How to build a MoCA bridge

A MoCA network bridge that is, so you can link multiple wireless access points using coaxial wiring to form one humongous home network streaming videos and games everywhere around the house.

You might wonder why I ask since the problem has long been solved. Well, the reason is I find the conventional solution a bit out of date.

The normal way of extending wireless network is to use a wireless range extender, sacrificing reliability and speed for the expedience of not having to rewire the house with ethernet cables to link multiple access points. But for most people with cable internet, there is another option: You can use your existing cable TV wiring in the house and it is designed to traffic internet.

What?

Well, just think about it; aren’t cable setup boxes nothing but internet-connected devices that specialize in streaming broadband multimedia content? The new standard for carrying ethernet over cable (called MoCA) actually has been around since 2004. It’s advanced to a point that it’s as fast as gigabit ethernet for home networking, with the added advantage of having already been installed in most people’s home.

I have been using a repurposed MoCA router as wireless access point for several years in my house. In addition to extending the wireless range, I also gained hardwired ethernet ports in any room I want, making it easy to connect a streaming device wherever there is a TV.

Some of us are lucky enough to have Verizon FIOS or other cable internet providers that provide MoCA routers, which are the technically correct term. Some people mistakenly call them cable modem though they are actually different devices and for our purpose a cable modem will not work. So we need to be exact with terminology here. If you need an extra MoCA router, you can try ebay which has an abundance of used Actiontec FIOS routers, many of which sell for around $20. You can also shell out $80 to buy a brand new MoCA range extender specifically designed for range extension, but that would just take the fun out of this blog.

Here’s what a MoCA router looks like:

Turning a used MoCa router into a wireless access point is simple but not easy (confused emoji). It’s simple because you need to change only two configurations: 1) is to disable the DHCP server which is always on by default in a router 2) is to assign a static IP different from its default IP (again, because the default is likely to be same as the gateway router). For example, my gateway router has an IP of 192.168.1.1; so I changed my access point to use IP of 192.168.1.2. Both have subnet mask of 255.255.255.0, so they play nice. 3) plug it into a cable outlet.

Close reading will alert you to the problem of needing to configure a router BEFORE it’s plugged in and connected to a network. heh. It’s the good ol’ static IP trick to the rescue. Connect a computer with an IP in the same subnet to the router,and off you go with configuration.

Below’s what the new access point a.k.a. the former MoCA router’s network status page looks like after you’ve done the configuration correctly. The LAN status is active, and the WAN broadband status is disabled, showing that it’s now working as an access point bridge.

Good luck with finding the configuration screen for the settings though. Yeah, it may be simple but I never said it was easy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Website

*