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The Best Home Alternatives to WiFi Wireless Networks

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 (2:12 am) - Score 98,057
isp network cable

Interference is another bugbear for the industry. Most Powerline adapters operate in the short wave (2MHz to 86MHz) radio spectrum bands, which can interfere with some DAB radios, broadcast radio systems (hams) and might potentially even cause problems for certain ADSL/ADSL2+ broadband connections (i.e. usually only if your phone line runs alongside the mains wiring – cross interference).

Some people have also raised concerns about security (e.g. flats and home tenants sharing power circuits) but in practice the 128bit AES encryption used with modern kit should be fine, for now.

One final point is that if you do pick a Powerline adapter then make sure they all support the same modern standard, ideally HomePlug AV (AV500), HomePlug AV2 or newer. Many of these are built to a higher standard than the older kit and benefit from being more mature and better shielded technologies, though interference remains a concern.

Pros:
*Performance
*Mostly inexpensive
*Discreet network
*Possibly more secure than wifi

Cons:
*Interference could be an issue under some circumstances (especially avoid cheap imports and the old 85Mbps adapters)
*Claims of 500Mbps+ are hugely unrealistic (just like wifi)
*Might not work in all your rooms

Ethernet over Coax (EoC or MoCa)

Quite a few homes have pre-installed coaxial cable (e.g. 50-75 ohm coax cable), which is more traditionally used by cable (CATV) and satellite TV operators. But did you know that this can also be converted to function like a traditional home network? Well it can.

Generally Ethernet over Coax comes in two flavours, the more standards complaint EoC variety of kit or the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) alternative. Neither choice is particularly cheap and EoC hardware tends to be aimed more at network admins than the domestic environment. Elsewhere MoCA is technically a better solution for home users, even though it’s not an official standard and lacks support.

actiontec moca adapter

Actiontec sells MoCA Network Adapter’s (ECB2500C02) for about £100 a pop and EchoBox also does some similar kit, although performance tends to be in the 30-100Mbps region (if you’re lucky). This solution can be a bit expensive and in some cases it won’t work with your existing TV setup. MoCA in particular doesn’t like you using the same coax if it’s already connected to a satellite TV service.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Vertualred

    Thanks for the guide, this will be helpful.

  2. Avatar Bob

    You can use your main sockets to distribute the signal. I have never tried it and am not confined it offers any advantage over WiFi. By far the best approach is good old cable. Unfortunatly it is not that practicable in many cases.

    Maybe the time has come for new builds o have a data network installed. It would not be that expensive to put in

  3. Avatar Tim

    I’d been using Powerline but switched to MoCA for connecting my XBox to my Media Centre PC; I found that I got occasional dropouts in network connectivity over Powerline, whereas on MoCA I get a very consistent connection. For streaming TV, it makes a big difference.

  4. There is also another possibility which has the advantages of Ethernet copper cabling but without its drawbacks. This is using Plastic Optical Fibre (POF). You can share the mains ducts as it is an optical cable and now it can reach 1 Gbps (see the chipset from KDPOF at http://www.kdpof.com). There are several companies selling adapters in the form of wall plugs with RJ45 or even WiFi interfaces but, so far, they reach only 100 Mbps. They will start to ship equipment with 1 Gbps capabilities by the beginning of 2014 ( see http://www.pofnet.co.uk) .
    This marriage between a fixed backhaul with all its advantages, running at 1 Gbps, and a WiFi network providing mobility and with just the right power to cover the room with the wall outlet is the solution that really puts in value the best of both worlds without drawbacks.
    By the way, as you can see in the KDPOF web, POF is cheap and with a huge core which means you can cut it with a pair of scissors and you don´t need any connector or polishing which is not the case of the classic GOF (Glass Fibre). POF is easy for DIY or installers.

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