For a few years I have been on a quest to reliably stream HD video from my NAS to my TV. I’ve tried both Powerline and draft 802.11n wireless solutions, but neither has proven sufficient. Which is I was excited to see Netgear release the MCAB1001 MoCA Coax-Ethernet Adapter Kit (~$200). I used to build out 10Base2 networks back in the day, so why not use the existing coaxial cable running through my home to move data?
Our review unit consisted of a pair of MoCA devices, power adapters, stands, a pair of Ethernet cables and a pair of coax cables. I was glad to see that Netgear included the coax cables. I had feared that I would be taking a trip to The Shack.
Setup of the MoCA units is very simple, although your mileage may vary. I unplugged the cable from the TV and plugged it in the Coax In port on the MoCA device. I then ran the included coax from the Coax Out to the TV. Next, I connected the Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port and connected the other end to my Popcorn Hour A-110. (Netgear, we’d be happy to take a look at the EVA9150. Hint, hint.) I then connected the second MoCA device to my router. I made sure the Mode button on each device was set to Normal and then plugged in the power. After a few seconds the Ethernet and MoCA lights started flashing. I turned the wireless off on the A-110 and browsed to my movie share and started streaming a 720p HD file. The video played without a problem! I then played a 1080p HD video and am happy to say that it played without a problem as well.
After I finished enjoying some of my new streaming HD content, I decided to see what Netgear offers to administer on these devices. You need to install a small utility on your PC to access the admin screens. I ran an Ethernet cable from my laptop to the Ethernet port on the MoCA device. I also had to change the Mode from Normal to Config. Once I did that, the installed utility connected to the device and displayed the admin login page.
Upon login you are taken to the Coax screen. This is the only screen that offers any form of performance configuration for the MoCA devices. You can change the Channel frequency if you notice any reduction in TV signal. However, I didn’t experience any problems with the picture quality coming from my cable provider. The next configuration option is a Privacy screen that allows you to enter a 12 to 17 digit numerical encryption key. This same key must be entered on the second MoCA device as well. The Password screen allows you to change the default administrator password of admin. It’s always a good idea to change this.
The Coax Statistics screen shows you information about transmitted and received packets, errors, etc. This data is not updated in real time. As soon as you take the device out of Normal mode, it stops updating the statistics. So what you are seeing is a snap shot. The MoCA Devices screen allows you to see all the MoCA devices you have connected to your network. Currently, you can have 16 devices connected to your network at one time.
I ran a few speed tests on my setup and averaged 68 Mbps for a single connection. In order to stream HD video you are going to want to have somewhere between 20 Mbps – 35 Mbps of steady bandwidth and Netgear’s MoCA solution fits the bill. As long as you are using one of the best cable internet providers in your area, you should easily be able to reach the same speeds that these test results show. Just make sure you know what the maximum speed is for the service you signed up for, as it differs for each provider.
Overall, I’m very happy with the Netgear MoCA Coax-Ethernet Adapter Kit. While my wireless setup served me well for streaming SD content, it’s time to replace it with Netgear devices. Right now MoCA is the way to stream HD content if you don’t feel like running Ethernet throughout your house. I had no problem streaming 720p and 1080p content. The other thing I appreciated about these units was the ease of setup and lack of administration. You can even turn of the blinding blue LED lights. Nothing is more annoying than bright flashing blue lights while you are trying to watch a movie.
Some things I would like to see in future versions of this product would be:
• A built in switch (multiple ports)