coax issue, rather than, say, a bad Ethernet cable or network switch port dropping the connection to 10 Mbps?


    edit: p.s. Info on checking MM1000 stats, >here< (and here).
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  11. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Hmmm...thanks, didn't know that there were MoCA stats being collected. Sounds useful. And I do see where you're going with your diagram, but I don't really see the difference effectively if there's an amplified splitter that's MoCA compatible and provides unity gain, and the drawing that you have. Other than losing 3.5 dB in the first passive splitter, and then more in the next passive splitter for the TV's. If those are all intended to be passive splitters, I already know that will present problems for my cable signal.

    So it might indeed be better to go with the PPC-5M-UU MoCA compatible splitter, assuming I can drop it in the same outdoor box that the EVO1-5-U/U is in now. Can't find the dimensions of the two amplified splitters, but they should be both about the same size for just such exact replacement use *smile*. Don't know for sure, though.

    I don't know if you played the video about installing the EVO1-5-U/U, but it does specifically talk about MoCA compatibility. That's why I haven't replaced it yet. Don't know if they designed in a POE filter like they did for the PPC-5M-UU...

    Oh, by the way, I just did a rough speed test, connecting a laptop to the upstairs bedroom MoCA adapter's ethernet port, and ran an internet speed test via a browser. Didn't use iperf or jperf or whatever. I tried again today to do the same thing, but the link didn't come up today before I gave up trying. Didn't spend very long on it, since I had other things to do. But now that you've sown some doubts about the POE amplified distributtion splitter, I'm thinking more about replacing that. If it is that splitter, that would explain how the TV could work fine, but MoCA didn't using the same coax line/connector.

    The other MoCA link, the one between my main router in the family room and the TV in the first floor living room continues to work perfectly.

    Anyways, thanks for your comments, you've brought up some interesting issues to think about.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
  12. degrub

    degrub Very Senior Member

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    move the non-working moca cable at the splitter to a known working port on the splitter and see if it comes up.
     
  13. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Good thought...thanks for that! I can switch the two, working and non-working, at the amplifier. First, though, I need to discover which one port is which *smile*. Should be easy enough by disconnecting at the amplifier and seeing when the various connections drop.
     
  14. krkaufman

    krkaufman Regular Contributor

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    I'm not sure what I can add, since all your comments were addressed in the text of my post:
     
  15. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Thanks...I've just purchased a PPC PPC-5M-UU on eBay in hopes that using it to replace the PPC EVO1-5-U/U will at least help the MoCA problem that I have. As I mentioned, it has the built-in POE filter, MoCA 2.0 compatibility, etc.

    On the other hand, the MoCA link from the upstairs bedroom is a little less urgent since I'm now using the Tablo in place of the HDHomeRun. The Tablo can stream 720p using only 5Mbps, and seems to be working well as things are now in my home network. I'll still try the MoCA splitter mentioned just above to see if it helps, but not needing it as much.

    I'd be happy if passive splitters worked well enough with my cable signal, since who needs the problems introduced by active splitters. But we needed the active splitter to make the cable signal work. And if we go back to cable TV, we'll need the active splitter again. So why not just keep it?

    Anyways, thanks, you've been very helpful and I appreciate it.
     
  16. krkaufman

    krkaufman Regular Contributor

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    The description in the specs sheet of the PPC "M" amp ... "Built-in POE filter on Input port" ... is mildly concerning, since a MoCA filter on the input port wouldn't seem much better than your existing amp with a separate MoCA filter screwed on to its input port, so here's hoping it's just a poor description.

    The PCT MoCA bypass amp product page provides a bit more confidence-inspiring detail for their product.

    Fingers crossed...
     
  17. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Me, too *smile*.
     
  18. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Okay, here's the final results...replaced the old MoCA compatible amplified splitter with a MoCA 2.0 compatible amplified splitter, and now both links are working fine.

    Love it when things are that simple...just drop in a new splitter and everything's good. Spent lots of time, and good result *smile*.

    Thanks!
     
    krkaufman likes this.
  19. krkaufman

    krkaufman Regular Contributor

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    Good to hear. But the results should be the final evidence that you can stop referring to the PPC EVO1-5-U/U as "MoCA compatible."
     
  20. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    *smile*. It might have been MoCA 1.0 compatible? I'm not sure why the web site referred to it as MoCA compatible in the installation video, but that was clearly misleading.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018