Using MoCA to Extend Ethernet Networks

- 383 Words

I’ve made some pretty significant upgrades to my home network in the past few years. As the homelab bug started to bite again, I’ve begun transitioning back to using hard-wired connections where possible. I swapped out my older wireless equipment with UniFi equipment for better control, and started running cabling where I could.

My current living situation prevents me from making major modifications. I either had to configure the UniFi system to use wireless mesh and backhaul the traffic, or run cables all over the place somehow. Yuck.

I started looking at alternatives I remembered from a while ago, including Ethernet over Powerline and Ethernet over Coax. Each of these progressed a lot farther than I had expected. Luckily for me, there were already Coax cable drops exactly where I wanted to run my equipment, so going that route seemed the best.

I ended up selecting a solution from goCoax. For under $200, I was able to acquire three of the adapters (WF-803M), which was exactly what I needed. I ended up spending more time tracing and labeling the existing cables than I did getting the adapters up and running. Because I had access to all of the Coax drops, I was able to reconnect everything to suit my needs. Below is a diagram I worked up in Mermaid; any unlabeled connections are Ethernet.

The marketing site for goCoax boasts a data rate of up to 2.5 Gbps. I haven’t tested extensively tested this, nor will I. I have no need. I don’t see any blatant latency, and since I’m limited to gigabit for wired and obviously less for wireless, it doesn’t really matter.

The biggest downside I can think of for this solution is that you can’t use Power over Ethernet (PoE), for the fairly obvious reason that it’s not really Ethernet when you’re sending the bits over Coax. That’s fine, I have the needed PoE injectors and battery backup units, so it doesn’t affect my use case.

The only thing I haven’t extensively researched would be the security of the goCoax devices themselves. Specifically, if I’m using these things and the onboard bonding firmware/software is out of date, is there an attack vector there? Although it’s a concern, it hasn’t been enough for me to dig deeply enough or disconnect them.