I've been seeing this technology around for a few years now, but I've never decided to start playing with it until a Verizon Home Fusion cantenna, that uses MoCA, was given to me. Which by the way, are extremely well-built and complex devices in my opinion... but I'll write about that in an article to come. One of the reasons I've never decided to get into using MoCA is because, on paper, it has no real benefit over Ethernet. In fact, it has some clear disadvantages. With that said, I have always opted to run Cat6a cable to every device in my house and office, especially since I use PoE. Enough about that though. My first tests with MoCA involved connecting an Arris modem which said it supported MoCA to the cantenna that was given to me and tried to see if they could talk. With my limited knowledge of MoCA, and locked down firmware, I couldn't figure it out. I started surfing the web for MoCA to Ethernet media converters, similar to a fiber optic Ethernet converter. I found these Actiontec (ECB6200S02) MoCA adapters and I decided to pull the trigger. The first test I did with them was simple, I just connected them to an already active cable TV line and checked to see if there was any degradation in the quality of the TV signal after I connected a network over the same cable. I connected my laptop on one end and my Raspberry Pi on the other end. I had network communication and no loss of quality. It makes sense because MoCA operates on a higher frequency than all of the other data pushed through the cable. Such as DOCSIS (the cable internet protocol), analog TV, digital TV, and voice. I found an excellent PDF by Robert Schaeffer that explains the technical details of MoCA and the frequency range it operates on here. You can find the frequency graph in the "MoCA Operating Characteristics" section on page 15 of the document. Not long after I got a network going with the connected devices, I started thinking. If these devices have a NIC, which they do, then they most likely have some configuration interface, so I cracked one of them open to see if I could find a serial port. Sure enough, there was a labeled "RS232" header! I used one of these USB serial cables to connect to it. I can't remember if I bought mine from Adafruit, but I most likely did, and they also have a link to the Prolific drivers for the device. I tried connecting it a couple different ways and on my second attempt, I got a response from the device! I had successful communication at a 115200 baud rate with PuTTY. Check out the picture below to see what pins I connected the RX, TX, and ground wires to. Once you get a command line started, you can type "help" to see what all it can do.
This is what I was greeted with in the console after booting it up:
Bootloader: Apr 4 2016 09:29:32 Last Image: (0x00000000): IMG 0x2FC10000 (2273528) SHA1SUM : 0E20A85A C60A2CA9 244E1363 9A18B016 96B0910D Calculated: 0E20A85A C60A2CA9 244E1363 9A18B016 96B0910D Booting from ramimage 0x2FD04164 (len=204696) RESET_HISTORY=0x00000003 Detected 8MB flash IDLE task created ISR Stack: 0007CF38-0007DF68 CORE1: Using 1150 Mhz for LOF CORE1: HiRF board detected BRCM MoCA 2.0. g_EndText=000290B0 g_EndBss=0005A328 Flash page=0x00000000 Compiled by hudson on Mon Apr 4 09:29:21 EDT 2016 Running startup.sh Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. busy=0 fail=0 Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. # Applying NV setting: mocap -x set --rf_band 2 Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Applying NV setting: mocap -x set --bonding 1 Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Applying NV setting: mocap -x set --brcm_bonding_seed 1 Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Applying NV setting: mocap -x set --impedance_mode_bonding 1475 Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Applying NV setting: mocap -x set --led_mode 1 Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Applying NV setting: mocap -x set --max_tx_power_tune offset 0 0 475 offset 3 500 625 offset 0 650 675 offset 2 700 825 offset 0 850 950 offset 1 975 1025 offset 0 1050 1100 offset 2 1125 1475 offset 1 1500 1675 offset 0 1700 2125 padding 0 Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. Applying NV setting: mocap -x set --rf_band 2 Note: Parameter will take effect after next MoCA core initialization. CORE1: Loading Moca Core image...(9) CORE1: Loading Moca Core image done. CORE1: THIS Node MAC address: 4c:8b:30:ca:ae:7e CORE1: Last Operational Frequency = 1150 Mhz CORE1: MoCA Startup Successful. CORE1: MoCA Version CORE1: ----------------------- CORE1: firmware version : 188.8.131.52 CORE1: mocad version : 184.108.40.206 CORE1: HW version : 0x680200c0 CORE1: bmoca version : 2.0.0 CORE1: MoCA self version : 0x20 CORE1: ----------------------- IP link up IP: 192.168.144.30 MASK: 0.0.0.0 GW: 0.0.0.0 CORE1: MoCA link is up after 18s of downtime #
Here is the output for "help":
# help 3450 <addr> [ <value> ] -- Read/write 3450 register arp -- Show arp table autoupdate <addr> <start_hour> <end_hour>-- Check and update firmware on an hourly schedule. The update will pick a random time between start_hour and end_hour (0-23) and check for an update once per day bootimage [0|1] -- Force boot image to 0 or 1 cli-disable <all|<cmd> > -- Disable access to cli commands. "all" disables all commands except cli-enable. cli-enable must be disabled by specifying it explicitly cli-enable <cmd> -- Enable access to cli commands DCAP -- DCAP commands:DCAP.02, GCAP.03,etc dump [addr] -- Dump memory dir -- Directory listing echo [string] -- Write [string] to output eport-get-link -- Get link status eport-get-stats [ reset ] -- Get ether stats eport-set-mode <0-12> -- Set ethernet mux control eport-gphy-set-speed [ auto ] | [<10|100|1000> <full|half>] -- Set GPHY to autonegotiate/10/100/1000MBps and full or half duplex eport-gphy-set-pause <tx|rx|txrx|off> -- Set GPHY pause frame mode which is advertised during auto negotiation eport-mdio [-d <dev_addr>] <addr> [ [<bithigh> <bitlow>] <value> ] -- Read/write MDIO register flash-get-id -- Get flash id flash-dump [ addr ] -- Dump flash flash-erase <offset> -- Erase a flash sector flash-write-test -- Write a pattern to flash GCAP -- GCAP commands:GCAP.01, GCAP.02,etc gpio-mode -- GPIO Mode to control power and MoCA LEDs help -- Display help http-cmd-disable <all|<cmd> > -- Disable access to commands over http. "all" disables all commands except http-cmd-enable. http-cmd-enable must be disabled by specifying it explicitly http-cmd-enable <cmd> -- Enable access to commands over http http-disable -- Prevent starting of web server http-enable -- Allow starting of web server http-mmp-disable -- Prevent mmp commands http-mmp-enable -- Allow mmp commands http-port [ port_number ] -- Get/Set the HTTP port number http-update-disable -- Prevent software update over HTTP http-update-enable -- Allow software update over HTTP ifconfig [ -stats ] | [ auto ] | [linklocal] | [<ipaddr> [<netmask> [<gw>]]] -- Display or configure IP address l1 -- L1 Interrupts l2 -- L2 Interrupts memf <addr> <bitlow> <bithigh> <value> -- Write register field mem <addr> [ <value> ] -- Read/write memory ping <ip> -- Ping host moca-buffers -- Display MoCA OS buffer stats mocap -- Moca stats and settings ntp <ip> -- NTP server address nvram-avs [ <0|1> ] -- Get/Set AVS Enable setting nvram-custom [B|b|S|s|d] [<data>] -- Get/Set custom data nvram-erase [all] -- Erase all NVRAM info except MAC Address. "all" Erase all NVRAM info nvram-info -- Get NVRAM info nvram-mac [ <mac-addr> ] -- Get/Set MAC address nvram-moca -- Get MOCA NVRAM settings nvram-runonce [ <0|1> ] -- Get/Set runonce setting quiet <ON|OFF> -- Disable/Enable command line echo rd-button-enable <0|1> -- Enable Restore Default Button rd-button-time <seconds> -- Get/Set the hold time for the Restore Default Button reboot -- Reset the board reset-button-enable <0|1> -- Enable Reset Button rfswitch <H|L> -- Set RF switch to High (1125MHz+) or Low (5-1000MHz) script <filename> -- Run script spi-get-config -- Print SPI configuration spi-set-baud <rate> -- Set spi clk rate spi-set-chipsel <0|1> -- Set spi chip select spi-set-cpha <0|1> -- Set spi clk phase spi-set-cpol <0|1> -- Set spi clk polarity spi-set-dtl-and-dsclk <0|1> -- Set spi user dtl and dsclk mode spi-set-polled <0|1> -- Set spi polled/intr mode spi-xfer [bytes-out] [x<num_bytes>] -- Transfer bytes on SPI line tasks -- Print task info temp -- Print die temperature tftp <server> [<filename> [<offset>]] -- Tftp file into flash time -- Display current time tpcap ... -- Test-port Capture version -- Display flash image version
After doing that, I was able to find that these Actiontec devices have their own web server built in with a convenient configuration page. Mine was at 192.168.144.30. From the configuration page you can set a MoCA password, frequecy range, channel and other fun stuff!
I will be updating this post with more info soon.