MoCA and Powerline? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 07-06-2014, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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MoCA and Powerline?

Does anyone know if these two technologies can be used in conjunction with each other to aggregate higher bandwidth on a single network?
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post #2 of 30 Old 07-06-2014, 07:54 PM
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With the correct switch they could but why? What bandwidth are you looking to achieve for what purpose? Powerline can be sketchy, MoCA is pretty reliable.
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post #3 of 30 Old 07-06-2014, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
With the correct switch they could but why? What bandwidth are you looking to achieve for what purpose? Powerline can be sketchy, MoCA is pretty reliable.
I am syncing up media data from my FreeNAS (archive) to my Media server; my current transfers are 8-12/MBs. Also, sometimes my XBMC (4 in my house) boxes will have buffering. This is all currently with MoCA.

I was looking at the new TP-Link AV600 and it dawned on me that I could connect both of them to a switch and then to a node, but I just dont know if the bandwidth aggregates.

In the future, I also plan on utilizing even more bandwidth because I am going to use HDHomeRun and have even more streams from my media server.
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post #4 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 05:16 AM
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Is your MoCA setup point to point or point to multipoint? What MoCA adapters are you using? You need some fairly expensive commercial Ethenet switches to aggregate links but it won't help with your current problems. A single stream is still going to go down the fastest pipe. Are you getting 8 - 12 MBs or 8-12 Mbs? That's a huge difference. Networks are measured in Mbps (Mbs). You can improve on 8-12 Mbps but 8-12 MBs you are running up against the limitations of the NAS and 8-12 MBs is good performance. That is 64 - 96 Mbps per second which would suggest you have a fairly fast HD in your NAS.

Last edited by FX4; 07-07-2014 at 05:24 AM.
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post #5 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
Is your MoCA setup point to point or point to multipoint? What MoCA adapters are you using? You need some fairly expensive commercial Ethenet switches to aggregate links but it won't help with your current problems. A single stream is still going to go down the fastest pipe. Are you getting 8 - 12 MBs or 8-12 Mbs? That's a huge difference. Networks are measured in Mbps (Mbs). You can improve on 8-12 Mbps but 8-12 MBs you are running up against the limitations of the NAS and 8-12 MBs is good performance. That is 64 - 96 Mbps per second which would suggest you have a fairly fast HD in your NAS.
It is multi-point, and I am using the Actiontec ECB2500CK01 which is rated to "270 Mbps". A file transfer averages 8 - 12 MB/s.

What limitations of a NAS are you referring to? BTW, that is a file transfer from a W7 machine to a the server which is also W7; I am not doing transfers from FreeNAS yet. From the same PC that only gets 8 -12 going to my media server, I can get >80 MBs to FreeNAS since both of them are directly connected to my router.

Anyways, I just really want to improve 8-12 MB/s since I sometimes can have 3-4 concurrent streams from it and that demand is going to increase once I set up recording TV shows to it, and streaming from it. I had a feeling that you were going to state that a single stream would only choose the fastest path, I guess I just wanted someone to confirm. Now I am wondering if my speeds will increase with the latest powerline, but supposedly the standard is set to be released with MIMO sometime at the end of this year so maybe I'll give powerline a chance then.
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post #6 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 07:09 AM
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It is multi-point, and I am using the Actiontec ECB2500CK01 which is rated to "270 Mbps". A file transfer averages 8 - 12 MB/s.

What limitations of a NAS are you referring to? BTW, that is a file transfer from a W7 machine to a the server which is also W7; I am not doing transfers from FreeNAS yet. From the same PC that only gets 8 -12 going to my media server, I can get >80 MBs to FreeNAS since both of them are directly connected to my router.

Anyways, I just really want to improve 8-12 MB/s since I sometimes can have 3-4 concurrent streams from it and that demand is going to increase once I set up recording TV shows to it, and streaming from it. I had a feeling that you were going to state that a single stream would only choose the fastest path, I guess I just wanted someone to confirm. Now I am wondering if my speeds will increase with the latest powerline, but supposedly the standard is set to be released with MIMO sometime at the end of this year so maybe I'll give powerline a chance then.
I just want to be clear on this You are saying megabytes and not megabits. 80 megabytes is 640 megabits and that is screaming fast. I think you are talking megabits but using megabytes mistakenly. A switched Gig E network can do these speeds but hard drives, not so much.

There are physical limitations on how fast an HDD can pull data on and off the platters. It's a mechanical device unless you are using flash drives which are completely not practical in a home theater environment.
Ok so what we have here is a NAS that is fast enough to have multiple streams. 80Mbps is plenty fast. Most of your streams will be in the 1500 to 3000 kbps range. Some HD stuff up to 9 Mbps per second. Even at that rate your NAS should be able to handle two or three or four streams at a time. One question before moving on. Have you multistream and bidirectional stream tested the performance of your NAS? We know the hard drive and NIC are fast enough but is the processor fast enough to efficiently handle as well as the software stack multiple streams coming and going? For your goals you want to test this functionality too.

I think your real problem is the implementation of the MoCA adapter network. You have created a hub network so there are going to be packet collisions on the wire. If you change this over to switched links and just use the MoCA adapters as media converters rather than hubs your performance should go way up. I'm using the Actiontech MoCA adapters as media converters with excellent results.

The problem with powerline is any noise on the AC power disrupts the data communications signal. Web surfing it's not too much of a problem but streaming media it's more the exception than the rule that it works well.
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post #7 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 07:58 AM
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I should also point out that networking equipment numbers are bi-directional so the real one way capability under ideal conditions for MoCA is actually 135Mbps. Given you are are getting up to 96 Mbps real world that functionality seems to be working pretty well. I suspect your real problem is that you are having packet collisions on the MoCA network for some reason. Another possibility is you are saturating the backplane on your Ethernet switch but this only tends to be a problem on cheap switches these days.

Last edited by FX4; 07-07-2014 at 08:17 AM.
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post #8 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
I just want to be clear on this You are saying megabytes and not megabits. 80 megabytes is 640 megabits and that is screaming fast. I think you are talking megabits but using megabytes mistakenly. A switched Gig E network can do these speeds but hard drives, not so much.

There are physical limitations on how fast an HDD can pull data on and off the platters. It's a mechanical device unless you are using flash drives which are completely not practical in a home theater environment.
Ok so what we have here is a NAS that is fast enough to have multiple streams. 80Mbps is plenty fast. Most of your streams will be in the 1500 to 3000 kbps range. Some HD stuff up to 9 Mbps per second. Even at that rate your NAS should be able to handle two or three or four streams at a time. One question before moving on. Have you multistream and bidirectional stream tested the performance of your NAS? We know the hard drive and NIC are fast enough but is the processor fast enough to efficiently handle as well as the software stack multiple streams coming and going? For your goals you want to test this functionality too.

I think your real problem is the implementation of the MoCA adapter network. You have created a hub network so there are going to be packet collisions on the wire. If you change this over to switched links and just use the MoCA adapters as media converters rather than hubs your performance should go way up. I'm using the Actiontec MoCA adapters as media converters with excellent results.

The problem with powerline is any noise on the AC power disrupts the data communications signal. Web surfing it's not too much of a problem but streaming media it's more the exception than the rule that it works well.
Lets just say that the PC streaming media is PC A, my desktop is PC B, and FreeNAS is PC C. All 3 computers use 100/1000 NICs; my router is also 1Gbps. My hard drives are WD Blacks. All 3 PCs have quad core CPUs.

PC B --- PC A... 8-12 MBs
PC B --- PC C... >80 MBs

Windows was telling me that I was getting 8-12MBs for a file transfer, but I just busted out iPerf and the picture just became more bleak. iPerf says that I am only getting 3.1/MBs or 26/Mbps from PC B to PC A.

I am wondering where you get your 9Mbps figure from because I have seen others say that HD streams can take as much at 25-40 Mbps.

Also, I am confused about when you talk about MoCA implementation. My understanding was there there was only one way to install them. I currently have 5 of them set up directly connected to coax and then the node with the exception of the first MoCA which is connected at my modem and router.

This is how I have my first node (at the modem & router) set up:

Wall Coax -> ECB2500C Coax In ->
ECB2500C Coax Out -> Cable Modem Coax In ->
Cable Modem Ethernet -> Router Ethernet Uplink ->
Router Ethernet Port -> ECB2500C Ethernet Port

Last edited by jaden24; 07-07-2014 at 08:14 AM.
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post #9 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 08:27 AM
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At commercial broadcast data rates, yes they can take up to 45Mbps. We don't really see that in home networks these days and commercial compression has gotten much better so you really don't see it there either. The 45Mbps data rate came from the old commercial DS3 lines and satellites were built to fit this data rate. We have learned a lot about compression and video transmission picture quality since those days. If people are chewing up that kind of data in a home theater environment they are doing something wrong. A properly recorded stream with modern compression and super high definition 1080P in the home environment runs right about 9Mbps maybe occasionally touches 10Mbps. Most of your streams are going to be 1.5Mbps for 720P and some of the higher definition 720P streams will be at 3Mbps. A 10Mbps stream at 1080P is stunning and you really need a big screen to do it justice. Some of these guys on this forum with 135" screens might be able to justify really high bit rates for picture quality but they are the minority and kind of an esoteric group.
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post #10 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
At commercial broadcast data rates, yes they can take up to 45Mbps. We don't really see that in home networks these days and commercial compression has gotten much better so you really don't see it there either. The 45Mbps data rate came from the old commercial DS3 lines and satellites were built to fit this data rate. We have learned a lot about compression and video transmission picture quality since those days. If people are chewing up that kind of data in a home theater environment they are doing something wrong. A properly recorded stream with modern compression and super high definition 1080P in the home environment runs right about 9Mbps maybe occasionally touches 10Mbps. Most of your streams are going to be 1.5Mbps for 720P and some of the higher definition 720P streams will be at 3Mbps. A 10Mbps stream at 1080P is stunning and you really need a big screen to do it justice. Some of these guys on this forum with 135" screens might be able to justify really high bit rates for picture quality but they are the minority and kind of an esoteric group.
Ahh ok. That is good to know. I have been trying to drill that down so that I could get an idea of why I have network congestion.

Can you tell if my MoCA setup is arranged as switched links or more like hubs?
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post #11 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 09:04 AM
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Yes that is pretty easy. If you have one MoCA adapter at your Ethernet switch and other MocA adapters spread throughout the house you have a hub environment. It's a common collision domain. If you have a MoCA adapter dedicated to each piece of coax at the switch and another at each end point of the coax your environment is switched. So each piece of coax running to different rooms has one MoCA adapter at the Ethernet switch and one at the terminating room.
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post #12 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
Yes that is pretty easy. If you have one MoCA adapter at your Ethernet switch and other MocA adapters spread throughout the house you have a hub environment. It's a common collision domain. If you have a MoCA adapter dedicated to each piece of coax at the switch and another at each end point of the coax your environment is switched. So each piece of coax running to different rooms has one MoCA adapter at the Ethernet switch and one at the terminating room.
So if I have this right, is this what the hub config would look like?

Wall Coax -> Cable Modem Coax In -> Cable Modem Ethernet ->
Router Ethernet Uplink -> Router Ethernet Port ->
ECB2500C Ethernet -> ECB2500C Coax out -> Wall Coax

I just want to make sure I understand this because I have my configuration with the MoCA in between the wall coax and my modem which I believe is switched. But, if that is switched, then I dont see why I am only getting 3 MBs.

Last edited by jaden24; 07-07-2014 at 09:30 AM.
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post #13 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 10:32 AM
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What you have described is point to point which should work fine. How many EB2500Cs are in your system? How many end points?

What we are trying to establish here is how you are using the EB2500c's. My understanding is you have a hub network setup with them. You are using only one Ethernet port on your Router for the EB2500c network connection and have multiple end points in your home. Correct?
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post #14 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
What you have described is point to point which should work fine. How many EB2500Cs are in your system? How many end points?

What we are trying to establish here is how you are using the EB2500c's. My understanding is you have a hub network setup with them. You are using only one Ethernet port on your Router for the EB2500c network connection and have multiple end points in your home. Correct?
Yes, my MoCA network has only one connection to my router as described as below:

Wall Coax -> ECB2500C Coax In -> ECB2500C Coax Out -> Cable Modem Coax In -> Cable Modem Ethernet -> Router Ethernet Uplink -> Router Ethernet Port -> ECB2500C Ethernet

I have 4 other MoCA nodes that are only connected via coax to extend my wired LAN to other rooms; one of these being my media server with 3/MBs transfer speeds to my desktop which is directly connected to the router.

Last edited by jaden24; 07-07-2014 at 10:43 AM.
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post #15 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 10:39 AM
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Okay how many end points?
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post #16 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 05:14 PM
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Just for a point of reference, I use MOCA to get streaming BD (compressed with Handbrake) and live TV from my office to three other rooms, and have no problem sending 3 streams at the same time, all while also browsing on a laptop and my wife browsing on her iPad.
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post #17 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Gronnie View Post
Just for a point of reference, I use MOCA to get streaming BD (compressed with Handbrake) and live TV from my office to three other rooms, and have no problem sending 3 streams at the same time, all while also browsing on a laptop and my wife browsing on her iPad.
That would be what I expect. I am just trying to get his topology down and then figure out how he is using the network. If he is sending bidirectional traffic over the wire from multiple sources he probably has a collision problem. If he has a bunch of splitters he may have a signal level problem. Right now from what he has told me so far I kind of lean towards a collision problem but I'm trying to get my head fully around his setup. If and when he responds I was hoping to have him run a few tests.
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post #18 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
Are you getting 8 - 12 MBs or 8-12 Mbs? That's a huge difference. Networks are measured in Mbps (Mbs). You can improve on 8-12 Mbps but 8-12 MBs you are running up against the limitations of the NAS and 8-12 MBs is good performance. That is 64 - 96 Mbps per second which would suggest you have a fairly fast HD in your NAS.
96 Mbps is not fast for any modern HDD. I get 90 MB/s over GbE to a QNap NAS with a 7200 rpm HGST HDD (no RAID). That is basically wire speed. The HDD is capable of even more.
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post #19 of 30 Old 07-08-2014, 05:31 AM
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I'm checking current models, they were about 50-60MBps a few years back on average for a medium speed HD when I built my last PC. Although I put fast drives in my PC but not for movies. I have a program that does network data simulations and it is really data intense.

I just did some quick looking around and it does not look like they have improved much if any at all. The fastest mechanical drives are doing right around 170 MBps sequential read transfer rates internally between drives. Now once you randomize the read blocks that drops to around 1MBps or less. So while streaming a single HD stream even a blueray 1:1 rip (which I don't do, waste of resources imo) most drives will do fine, start trying to stream multiple HD streams and that is when things fall apart. This is when you get into HDD benchmarking and different ways to test it. How do you score how fast a drive is in the real world environments? Random read is the real performance test for multiple streams and sequential read for a single stream.

I kind of misstated myself, My NAS actually does 30Mbps which is plenty fast for streaming HD movies although not fast at all. It has energy conserving drives in it. So my bad. It will do 2 simultaneous 720P 3k streams or one 1080P 10Mbps stream without a problem. If I recall correctly the fastest home NASs were doing about 90Mbps back when I set my system up in 2010 so when he says he is getting 96Mbps from my POV that is plenty fast.

* I just did some looking and the home NAS market has completely changed, even the slowest NAS today is faster than a fast home NAS back in 2010. I guess it's time to upgrade my NAS.

Last edited by FX4; 07-08-2014 at 06:03 AM.
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post #20 of 30 Old 07-08-2014, 06:19 AM
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Ok scratch anything I said about NAS performance. I just took the time to read up on current NAS performance and it has improved significantly since I set my system up. Time to upgrade my NAS.
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post #21 of 30 Old 07-08-2014, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gronnie View Post
Just for a point of reference, I use MOCA to get streaming BD (compressed with Handbrake) and live TV from my office to three other rooms, and have no problem sending 3 streams at the same time, all while also browsing on a laptop and my wife browsing on her iPad.
So you are using 4 MoCA adapters? Have you measured the network connections from any of the PCs?
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post #22 of 30 Old 07-10-2014, 10:23 AM
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Jaden24

1. How many splitters are in your coax distribution network? Every splitter is going to cut the signal strength in half. if you have too many splitters this may be your issue.
2. What does the performance look like when you only run a test between one MoCA attached device and a PC off the MoCA network? Turn off all MoCA media adapters except the one at your switch and the one connected to the end device you are testing. Does the performance improve?
3. Are you shutting down all other processes on the PCs while you are benchmarking the data transfer performance? We just want to be certain some other process is not hogging resources on the PCs.
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post #23 of 30 Old 07-10-2014, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Jaden24

1. How many splitters are in your coax distribution network? Every splitter is going to cut the signal strength in half. if you have too many splitters this may be your issue.
2. What does the performance look like when you only run a test between one MoCA attached device and a PC off the MoCA network? Turn off all MoCA media adapters except the one at your switch and the one connected to the end device you are testing. Does the performance improve?
3. Are you shutting down all other processes on the PCs while you are benchmarking the data transfer performance? We just want to be certain some other process is not hogging resources on the PCs.
1) I dont know how many splitters have been set up within my house walls, but I haven't split any of the cables outside of the walls.

2) The 3MB/s is from a directly attached MoCA device and my primary desktop located at my router

3) When I ran the iPerf, I had no direct download going, and had paused all torrent traffic -- so there wasn't anything significant traffic going on. I dont even think any movies/music was being streamed through the house

I will rerun iPerf between my desktop and the same MoCA node to see the results after removing 3 other MoCA nodes
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post #24 of 30 Old 07-10-2014, 10:50 AM
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Sounds good. Just trying to isolate what is causing your video drops/buffering.

BTW: Here is a link from Cisco for troubleshooting MoCA Networks.
http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/.../4031235_B.pdf
I'm at this point just trying to figure out if you have noise on the wire causing packet collisions/drops or if you have some kind of attenuation killing the signal between MoCA adapters. One possibility is your wall outlets are attenuating the signal too much.
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post #25 of 30 Old 07-10-2014, 11:41 AM
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Two comments:

Are you sure your NAS isn't the bottleneck? NAS read/write speeds are much slower than most people expect. Give it a real test by connecting to local gigabit ethernet port. The speed may surprise you, and not in a good way. My own NAS barely benefits from upgrading 100 mbps ethernet to gigabit, and that's only on read speed.

MOCA generally has more usable bandwidth than Powerline Ethernet. The real-world throughput on Powerline Ethernet is much lower than the nominal maximum mbps numbers would lead you to expect. You are unlikely to get much improvement by trying to combine them.
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post #26 of 30 Old 07-10-2014, 12:57 PM
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He is buffering video on his MoCA network. I kind of figured we would sort that out first then worry about the NAS throughput speed. My NAS puts out a constant 30Mbps when I last tested it. Far below the rated speed but other people with the same NAS confirmed my findings way back in 2010. It works well enough for my purpose so i don't worry about it. However, you can't stream two 1080P 10Mbps streams from it. Kind of falls part if you try and do that but it handles a couple of 720P streams at 3Mbps fine.
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post #27 of 30 Old 07-16-2014, 11:19 PM
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I just went through trial of TP-Link AV600 and Actiontec MOCA.

The powerline device would trip the Arc Fault and couldn't work outside of room(s) on one side of the breaker. Even within the same room it was flaky at best. The MOCA system is working perfectly for streaming Blu-ray quality to my living room without a hitch. Installed a Point of Entry filter and turned on encryption/password for each of the 3 Actiontec boxes as well.
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post #28 of 30 Old 07-17-2014, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Joseph S View Post
I just went through trial of TP-Link AV600 and Actiontec MOCA.

The powerline device would trip the Arc Fault and couldn't work outside of room(s) on one side of the breaker. Even within the same room it was flaky at best. The MOCA system is working perfectly for streaming Blu-ray quality to my living room without a hitch. Installed a Point of Entry filter and turned on encryption/password for each of the 3 Actiontec boxes as well.
So you dont have a filter at your modem or any other non-MoCA device?

Have you tested the throughput from one node to another node which is connected at a MoCA device?
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post #29 of 30 Old 07-18-2014, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
I just want to be clear on this You are saying megabytes and not megabits. 80 megabytes is 640 megabits and that is screaming fast. I think you are talking megabits but using megabytes mistakenly. A switched Gig E network can do these speeds but hard drives, not so much.

There are physical limitations on how fast an HDD can pull data on and off the platters. It's a mechanical device unless you are using flash drives which are completely not practical in a home theater environment.
Ok so what we have here is a NAS that is fast enough to have multiple streams. 80Mbps is plenty fast. Most of your streams will be in the 1500 to 3000 kbps range. Some HD stuff up to 9 Mbps per second. Even at that rate your NAS should be able to handle two or three or four streams at a time. One question before moving on. Have you multistream and bidirectional stream tested the performance of your NAS? We know the hard drive and NIC are fast enough but is the processor fast enough to efficiently handle as well as the software stack multiple streams coming and going? For your goals you want to test this functionality too.

I think your real problem is the implementation of the MoCA adapter network. You have created a hub network so there are going to be packet collisions on the wire. If you change this over to switched links and just use the MoCA adapters as media converters rather than hubs your performance should go way up. I'm using the Actiontech MoCA adapters as media converters with excellent results.

The problem with powerline is any noise on the AC power disrupts the data communications signal. Web surfing it's not too much of a problem but streaming media it's more the exception than the rule that it works well.
Powerline works extremely well for me with four units as media converters for four Apple TV 3's. I stream Handbrake compressed BD files at 1080p to them daily without image degredation, buffering or other issues. I use the Netgear Nano500's. My home is relatively new and my electrical system is solid core copper Romex throughout.
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post #30 of 30 Old 07-19-2014, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post
Powerline works extremely well for me with four units as media converters for four Apple TV 3's. I stream Handbrake compressed BD files at 1080p to them daily without image degredation, buffering or other issues. I use the Netgear Nano500's. My home is relatively new and my electrical system is solid core copper Romex throughout.
You won't know if ethernet over powerline works until you try it. Unfortunately many stores won't take this equipment back if it doesn't work. Be very clear on the return policy if you go this route.
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