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.