Having discovered the benefits of MoCA network connections back in the Summer, I was very pleased to hear from Actiontec who offered their brand new 802.11ac Wireless Network Extender with Gigabit Ethernet & Bonded MoCA 2.0 (WCB6200Q) for review (now, there’s a mouthful), alongside their ECB6200 Bonded MoCA 2.0 Network Adapter.
For the uninitiated, MoCA is to coaxial wiring (like you may have around the home for cable TV) what Powerline is to electrical wiring. Using dedicated adapters, you can carry data around the home to any location with a cable TV outlet.
I’ve tried a swathe of Powerline adapters from various manufacturers with reasonably mediocre results – courtesy of the dubious quality of my electrical cabling, rather than specific issues with the adapters. My previous record speed over Powerline is just 45 Mbps, from a pair of NETGEAR Powerline 1200 (PLP1200-100PAS) adapters. These offer real world speeds of around 350 Mbps, so it’s clear that my electrical cabling isn’t a great option for data.
It was then I remembered about MoCA Adapters – Multimedia Over Coax, if you wish to be formal. Launched way back in 2006, you won’t see MoCA adapters lining the racks of your local Best Buy, but the standard is popular with cable providers (as well as home networking gurus). The concept is similar to Powerline, but rather than using your electrical cabling, MoCA adapters use the coaxial cable installed in many North American homes for cable TV and broadband services.
I switched from Powerline to the Actiontec Ethernet over Coax Adapter Kit (ECB2500CK01) earlier in the year and had far greater success, with data transfer speeds increasing dramatically to that 45 Mbps figure. While that’s not breaking any benchmark records, in the real world, it’s the difference between me being able to stream multiple high-definition media streams around the home from my NAS vs the previous frustration of stuttering network speeds and hiccuping video.
As good as this kit is – and I’m still using it with my NAS, so it’s standing the test of time – it’s somewhat limited in that data transfer speeds are limited to a theoretical maximum of 270 Mbps. It’s also a wired solution, from adapter to adapter so there’s no wireless coverage.
Actiontec’s new $150 802.11ac Wireless Network Extender with MoCA (WCB6200Q) is packed with next generation improvements. The company has sold over 40 million connected devices to date and with widespread adoption across many well-known service providers such as Verizon, CenturyLink, Telus, Comcast and more.