Networking via powerline vs. phone line vs. coax

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    We have our Ceton InfiniTV working great on the HTPC in the family room, and are now looking to connect the system to XBox extenders in other rooms in the house so that we can watch live shows and/or stream recorded programming.

    For various and sundry reasons, we are not interested either in wireless technology or in tearing down walls to run Ethernet cables around the house. Therefore I’ve been looking at three other possibilities for networking our devices: powerline (such as HomePlug), phone line (HPNA), and coax cable (MoCA).

    Which of these options would provide the best and most reliable signal? I’ve heard that powerline networking (for instance) is affected by dimmer switches and appliances putting out “dirty” signals? We would like the network to be capable of sending out programming in 1080, high-def resolution.

    In case it makes a difference to the answer: our house is fairly new (1996) and we are on cable (not satellite) TV.

    Thanks in advance for any advice/info/tips you might provide.


    Aaron Ledger

    I only have some experience with Powerline and in my older home, the throughput is not so great for a 1080p video application. It is definitely susceptible to noise. As an example, turning on a hair dryer will obliterate the throughput. It might work well in your home, but then again, it seems like a crap shoot.

    MoCA and HPNA are both supposed to work well.


    Thanks very much, this jibes with what I’ve heard.

    I’ll look at MoCA solutions first.

    Keep up the good work!


    I’ve been attempting to run HPNA at my place for IPTV



    it’s not been particularly stable, and I’ve gone back to ethernet


    granted, I didn’t run the coax, it’s rg59 not rg6.   I did crimp on new ends and barrels everywhere, but just not impressed with it


    testing shows the links are capable of 112 mbps each, which should be fine, but it just hasn’t been stable


    That’s good to know, thanks.

    MoCA is looking more and more like the best candidate.



    Moca is best. I’ve used it for over 2 years and it’s fantastic! Plugs in well with Verizon Fios which is also moca-based.


    I’d also say MoCA. It’s about the best wired solution you can get without running Ethernet. Not too long ago I used a Netgear MoCA kit to wire up my in-law’s guest cottage to their main house since they both share the same cable TV run. It worked perfectly upon being plugged in.

    The one downside to MoCA is that it is not nearly as popular as power line networking. Just about every network vendor make HomePlug power line equipment. Only a few vendors offer MoCA compliant devices, and what you can readily find are kits (sets of 2) not just individual bridges, so if you need an odd number you’ll have to get one extra. For example Newegg only lists the Netgear kit and it’s out of stock. If you live near a Fry’s they usually have the Netgear kit in stock, that’s were I got mine. Actiontec is the big vendor that makes MoCA devices for Verizon FIOS customers, you can get their equipment new on Amazon and a lot of it used on eBay from Version customers. Missing Remote did a review of the Actiontec stuff last year here.

    The last time I tried phone line networking it was a joke (it was also 11 years ago or so), it could barely do an ~10Mbit connection, it usually negotiated a 5 Mbit connection in a newly built home. Which tends to make sense since really you’re trying to force wiring that only has 2-pair and was never meant to carry Ethernet data into carrying it. Also you can’t really find much HPNA equipment around, it fell very quickly out of popularity. In fact the HPNA group has now moved on to making an Ethernet over Coax specification that competes with MoCA (but isn’t compatible with DOCSIS, so you don’t want to use it) and is even harder to find equipment for than MoCA.

    I have yet to try power line so I can’t speak to that personally, but it does seem like the newest generation of HomePlug stuff has some very good signal processing and filtering to help make things work. See the noise testing results in this review from Small Net Builder here.

    Also running some Ethernet isn’t necessarily as bad as you’d think, it doesn’t usually require opening up walls, etc. Slipping the cable under the baseboard molding is pretty painless.



    Thanks very much for the info and the links, they were highly informative. Sounds like powerline is improving but MoCA is still leading.


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