Published on December 6th, 2013 | by Greg

Have Co-Axial? Need Internet? Try Actiontec’s Extender!

Most of us have become accustomed- and reliant on- decent wireless signal wherever we go. Sure, your cellular provider may drop bars or lose service in elevators and some rooms, but the hope is to always have wi-fi to fall back on. If you’re like many folks with attics or garages or additional floors, then you might have explored all sorts of methods to boost your network- repeaters, extra routers, maybe even femtocells or MicroCells.

If you already have an existing co-axial cable layout, there is another option- Actiontec’s Wireless Network Extender with MoCA and Gigabit Ethernet (model WCB3000N), and the associated Ethernet Over Coax Adapter. Available in a kit, this pair of devices accomplishes a single goal- take your existing home network and create an additional access point utilizing the existing cables. It’s similar to some of the Powerline devices that we’ve seen, including the excellent recent Linksys pair, but uses co-axial instead of your power plugs. Based on the MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) standard, the system can deliver up to 175 Mbps of bandwidth wherever there’s a coaxial port.

One easy thing you can do first is use Actiontec’s free app, available for both iOS and Android devices, that helps you identify dead zones and suggests wifi settings to assist in choosing the right setup and channels for your network. Once you’ve found a good spot to extend your network, find the closest co-axial jack and hook up the main unit, using the splitter included in the box if needed to provide co-axial to your television for example. The box offers dual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios, so both newer and older devices should be able to connect.

As long as your co-axial lines are fairly “clean”, then the extender should be able to connect to the the adapter that you connect to your router directly (and also to co-axial, using the other splitter included if necessary). If you’re using DSL, then this is pretty straightforward. If you are using a cable modem… then not so much! Setups and results vary widely with wireless networking gear; we always suggest buying from a merchant that has a good return policy in case your experience isn’t positive. In our case, we had great success in one setup (where we had a DSL internet service provider like Verizon), and much less in another (where a cable modem was in use). Once setup, you’ll want to change the extender’s name and password, which is simple to do using the included guide (defaults are on the bottom of the unit).

Overall, the Actiontec Ethernet Over Coax Adapter Kit is a great, if niche, solution that can quickly and easily help your address your wireless network deadzones, and give you near-wired performance in the right conditions. Especially for those with both DSL, and Roku or Apple TV devices that need solid streaming, this is a great package. Available for around $150, online.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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