Advice Please - Ethernet or MoCA

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Chuck Stuettgen, Apr 24, 2020.

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  1. Chuck Stuettgen

    Chuck Stuettgen New Member

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    Apr 24, 2020
    Hi there, I'm looking for some advice from the experts here.

    Currently I have 4 Tivo's (2 - Roamio Plus Series 5 & 2 - Preview Series 4) which are supplied by my local cable company. They are all presently configured to use MoCA as their network via an Actiontec MoCa adapter (also provided by the cable company). Everything works fine and we can view recorded content on both of the Roamio's from any of 4 devices.

    I am presently in the process of installing CAT 6 Ethernet cables in my entire house and am considering whether or not I should switch the Tivo's to use an Ethernet connection, so I can eliminate the ActionTec MoCa Adapter and its related power brick and coax cables.

    I have attached a drawing showing how everything is currently connected and welcome any suggestions or advice.

    Thank you in advance.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    With MoCa, you would be using the single coax coming from the wall.

    With Ethernet, you would have 2 (coax and ethernet.)

    There isn't much of speed difference between Ethernet and MoCa.

    Are you using a MoCa adapter with the Roamio Plus, when it has built-in MoCa?
    I assume you meant Premiere and not Preview for the Series 4 (no Preview models). The 4 tuner models also have MoCa built-in, unless its the 2 tuner model.

    If they are on a MoCa adapter and you like to switch to Ethernet, then you can just swap the cables, remove the adapter/power. No network setting to change. If its using the internal MoCa, then you would need to go to the Network settings and switch to Ethernet.

    Your diagram does not show how everything connects on your network, only the MoCa adapters.
     
  3. zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I am in favor of Ethernet simply for the reason that you may want to go with alternate HW solutions down the road. You can also easily add a switch if you want to add additional devices.
    I have also noticed performance degradation the more splitters you put into Coax solutions.

    You could always install a structured cable and have the best of both worlds.

    Ideally if you are doing the whole house you should install a patch panel at incoming location to all your drops and you can easily configure as needed.

    The Arris T25 cable modem on the right feeds the phone switch below. Row 1 is our main number and Row 2 is our second number.
    The Cable modem also feeds a Ubiquiti Router which feeds a Unifi Managed switch above. Some of the ports on the switch go to POE Unifi exterior Cameras, Ring Elite Doorbell and AP Access point
    The other ports go to Structured wiring Jacks about the house that have both RG6 and RJ45 ports.

    Another big advantage because I used managed switches is I put all the Tivo and non computer stuff on a separate IOT network.

    In the second picture one of the rooms in my master closet has more stuff like another switch, Hubitat Hub, Bond Hub, Another AP, Tivo Mini for the Bedroom, and the Unifi Cloudkey that stores camera video.

    The basic point is if you are redoing things about the house this gives you ultimate flexibility to change as things and make different rooms do different things.

    Infact I moved the subwoofer from one side of the room to the other using the little Coax jumper that you see going from Port 3 to Port 6. IMG_1077.jpg

    IMG_0960.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  4. snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

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    If your main objective is to eliminate the MoCA adapter, the simplest way would be to run ethernet to either Roamio Plus and change the configuration of that Roamio to act as a MoCA bridge. Then remove the MoCA adapter. Everything else can still connect through MoCA. If it is all working fine, that is the minimum change that would allow/require the MoCA bridge to be removed.

    MoCA and ethernet can be mixed in any combination as long as one device is acting as a bridge. You could then switch other devices over to ethernet if you want, but there are some benefits to using a MoCA network so that the video traffic is confined to the coax, preserving ethernet bandwidth on the rest of the network.
     
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  5. zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Is video traffic clogging a Cat6 network really a problem given video compression relative to the all those benefits I discussed above. If your starting from scratch most internal networks are at gig speed. It also seems you would require lots more adapters.
     
  6. snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

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    For most people it isn't an issue. It might be a consideration for the OP, since the MoCA network is already active and stable. For those who like to optimize performance, keeping video traffic on the coax is a win when a MoCA network is already in place.

    Another unrelated point: A Roamio Plus on a MoCA network can be used to distribute ethernet to other devices that are in the same room as the Roamio, by setting the Roamio to "MoCA bridge mode" and connecting the ethernet port to a switch. The main downside of doing this is that all devices in the room loose network access whenever the Roamio restarts for any reason.
     
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  7. zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    The thing is I like the idea of a managed network and I want all my IOT devices to be separated since its difficult to trust they will keep up on security. Using A Tivo as a bridge makes this somewhat impossible since I want the Tivo be on the IOT and downstream devices don't have a say as a result.

    He also said he in installing CAT6 wires throughout the house so for him I would not recommend staying on the MoCA. If it was somebody who would have a difficult time stringing CAT6 MoCA might be a solution but I would still look hard at APs as a bridge.
     
  8. MikeekiM

    MikeekiM Palindromer

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    Honestly, they are the same to me... However, if I were to choose between the two, I favor ethernet simply because it is the standard for carrying computing network data... No difference functionally, but if I am making the decision between the two, I'll go ethernet...

    The main reason I would go MoCA is if I need to run data to a place with RG6, but no ethernet run, and I want to avoid running CAT5e or CAT6 to that location. In that case, I will run MoCA simply to avoid crawling under the house.
     
  9. ClearToLand

    ClearToLand Old !*#$% Tinkerer!

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    I've been interested in creating a few VLANs in my home for a few years now [I bought a half dozen consumer grade Netgear and TP-Link (GS108E, GS108T, SG108E) Managed Switches back in 2017] but I'm still unclear on a few points (I just left a Detailed Post #489 to @Saturn in another thread).

    I'm "familiar" with the terms OSI, Layer 2, Layer 3, but I don't yet see how to create a DHCP Server for 4 VLAN subnets (I would like to have MAC-to-IP mapping for all my LAN devices like I have now without a VLAN) and I'm also confused about routing between subnets [i.e. if I put all of my wireless devices on a separate VLAN and my Plex Server remains with my PCs - i.e. how would the tablets (Plex Clients) access the shows (Plex Server)]? Tonight my research lead me to believe that I need to use Layer 3 switches to route data between subnets, so it's time to re-visit the Netgear and TP-Link specs pages. ;)

    Thanks for any tips you can offer. LINKs to useful 'Networking Forums', like SNB, would also be appreciated. (Forums revolving around Cisco Enterprise gear might be too complicated to follow for a home networking individual)
     
  10. zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    My Unifi switch supposedly has Layer 3 capability but the software is not out yet. You are suggesting a more complicated setup with your own DHCP server. I haven't felt the need for that level of isolation yet. I guess I will watch to see what people say.
     
  11. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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    A router running DD-WRT can handle Vlans and the associated DHCP allocations.

    -KP
     
  12. zalusky

    zalusky Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I kind of rushed my answer as I was busy but the Unifi Cloud key can configure a lot of stuff:

    • Create multiple VLANs - I have private, guest, and IOTs
    • Create firewall rules to separate the VLANs
    • Associate Switch ports and SSIDs to said VLANs
    • DHCP clients on said SSIDs or Switch Ports
    • Dynamic DNS
    • Create Static Routes, Port Forwarding

    And a whole lot of other stuff you can read here: https://dl.ubnt.com/guides/UniFi/UniFi_Controller_V5_UG.pdf
     
  13. Saturn

    Saturn Lord of the Rings

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    This may help (or confuse you):

    A VLAN is nothing more than a few bits tacked onto the beginning of the Ethernet packet. They allow a switch to divide up its ports logically (hence Virtual LAN). However, there's nothing stopping a single physical port from being a member of multiple VLANs. So you could have physical port 3 be a member of VLAN 10,11 and 12. Inside the OS you can split your physical NIC into multiple logical NICs, and then run multiple DHCP servers on the same box (or one DHCP server bound to each of the logical NICs).

    Can DD-WRT do this? Probably, it is Linux. Can it do it out of the box? No idea, I haven't used DD-WRT in years.

    This page seems to indicate you could:

    What is VLAN & How to Setup VLANs in DD-WRT - (Router FAQ) -

    Rather than assigning a port to a single VLAN, it looks like you could assign a port to more than one VLAN, and use Multiple DHCP on each of the VLANs.
     
  14. fyodor

    fyodor Active Member

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    If you are going to have Ethernet ports in the room, use Ethernet. MoCA is the best Ethernet replacement( I use it), but it still sometimes has quirks and problems. if you have Ethernet, use Ethernet.
     
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  15. jacktechie

    jacktechie Member

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    I had a problem with 2 Bolts on wifi and/or ethernet and Tivo HD on ethernet. The Bolts will randomly drop from the network and never come back up. Even if both were connected to the network, they would not see each other, whereas the iPad had no problems talking to either. Using online.tivo.com to transfer, it would start and just stall and never complete.

    I just gave up and used the Comcast Xfinity Router as MOCA master and the 2 Bolts as clients. Working this way for 2 years. All 3 see each other, My Shows | Devices, and online transfers work.
     
  16. Chuck Stuettgen

    Chuck Stuettgen New Member

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    Apr 24, 2020
    I appreciate everyone's comments.

    Because I was interested in getting rid of the MoCa adapter and its associated hardware, I decided to go with the majority's advice and switched the Tivos to use an ethernet connection.

    Switching to ethernet simplified the coax cabling and allowed me to avoid reinstalling 2 splitters, 3 coax cables, the MoCa adapter, and it's power brick in my new network cabinet.

    There was also an unexpected benefit to making the change. The video on all of our televisions was noticeably sharper, which my wife even noticed. Having the wife notice an improvement is always a good thing when it comes to tech projects. :)

    Here are some before and after photos. I welcome your comments and will happily answer any questions.

    Before - The blue cables are Cat 5 which were installed when our house was built nearly 20 years ago. They were originally intended to be used as phone lines. All but the one in the kitchen have been repurposed for network use.



    Coax & Cat 5 cable clean up. The little white jumper connects the telephone line to the phone in the kitchen.




    Ready for equipment. The purple cables are the new Cat 6 cables. 11 total including three for Unifi Nano HD access points.



    After - I won't say finished because... a network is never complete! :)



    Edited to fix links to images.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
  17. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    MoCA was developed primarily to provide Multi-Media (the "M" in MoCA stands for Multi-Media) using IP where existing Coax was already installed (such as CATV coax cable, for example) and where wired Cat cable was either not already installed or could NOT be installed (such as in some apartments where drillng holes for Cat cable is not an option, but CATV coax is already installed). While there were some relavant tech companies (such as D-link--IIRC, as one example), the MoCA alliance had several Multi-Media type companies as leading members who would later implement the MoCA standard in their equipment. I think TiVo was a member, IIFC, but I do remember some cable MSO's and both Dish and DirecTV among many others back then. DiercTV and Dish use MoCA (either using existing coax in the home or installing their own coax when necessary) for their whole home DVR solutions: Geni and Hopper family. The MoCA is completely seperate and independant of your Ethernet home network for sending audio/video from DVR's to clients (although at least ONE of the DVR's makes a connection to your internet connection (Gateway), but ONLY for TV show/Movie downloads/streams). Considering all the other methods Dish and DirecTV were playing with to send all the HD video traffic in some sort of whole home solution, MoCA was an answer to their prayers.

    So, MoCA is somewhat of a compromise compared to Ethernet, at least back then (limitations of frequency bands and some could interfere with broadcast OTA on the same Coax, etc.). However, new MoCA standards keep improving, but Ethernet is the better standard/tech and is most preferred over MoCA if it is possible to create such an in-home network. So, always Ethernet for a TiVo if possible, IMHO, and MoCA as good, functional alternative.

    However, both Ethernet and MoCA are only as good as the brians running the network (for MoCA, that would be the TiVo DVR). While Ethernet has the advantage, in many cases people have some 10+ year old cheap router (wired/WiFi) controlling their LAN, and the performance can be dismal due to old chips that can't handle all the triffic and will get HOT, and not enough memory, etc. and can create instances where larger, more resorce demanding mult-media using ineffecient (or even efficient) codecs that cause PQ and stability to suffer. This is why TiVo always tells people to use MoCA because a great many people have absolutely terrible performing home networks. But if running Cat cable is out of the question, then, by all means, use MoCA and you can get good results.

    But, if you do have Ethernet in your home and would like to network your TiVo's to your already existing wired network (which is the EASIEST thing to do if you have Cat cable already run), then PLEASE be aware if your router is up to the job. I have countless examples of people having awful performance or dubious PQ and stability with TiVo's networked only to realize that the culprit was that OLD router that we insisted to get for the lowest or budget price only. When those people finally bit the bullet and got a GOOD router that did cost more, all there network performance problems went away and they noticed more reliability and better speeds with other data and all the TiVo traffic along with all the other LAN traffic was whizzing through with absoutely no hiccups--and thier WiFi was better than they ever dreamed.

    By gosh, the investment in TiVo products and systems is SIGNIFICANT. Dont cheapskate on the one thing that makes it all happen. You can cheapskate somewhat on switches--IMHO, but never on the router.

    I have all TiVo's and clients in my wired LAN and absolutely no problems--AFTER I got a good router that also solved other problems I was putting up with. HD streams from internet and significat file transfers and Slingbox in LAN streamings and multiple TiVo traffic all at the same time and all is NO PROBLEM in the least. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  18. Sparky1234

    Sparky1234 Well-Known Member

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    Same here.
     
  19. Chuck Stuettgen

    Chuck Stuettgen New Member

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    Apr 24, 2020
    I used to be amazed by the people who would spend $1000.00 on the latest iPhone then complain when it was slower than their old phone.

    Even more ridiculous was how they would blame their ISP for their Internet being slow when the problem was the 5 year old Wifi router they bought for $69.00 at the local discount store. When I'd suggest they need to replace it, they would argue with me saying their desktop computer which was connected by an Ethernet cable worked just fine.

    Rather than try explain the difference of how Wifi works, I now just mentally shake my head then excuse myself from the conversation.

    But, sometimes simply replacing the combination Wifi/Router with a new one won't be the solution either.

    A few years back I helped a co-worker solve his wifi issues in a new house he'd just finished building.

    He'd bought a well known high end (read expensive) Wifi/router but it only worked in the room with the cable modem. As soon as he would walk out the door his laptop would lose his connection.

    After spending a couple of hours trouble shooting I decided the unit was defective. We packed it back up and returned it to the store, where they exchanged it without question.

    When we installed the new unit in the same location (a second floor office) the result was exactly the same. As soon as we left the room the Wifi signal would disappear.

    After some questioning, he proudly told me his house was built with steel studs on 12 inch centers. I'm sure my eyes widened in surprise because he volunteered that he'd decided on using commercial steel studs because one of his neighbors houses had burned to the ground, while they'd been away on a trip, and by the time someone noticed the fire and reported it to the fire department, it was too late to save.

    Mind you this was an executive in our company and his house was 3 stories and about 10,000 sq feet in size. It was also located in an heavily wooded and fairly exclusive area of town were the smallest lot size was 10 acres.

    After telling me about the steel studs, I calmly explained that in order to fix the issue with Wifi he would need to put an access point in every room he wanted to be able to use Wifi. Fortunately, the builder had convinced him to install Ethernet cables in most of the rooms. The cabling contractor terminated them in a cabinet located in his garage, and also fortunately he terminated each cable with a RJ45 connector instead of a patch panel.

    We headed back to the local electronics store where he purchased a couple of switches. A 24 port switch for the cabinet in the garage and small 4 port switch for his office. We couldn't move the router to the garage because all of the coax cables in the house ran to a closet in the office where his AV equipment resided. He also bought 5 less expensive Wifi access points without router capabilities which we plugged into the network connection in the main living areas and a couple of bedrooms. Once everything was configured he could use Wifi in those rooms. On the bright side, I told him he wouldn't have to worry about anyone snooping on his Wifi, the metal studs & ceiling joists were a very effective Faraday cage.
     

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