Maddening Roamio/Mini Moca connectivity issues. Please advise!

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Swreck, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Swreck

    Swreck New Member

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    Feb 11, 2016
    Hi all. We just switched from 5 old lifetime service Tivos to HD with Roamio Plus + Minis. Lots of promise, but lots of pain. I've studied a ton of past posts here about MOCA networking issues. Enough to realize I'm finally lost on where to turn.

    Network: Roamio Plus, 5 Minis, MOCA network, Comcast Router DPC3941T, with Comcast router generating the Moca network (Getting the router to generate the network required having the Comcast central office turn it one and plugging ethernet into the back.)

    Symptoms:
    • 60% of time: works perfectly. Sometimes for a couple hours straight.
    • 30% (randomly) Mini loses connection with Roamio--cannot watch live or recorded shows
    • 10% signal exists, but unwatchable because video pixelated and sound broken
    • When Mini loses connection, it can often reconnect immediately after returning to Tivo Central and going back to My Shows>>Resume. You can tell whether it will work immediately because TV show icons will be visible at the TOP of Tivo Central. If the failure remains, it will not show the icons and say something like "Connect connect to" Roamio at Top. When errors are visible, I think they vary between V87, C122, and maybe one other.
    • If it will not work immediately, it may not come back for minutes or even hours. It can often come back "by itself" with no action. If still in Tivo Central, you can tell because the TV Show icons at top will return.
    • Restart is NOT needed to get the connection working again, but sometimes a restart seems to help (of the Roamio Plus and/or the Mini)
    • When it says the Roamio has lost connection to the network, the Roamio is actually still functioning on the TV to which it's connected directly via HDMI.
    • Sometimes, the Roamio recording seen directly via HDMI also has pixelation. But the Roamio with direct HDMI connect never seems to say "Lost connection to internet."

    Biggest remedy was bringing out an extremely conscientious Comcast person who put in a new 1 Ghz amplifier and new 1 Ghz splitter and new POE and redid almost every cable connection in the house (with great complaint that previous Comcast person had not done quality work). Before he left, everything worked great. But the ~30-40% failure rate described above started almost immediately.

    Tivo Tech support, in multiple calls, says they are absolutely sure the problem is the 1 Ghz amp and splitter. They claim absolute confidence that switching to 2 Ghz amp and splitter will fix everything. But discussion on this board (and the experience of the Comcast tech who came out) indicate this isn't true. Especially since the 1 Ghz amp and router are now new and presumably high quality. Either way, Comcast did not have 2 Ghz equipment.

    Options I can imagine--but I'm totally guessing:
    • Assume it's not the cable endings (which they just replaced) but old wiring and have Comcast rewire. Expensive because they can show the signal is reaching the endpoints now.
    • Turn off the MOCA generation from the Comcast router (by unplugging ethernet?) and tell the Roamio to generate the MOCA network. I don't really know what I'm talking about here, but I understand the Roamio can generate MOCA with no help from Comcast. Maybe it's a higher quality MOCA network?
    • Replace the 1 Ghz amp and splitter with 2 Ghz amp and splitter (this is the Tivo Tech support rec'dation). I don't know where I'd get these, but assume I can. And as noted, other threads on this community say it isn't needed.
    • Assume something is wrong with my Roamio (but odd since it works 70% of time)
    • Accept the $1,000 loss and switch to Comcast DVR (don't want to do this for obvious reasons!)

    Obviously, these are totally different directions: blame ... the Tivo, the network hardware, the network generation, the cable h/w, etc. Please advise on where you recommend I start!
     
  2. Peter G

    Peter G Member

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    Jan 3, 2012
    Swreck,

    A sketch or diagram of the network will be most helpful. What is the amp? Where is it in the network, and what model or specification? Same with the splitter(s)? Location and spec?

    You could try to use the Roamio plus to create the MoCA network, if it can connect to the Modem or router via Ethernet. But then you will need to disable the network created by the Comcast router.

    I have a MoCA network and can say that it functions flawlessly. SO MoCA can work well if all the parts are right.

    There may be other splitters in the network causing problems also.

    Peter G
     
  3. Swreck

    Swreck New Member

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    Feb 11, 2016
    Thanks for looking and good point on an image to help visualize. I've attached an image of everything in the Comcast box. I believe everything home runs to the box, so one of the many cables is to the modem and others are to other locations with end points for minis and roamio. And every element is brand new: amp, splitters, and cable ends were replaced by Comcast after I reported the issue.

    As you'll see the amp says it's a PPC Active Retrun EVO1-5-U/U, "Entry Series." The specs are visible on the label in the picture, but it looks like the forum downgrades the resolution, so let me know if something isn't readable. The three splitters are all: CommScope SV-2G. All are 1 Ghz.

    We do have another splitter on the far side of the house between two rooms. I believe it is identical to the ones in the box and also new. That second splitter is NOT between the box and the main TV on which we do most of the testing that generated the approximate failure percentages in my original question.

    I hope this is helpful! Please advise what other info would help.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    The amp may or may not be a problem. A moca-compatible amp rated to 1625 MHz would be ideal.

    However, there was another poster in this forum who said things were working fine with that amp.

    So before dealing with the amp, I would first disable the moca coming from the modem. Then connect the Roamio to the modem/router by ethernet, go into network settings and select "Use this DVR to create a moca network". (This will only work if the DVR is connected by ethernet.) See how things are working on the Minis, and stays working.

    If this doesn't fix the problem, my guess is that it's the amp.

    If this actually works, then it is your modem making a crappy moca signal. If the ethernet connection is not convenient long term, you can get a moca adapter to create the moca network for you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  5. Swreck

    Swreck New Member

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    Feb 11, 2016
    Thanks for the quick replies.

    Peter G: appreciate the vote of confidence in a Roamio-generated MoCA. And BigJimOutlaw, you picked my favorite option--I can do it myself and can reverse it if it doesn't work.

    Status: turned off Comcast MoCA. Turned on Roamio-generated MoCA. Connected the first Mini. And it works for now! As noted, it worked about 60-70% of the time before also, so I won't feel out of the woods until we can go 24 hours without a disconnect. Cross your fingers for me, ok?

    Thanks again.
     
  6. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Fingers crossed. I have tested and used the amp on your setup, it is MoCA rated and has a proper MoCA POE filter installed. The only thing I do not like is that you have at least 3 non-MoCA rated splitters immediately following the amp. Comcast also uses the same "blue" labeled version of that amp but in a nine port version, the PPC EVO1-9-U/U, which if used would immediately reduce the need for those three 2 way splitters down to just one 3 way and give a little better/ balanced signal distribution. I would also make that one 3 way a MoCA rated one if possible.
    My best advice would be to try and get one of the 9 port "blue" label versions directly from Comcast or if necessary, off of Ebay, where they can often be found in sub $40 range. I am actually surprised that your tech did not go that route unless the higher port versions are in short supply. I stress the "blue" label version because there is an older red label version with the same model # which is not MoCA capable.
    Your setup is unusual, in that you have what appears to be about 10 coax runs. If necessary Fios has used a MoCA friendly single in and out amp, the PDI-MBA-101-A, which gives about 10 dB of amplification for feeding the 3 way but only if necessary if a MoCA rated splitter doesn't get the job done. Just make sure you get one with the power supply, http://www.ebay.com/itm/PDI-MoCA-By...211644?hash=item4d3f48b63c:g:HkMAAOSwFNZWuhJn
     
  7. NCSU2008

    NCSU2008 New Member

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    Jun 1, 2015
    this is interesting. thinking about buying a samtec cable card slot to use with twc cable card
     
  8. Swreck

    Swreck New Member

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    Feb 11, 2016
    fcfc2: Interesting on both the non-MoCA splitters ... and the amp that could eliminate them completely. Thank you.

    First, it appears the MoCA network generated from the Roamio Plus is better than the one generated from the Comcast cable modem. If that alone saves others pain, that would be great.

    It's only a been a day. The disconnects (e.g. C130) are not totally gone, but seem dramatically reduced. I had issues connecting a final Mini, but after several restarts, it worked.

    So far ... almost so good. I'm new to MoCA, so if there's any chance you could tell me if the generally-good-quality-with-rare-disconnect symptom aligns with non-MoCA supporting splitters, I've love to know.
     
  9. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    1GHz splitters should work. I've been using them for years. The splitters may or may not be a problem, but not because of the frequency. (Are all the Minis being fed from the splitters or are any getting fed directly from the amp?)

    At least you're on the right track.

    Next thing I would do is go deep in the Roamio's moca network settings. You can adjust the moca channel. This should be set to either Auto or 15, and make sure all the Minis use the same setting. Experiment and see if one works better than the other, or if there's no change. If it doesn't make a difference, then you might as well look at the splitter situation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  10. paulmlemay

    paulmlemay New Member

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    Northern...
    "MoCA 2.0 supports two performance modes, Basic and Enhanced, with 400 Mbit/s and 800 Mbit/s net throughputs (MAC), using 700 Mbit/s and 1.4 Gbit/s PHY rates, respectively. Turbo Mode yields 1Gbit/s net throughput. Operating frequency range is 500 to 1650 MHz"

    From Wikipedia
     
  11. SomeRandomIdiot

    SomeRandomIdiot New Member

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    As TiVo only has 8 MoCA channels, it appears to be using MoCA 1.1 starting at 1.15Ghz.

    EDIT: Based on this article, it appears the TiVo BOLT has MoCA 2.0

    http://www.multichannel.com/news/content/tivo-extends-moca-bridge/394580
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  12. JTHOJNICKI

    JTHOJNICKI Member

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    Chicago Suburbs
    I have a Roamio Pro and 6 minis connected through my existing gigabit Ethernet network and everything works great. I used Moca with my Dish Network Hoppers and Joeys - it never worked as well as my Ethernet network. The Moca-connected devices always experienced intermittent drop-outs.
     
  13. Peter G

    Peter G Member

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    Jan 3, 2012
    Swreck

    Not sure this is the problem but it is a yello flag to me. The PPC distribution amp is rated at 5-1002 MHz, same as the splitters. Its possible the amp is attenuating or clipping the MoCA signal which is at 1500 MHz or so. I used a MoCA amp that is designed for this, plus has 8 outputs so reduces need for some of the splitters. See link:

    http://pctcorporate.com/images/stor...CA-Bypass-Amplifiers_PCT-VC-F19A_20140130.pdf

    Peter G
     
  14. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Other than the builtin MoCA filter, there is no mention in the specification sheet indicating that the PCT amp, which costs close to 3 times as much as the PPC EVO1-9-U/U version, handles the frequencies above 1500MHz any better than the PPC version.
    Further, only MoCA 2.0 "bonded" adapters use the "extended" range of MoCA frequencies above 1500MHz and I have tested the PPC version with this these extended range adapters and there was no evidence or indication that these higher MoCA frequencies were being "clipped" or otherwise restricted in any fashion.
    I also have the PCT version and it gave no discernible difference in performance to the PPC version with a MoCA filter attached. My bias is for the greater "value" offered by the PPC version, and if the OP gets lucky, he may be able to get the higher port capacity of the PPC product for free since Comcast does use these.
     
  15. Peter G

    Peter G Member

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    Jan 3, 2012
    Fcfc2

    MoCA frequencies are at 1150 to 1500 MHz. This is true for MoCA 1.1 as well as 2.0. Spec's are spec's. If the PPC unit was good for frequencies above 1002 it should state so. But the fact that MoCA wants to work in a range not guaranteed in the PPC unit would point to a possible problem.

    Possible the OP can select a channel at the lower end and work with the unit. Maybe his network is randomly changing bands, and when it is in the lower range the amp will pass, but when switching to a higher channel it won't reliably pass the signal.

    I have never had any issues with the PCT unit linked, so I know it does work.

    Peter G
     
  16. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Peter,
    Regarding the range of frequencies used by MoCA 2.0, you might want to check the following MoCA document from the MoCA Alliance. If you scroll down to pg 8 where you will see a comparison of the various MoCA ratings and the frequencies they use. http://www.mocalliance.org/MoCA2/specification/MoCA_2_Device_RF_Characteristics-150406d.pdf
    There is similar information in several other places in the specifications indicating that the MoCA 2.0 devices, particularly the "bonded" adapter can and will use frequencies above 1500MGz. This is also "hinted" at on the few brands of MoCA 2.0 rated splitters which show 5MGz up to 1675MGz. (FIOS & Holland & Sunburst).
    Published specifications, are what they are, more or less complete, but hardly gospel, some speculate that they are mostly "marketing" hype. Frankly, this is why I have taken the time, expense, and trouble to actually purchase most of these devices and actually test them to see how they perform.
    The PCT unit you have, is an excellent device which I have previously recommended myself, until, I came across the much less expensive PPC units, and after actually testing them myself found them to be functionally the same, minus the filter, as the more expensive PCT units.
    Regarding possible benefit to using a lower MoCA channel frequency to improve MoCA performance, I agree on MoCA 1.1 devices which when checked with "auto" option always seem to default to the lowest D-1 /1150MGz frequency. This is an "inference" which I have never tested and it is possibly wrong, but I doubt it.
     
  17. Peter G

    Peter G Member

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    Jan 3, 2012
    fcfc2

    I agree MoCA uses up to 1675 MHz.

    I did a quick price check and seems the PCT unit can be had around $65, while the PPC version in 9 ports is $65 also on Amazon. However they do seem to be available on e-bay and other sites for much less, maybe $25 for the 5 port.

    Comparing the cost of couple of splitters and POE filter, maybe not much of a premium for the PCT unit. Hope you are right and this is not the issue with Swreck's problems.

    PG
     
  18. Swreck

    Swreck New Member

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    Feb 11, 2016
    FCFC2 and Peter G,
    Thanks for your perspectives. After multiple reads of the messages from both of you, I'm nearing the bleeding edge of my understanding.

    Because the latest amp and splitters were installed by a (surprisingly great) Comcast tech and I'm concerned about getting "you changed our stuff, it's your problem now," I haven't changed anything yet and want to get your take on whether the current symptoms seem likely to be resolved by one or more of your rec'ded fixes (e.g. replace the splitters with MoCA rated and/or replace the amp):

    1) System is mostly stable--can go multiple hours without issues
    2) Minis occasionally lose connection, but can almost always reconnect immediately upon return to Tivo Central
    3) Occasional pixelation/sound problems to the point of being unwatchable, but it seems to vary with source. E.g. issues lasting 3-4 minutes occur every hour or so with our HD CNN channel. No issues seem to every come up with using Tivo to connect to Amazon Video.
    4) Researching other posts, I've seen people complain that problems like I describe happen more often when you are viewing a program while it is being recorded--with CNN, I do that a lot, so part of me wonders if this could be a known Roamio issue and not a function of my network at all. Thoughts?

    As of now, all units are set to MoCA Automatic. When I was having big issues, I tried to use 15, but it didn't help. Since things have gotten better, I haven't tried again, but can try if you think it's worth it.

    Thanks for any guidance on next steps.
     
  19. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    Hi again,
    Some of the issues you describe seem like they could be signal quality related but it is hard to tell by remote, if it's signal quality it tends to be the same channel or cluster of channels and can sometimes vary by day or evening.
    My first vote would be to see if you can get Comcast to get you one of those 9 port amps to replace the one that you are now using if you need all those coax ports.
    I am looking for options with the least cost and I have a couple questions. Can you easily run Ethernet to your Tivo Plus? You would need to do that to try and use the Plus as an alternative to the Comcast Gateway.
    You are reportedly using 6 ports for your Plus and minis plus one for your Gateway modem, what are those other coax ports feeding? Are any open or unused?
     
  20. Swreck

    Swreck New Member

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    Feb 11, 2016
    Can you easily run Ethernet to your Tivo Plus?
    >> Yes. It's a Roamio and yes, it is currently connected to Ethernet (cable modem to router to switch (in another room) to Roamio). It would NOT be easy to run Ethernet to all of the Minis.

    You would need to do that to try and use the Plus as an alternative to the Comcast Gateway.
    >> If I understand your comment, I have done this. That is, in our first deployment (my first message), the Comcast cable modem was generating the MoCA network and the Roamio and Minis were nodes. The big change that helped a TON was turning off MoCA in the cable modem, adding Ethernet to the Roamio, and initiating MoCA from the Roamio. Massive improvement, but still shows the symptoms noted above.

    You are reportedly using 6 ports for your Plus and minis plus one for your Gateway modem, what are those other coax ports feeding? Are any open or unused?
    >> Yeah, good question. I don't know. We have 5 minis, the Roamio, and I guess the cable modem needing a port? If I understand right, that's 7. But the box has 9 outlets (6 ports where 3 are split). So it seems like there are 2 unused and probably terminated at an unused cable somewhere. Even as the Comcast tech worked, it seemed like we'd want to diagnose which are unused, but unless there is a sniffer to watch whether they are flowing, I guess it would mean turning on each TV, unplugging 1 by 1, and finally isolating the outlets not doing anything ... and that felt like more than I could ask him to do. ;-)

    If it makes sense to replace the amp, after your exchange with Peter G, it sounds like you still lean toward the PPC EVO1-9-U/U. It's $63 on Amazon and it looks like it has 8 outputs, so maybe it would eliminate all splitters?

    If you changed your thinking, the PCT-VC-F19A mentioned by Peter G is $37 on Amazon now and looks like it has 8 outputs also.

    If I misunderstood your questions, please advise. Thanks much.
     

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