RoadRunner Lightning Speed Test

The Bright House Networks Promise

Over a year ago, Bright House Networks started telling people in Orlando that RoadRunner Lightning was coming. The promise with this Internet provider service was faster speed – up to 40 Mb downloads and up to 5 Mb uploads. I’ve used RoadRunner as my cable service for years and had already upgraded to RoadRunner Turbo – up to 20 Mb downloads and up to 2 Mb uploads. Quite honestly, I never expected to upgrade to Lightning.

My reasoning was pretty simple. Why pay more for a network upgrade when your overall speed is dependent upon other network providers to transmit content? Yes, RoadRunner may have a fast pipe for its customers, but that doesn’t help a bit if you’re trying to stream online from a constrained server elsewhere on the Internet.

Why I Got RoadRunner Lightning

As with most of my life, things didn’t turn out quite the way I anticipated. With three services (Phone, Cable TV & Internet), my Bright House bill was killing me. I figured it was time to call and cancel the landline phone service. It’s not that I wanted to give it up. Plenty of folks live just fine with their cell phone, but I still prefer having a landline and the number that goes with it. However, I didn’t prefer it enough to keep paying the total of my bill.

After some games and number crunching that I still don’t understand, the customer service rep found a way to meet the monthly bill that I was willing to pay without canceling my VOIP phone service. I had to upgrade to RoadRunner Lightning to save money.

Had I called and requested this on my own, I’d be paying even more. With the prospect of losing business, they found a way to give me more for less. I asked if this was a promotional price that would expire and was told that wasn’t the case. The price I received would be my regular bill. Seemed good enough to me.

The Internet Speed Test

After having this for a month, my gut feeling is hit & miss. Sometimes it truly does feel like I’m downloading faster than using RoadRunner Turbo, but other times I can’t see any difference. Gut feelings don’t cut it, though. I put the network to the test using two different services – Bright House Network’s internal speedtest and also SpeedTest.Net’s service. Both were captured on video, so you can see what I saw. Take a look at the results:

Bright House Network Speed Test Results

SpeedTest.Net Results

Evaluating the Results

When running the test, I ensured that there was no other network traffic coming from my home. I didn’t have any other computers on or additional web browsers or services generating traffic. This was as clean as I can get in a home environment.

The good news is that the download speeds are real. I expected good results on the Bright House Networks speedtest, as they control the bandwidth and it should be evenly distributed. By that, I mean they packets should reflect only the speed of the internal RoadRunner network and not be affected by a slower external network. What I didn’t expect was to find the external speed tests to be just about as good as the internal network. It’s still possible that some external force won’t be able to keep up with the Lightning speed, but this was a pretty good result. As you can see in the chart below, it hasn’t always been that good. In fact, it’s been less than half the speed being marketed on a couple of occasions, and I fully expect to see the speed drop down on some occasions again.

Unfortunately, the upload speeds weren’t even close to the expectations set for RoadRunner Lightning. I understand that there are a lot of factors that can interfere with network transmissions, but I had higher expectations for the internal network upload tests. As it stands, it didn’t even crack the 1 Mb market. External testing was about half that speed. It may prove faster when testing at different times or conditions, but I don’t expect significant changes. That’s why the marketing is very careful to include “speeds up to” in the text. They can’t promise to deliver 40 Mb down or 5 Mb up. The uploads started off very strong when I got the service, but it’s just gotten worse over time.

The download speed delivers as close to the promise as one can realistically expect. That part of the service is great. Uploads, however, have steadily declined since I got the service. Here are the results from my previous tests with SpeedTest.net – click to expand:

speedtest results

If you want occasionally faster downloads, RoadRunner Lightning can occasionally deliver. Don’t expect any shocking upload times, though. If Bright House Networks hadn’t offered it to me as a way to save money, I wouldn’t have ordered the service.

UPDATE:

I received a comment from Chris at Bright House Networks offering to help with the performance issues cited in the speed tests here. Bright House performed some tests from their end, and then sent a couple of techs out to do more trouble-shooting. They found some noise on a coupler that was installed when I received my Lightning upgrade. The new Lightning cable modem doesn’t support my VOIP phone service from Bright House, so the technician who installed it had to create a coupler for both of them to connect.

The gentlemen who came out today discovered some noise on the line that seems to emanate from that coupler.  They replaced it and I’ll continue to measure my bandwidth on the various speed test services.

Whichever way it works out, I have to say that I’m impressed with the service I received from Bright House Networks today. They reached out to help and everyone I spoke with was great. I’m really impressed by that effort.

Comments

  1. Chuck W says

    I have been mulling the idea of getting Lightening, but I have a lot of devices and I was turned off at the prospect of having to use their router and being limited to just 5 devices connecting. With all my laptops and WiFi enabled cellphones, I exceed that number easily.

    I read that you can reconfigure the router BH provides to be just a bridge, then you can use your own router. Is that how you’re using things?

    • says

      Chuck,
      That’s correct. I already had everything configured using my Apple Airport, and I’m still using it with the RoadRunner Lightning system. If you also have VOIP with RoadRunner, bear in mind that the Lightning device doesn’t support phone. For me, that meant having to use two cable-modems that are daisy-chained together to support both features. Makes for more stuff on my desktop.

  2. says

    My speedtest always comes back at around 38MB however browsing seems very slow a lot of the time. Surely all the sites I connect to can’t be slow? Any ideas would be appreciated.

  3. Eric says

    When you use speedtest.net from Orlando location, make sure you change the server in speedtest.net to Tampa. It defaults to the closer server which is on Cocoa which is also the one listed in your speedtest.net test video above. When I use Cocoa, it is much less consistent than Tampa and many times just half the speed. Especially during peak hours. I will test both Tampa and Cocoa servers and 9 times out of 10, Tampa is much faster. Not sure why. I do believe that Lighting servers are in Tampa.

  4. Philsgirltam says

    Wish we could get the same good service. Have had Bighthouse for years, and use all three services. Brigthouse cant even keep a good digital service to the house to watch TV, much less keep the phone and internet up and going 24/7 like promised.You call to get service,get handed a scripted line of BS, and no one EVER follows through. Its getting old to pay a fortune for service, and Brighthouse not complying with their end of the contract.

  5. ShadowFoxBiH says

    I just recently got Road Runner Lightening from Bright House and it runs just as they advertised I always get the full 5 MBps upload speed as for the download speed it will vary a bit between 35 to 40 but it works just fine and runs amazing when I am doing many things as once like when I download videos off youtube and watch another video at the same time as for the modem they bridged my motorola surfboard so I can still use my cisco wireless n router so yeah I am thoroughly impressed since it only cost me an extra 7 dollars a month!

  6. Rich says

    I get well over 40 down and nearly 6 up! In fact I just ran a test on multiple test servers….47MBps down and 5.98up. Downloading files as big as a gig is nothing anymore. If you download a lot of data, this rocks. I even use FTP with friends on it and having the transfer speed is awesome. Beats the hell out of relying on third party servers to transfer files.

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