Fixing Slow Internet Speed with Windows Vista x64 and Brighthouse Road Runner Lightning
Check the Firewall of the Modem - Router Provided by the Cable Company
I recently upgraded to Road Runner Lightning with Brighthouse Networks in Florida. The new Internet service advertised "Lightning Fast" speeds of up to 40 mbps. Needless to say, that kind of speed had me pretty excited because the advertised capability of the Road Runner Lightning indicated that I would be able to use multiple browser tabs, access the Internet with multiple computers, do online gaming, etc. Since we have multiple computers and devices in our house, the capabilities of this Internet package made sense. However, getting that speed ending up being a samll pain the neck that involved just over a week of hair pulling frustration that nearly had me in line to buy a new PC.
Our network is being accessed by two different PCs. My computer is running Windows Vista x64, while my sister's computer is running Windows 7. Prior to upgrading to the Road Runner Lightning service, both my sister and I were accessing the Internet through a Wireless N connection. After upgrading to the Lightning package from Brighthouse, she instantly got the advertised speeds of 40 mbps down and 5 mbps up. The process was a little more tricky for me on Windows Vista Machine.
Ultimately, I was able to get the advertised speeds on my PC running Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit. However, it took some manipulation of the settings that were automatically configured on the UBEE Modem with integrated Wireless Router that comes standard with the Brighthouse Networks Road Runner Lightning package, but here is a consolidated version of my troubles in case anyone else experiencing similar slow connection speeds on their network.
The UBEE Router Provided - Model DDW3611
Wireless A, B, G, N
Brighthouse Networks provided a Docsis 3.0 Wireless Cable Modem Model DDW3611 that acts as both the modem and the router. Because of the package that I got, I was supposed to have access to Internet speeds up to 40 mbps for downloads and 5 mbps upload. This is well within the capabilities of the "Ubee Interactive" device that was provided. The device also provides wireless Internet access on A, B, G, & N which should have worked well with Intel Wifi Link 5100 802.11 A, G, & N card in my PC.
Unfortunately, getting the advertised speeds was not as easy as plug and play (for me).
Wireless N Routers For Sale
A Tale of Two PCS
WIndows 7 x64 vs. Windows Vista x64
Before Upgrading, we were using a Brighthouse Modem that was connected to an external Wireless Router (a Trendnet Model TEW-625BRP). Our service was only rated for 10 mbps speeds, but we were having no problem on our network. Brighthouse just offered a free upgrade so we couldn't refuse.
My sister is running Windows 7 x64 and I am running Windows Vista x64.
When I first connected to the new wireless router (described above), I was not getting Internet Speeds anywhere close to the advertised amounts, however my sister's PC was zinging. So, my first thought was that my machine is just out of date as it is was purchased in 2009. I was seriously considering purchasing a new computer, and I had even gotten so far as to pick out a New Acer Aspire Model AS5750-6643 which comes with Windows 7 64 bit, 6GB Ram, 500GB Hard Drive, 2nd Generation Core I3 Processor, Wireless 802.11 b/g/n card, and built in web cam. This machine had everything I would need in an upgrade. However, the MSRP is $599.99 (Check Discount Price of Acer Aspire Laptops). This computer is certainly a good deal, but only if I absolutely had to have it. I picked Acer because they manufacture Gateway PCs, and we have purchased tow Gateways in the past year for my sisters who are having wonderful experiences with them. Learn More About Acer Computers.
I was seriously ready to pull the trigger on a computer upgrade, but prudence required me to take some additional action to troubleshoot my issues. I mean I was not having any trouble with my machine before the service upgrade. So, I took my PC over to my buddy's house and checked my Internet connections speeds on his Wireless G network. Low and behold, my computer was connecting and surfing at adequate speeds of about 17 mbps down and 3.5 up. These speeds were fantastically better than the speeds of 1.67 down and 0.03 up that I was getting on my supposedly lightning fast network at home. While this did not solve the problem that I was having at home, it told me that my computer alone was not the issue and there was more likely a problem with my network configuration. Therefore, I concluded that it was not absolutely necessary to drop a half a grand on a new computer at this time. I needed to resolve the problem with the connection.
How I fixed My Slow Internet Speeds on Windows Vista x64 and Brighthouse Road Runner Lightning
If you believe you are not connecting to the Internet as fast as you would like, take a couple of steps to determine what speeds you are supposed to have and what speeds you do have. Go to The Brighthouse Speed Test Application Here. Wait for the "Begin Test" button to appear and then run the test. Compare the results of the test to the speeds that you are supposed be getting from your provider. If those speeds are dramatically lower than the advertised, then you have a problem. Some small variation is to be expected.
For me, there was no question that I was having a problem because I was only getting consistently 1.67 mbps down and 0.03 up using Mozilla Firefox, but I was getting a different, yet consisitent result of 1.69 down and 4.8 up with Google Chrome. I am not sure why my download speed was faster than my upload speed when using the Google Chrome Browser, but I confirmed that result time after time for both browsers.
In an attempt to fix the problem I made multiple adjustments to my Wifi Link on my computer, but the changes made no difference in my connection speed. After a week, I finally called Brighthouse and told them that I needed to change the Encryption type on the Router, because the new router was utilizing WPA-Personal, and I read somewhere that it needed to be WPA2-Personal for Vista x64. This made a little sense to me because I had set up my previous router for WPA-2 personal, and this was the only difference in the connections that I could see at the time. Brighthouse was very accommodating and had a wireless technician call me back the same day and assist/teach me how to get into their modem so I could make the changes. I changed the WPA setting and enable to WPA2 (which the wireless representative told me should have been done when the unit arrived and was really just to open up the N technology and faster speeds). Making that change did not solve my particular problem but it was helpful.
One thing I noticed in my speed tests was that the Connection seemed to indicate that I was getting a fast connection from the server but that the speed was being dramatically reduced right around the time where the signal was getting to my network.
A little while later, I decided to log back in to the UBEE Router and look at other options that were available. I noticed that there was a "Firewall" on the modem. This got me attention, because one of the things I noticed in all of my attempts to reconfigure my computer was that my Firewall indicated that if there was another firewall enable somewhere on my network that this could cause problems. I disabled the modem's firewall, rebooted my PC, and all of the sudden I was roaming the Internet at the advertised speeds of 40 mbps down and 5 mbps up.
Resources for Testing / Fixing Internet Speeds
- Brighthouse Networks Speedtest - Works on Any Network
Testing your Internet speed is essential. If this test delivers the results that you are supposed to be getting for your Internet provider, then you connection problems are likely associated with the web site you are trying to access or the content y
- Instructions for Configuring Intel Wifi Cards
The above link will take you to the Intel Wifi Products section of the Intel Web site. I used the search box at the top to find my specific card. I found the information for my specific card in the "Network and Sharing Center" on my computer.
My Final Thoughts on this Experience
Now I am Happy and Satisfied
The Internet speed that I am currently enjoying is amazing. Everything I do on the Internet now loads faster and my overall satisfaction with browsing the Internet, Using Facebook, Playing Online Games, etc. has increased. The Bighthouse Road Runner Lightning Package provides a better Internet experience than the slower speeds that we had before upgrading.
Second, the call center representatives were helpful and courteous. BHN has done a good job training their call center employees.
Third, the technician who installed our modem/router was courteous and speedy at completing the job. He also installed digital Television (which I really like because of the added channels and the Free On Demand channels that allow me to watch Network Television shows if I miss them when they air normally). He did install the equipment correctly.
However, if you upgrade to Road Runner Lightning, you may have to do a little work to get the advertised connection speeds if you don't have a Windows 7 PC. I suggest that you get the access information for the Router from the technician and have him/her help you trouble shoot any connection problems that you might have before he/she leaves your home.
Update: Fantastic! I had scheduled a visit from a Brighthouse Technician before I made the Firewall adjustment. When he came, I went through the story and fixes that I tried and the ultimate solution that I found. I even showed him that if re-enabled the firewall on the router there was a dramatic decrease in speed. He told me that others have had similar issues with these UBEE routers and they did not know what was going on. HE SAID HE LEARNED SOMETHING FROM MY EXPERIENCE, and he hoped that it would help others. I honestly hope it does. Happy Surfing everyone.