The Site Formerly Known As The Unofficial San Diego RoadRunner FAQ

Last updated: 5/31/99
Be forewarned that this page is severly out of date. I no longer have Roadrunner service (or live in SD for that matter) so I have no way of verifying any updates I may receive. Use the information contained on these pages at your own risk.
Related pages:
The Official RoadRunner FAQ
There is already an existing Unofficial RoadRunner FAQ.
The SD FAQ is not meant to supercede the Unofficial FAQ, but rather to act as an addendum.
Also, please check out the publically accessable RoadRunner forum being hosted at
Phil Karn has setup his own page describing Road Runner Cable Internet Service.
ZZO Associates UNIX Roadrunner Page
OS/2 Roadrunner Page
The San Diego roadrunner.faq Unofficial FAQ.

Recent News

The San Diego RoadRunner staff is currently in the midst of drafting an Acceptible Usage Policy (AUP). This policy will be more detailed than the service agreement and will cover three specific areas: conduct, services and usage. AUPs are being gathered from other RoadRunner sites as well as from various institutions on the Internet so the resultant SD AUP should address the majority of the issues involved with providing and using Internet accounts and services.

Unfortunately, this seems to be too little too late for one user who's account has already been revoked for 90 days.
Roadrunner refuses to comment on the matter. Here is the former customer's side of the story.

What are the costs involved?

For the SouthWestern cable service, they charge $100 for installation and $50/month for service.
You receive a $5/month discount if you are also a Southwestern Cable subscriber.
You receive: 1 network interface card
	     1 Motorola CyberSurfer cablemodem
	     1 diskette containing the RoadRunner software
This is the service agreement that they wish you to sign. Read this before you sign it! Make the techinicials wait as you're getting charge $100 whether they are there for 5 minutes or 2 hours. There are several clauses and other fine print that users have repeatedly gotten burned about because management decided to change the way the service worked.

Critical sections include:

Section 2b. SWC can change any aspect of the service at any time.
Section 2f. No commerical use.*
Section 4a. Additional charge for multiple computers.

As of 6/2/97, they have started a commercial service. Same equipment, same connection, except you pay $149.95/month for a static ip address and $99.95/month for each additional ip address. Although they do not currently offer DNS services for their business plan, I have been informed that they have plans to do so.

What are the bandwidth limitations?

Since RoadRunner uses Motorola's Cybersurfer, the maximum transfer rates are 10 Mbit/s on the downlink and 768k on the uplink.

How fast is RoadRunner really?

Well, the cablemodem can do up to 10Mbit/s. However due to limitations in your PC's hardware, you'll only see between 6-8Mbit/s...tops. But this is just internal RoadRunner "content" speed. The last I heard, SD RR connection to the internet is currently 7 T1 lines to a MCI Internet backbone and a metered connection to the CerfNet backbone.

Which operating systems does RR support?

RoadRunner only supports Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows NT and Macintosh System 7.5.1 platforms.
Currently there are no plans to support any of the Unix-based platforms.
At the moment, RoadRunner has banned the use of 3rd party login programs.

However, a few of users have taken it upon themselves to "port" the login program to other plaftorms.

  • Phil Karn has provided source to a login program.
  • Tien Nguyen has written an enhanced windows client.
  • Mark Trostler has written a perl version of this program that is available at
  • Ben Hines has provided a beta version of a Mac login program.
  • Eric Lundberg has a beta version of another Mac login program.

    A brief description of a Linux RoadRunner setup.

    Does RoadRunner provide user web pages?

    Yes, RoadRunner provides user web space. Goto to setup your homepage.
    As always, there are certain conditions of use.
    You receive 5 megs of disk space. No CGIs. No Java.

    I have two PCs. Can I use both machines with Roadrunner?

    The charge for an extra IP address will be an extra $5 per month. I suggest that everyone with interest in using multiple computer look into ip masquerading using Linux or WinGate.

    How do I hook up more than one computer at a time?

    The most common way is to do this is to purchase a hub. A hub is a networking device that allows you to maintain a local area network (LAN) by plugging each of your network cables into one device. There are 2 types of network cables, crossover and pass-thru. Most of the cables that you see in stores and the cable that comes with the cablemodem are pass-thru cables. Basically, crossover cables are used to interconnect hubs and pass-thru cables are used to connect network cards to hubs. Since, the cablemodem is like a hub, you will need a crossover cable to use it.

    Is RR behind a firewall?

    The San Diego RoadRunner network is not behind a firewall. Misconfigured routers once made it seem as though it were.

    Does RR provide static ip addresses?

    Not for residential accounts. Roadrunner uses the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). DHCP can also be used for static hosts but RoadRunner has decided against this. Each time you log into the service, you can potentially receive a different ip address. Many users have had the same ip address for extended periods of time, but they have been lucky. There is a potential to receive a different ip address due to a number of factors, including shutting the computer down, unplugging the cablemodem, switching operating systems or simply the DHCP server decided to give you a new ip address.

    (excerpt from a usenet post of mine)

    As always, there has been a big clamor about dynamic ip addresses. In
    most cases, users do not need a static ip address. What you need is a
    static hostname. You want to make sure that everyone knows that your
    webserver is You don't/shouldn't care if the ip
    address changes every hr as long as the hostname maps to your machine.
    Kirk seemed intrigued by this idea and was going to pass it up the line.
    We'll see if anything will come of this.  
    Users can implement this feature (static hostnames) themselves via a 3rd
    party until this is implemented by TW, if ever.  There are organizations
    like and that offer this service.
    If your sysadmin at work requries that you have a static ip address in
    order to access the site, tell him to install ssh,
    As it does a local authentication and then a host authentication based
    upon info in your local config files, it does not care what the hostname
    or ip address of the machines are that are talking. I have ssh running
    on my home linux box, several work boxes that have a shared nfs mounted
    account and other ISP account that just recently changed hostnames. Ssh
    still works fine between them without changing a thing. At most, you
    might want to clean out your known_hosts file when you know that a
    hostname has changed. 

    Online Professional Xchange (OPX) is also offering this service. Contact David Bullock for details.

    Am I required to use a proxy?

    As of 7/22/97, the proxy server requirement has been lifted. Users are still encouraged to use the proxy-server as, in theory, it will help allievate external network traffic. However, serious work needs to be done on the proxy-server before existing users will be willing to use it again.

    How do I configure my system to use the proxy-server?

    If you are using Netscape:
    Go to Options->Network Preferences...->Proxies->Manual Proxy Configuration
    Enter the hosts in the "No Proxy for" field. Netscape 3.x uses spaces to 
          separate hosts and matches the end of a string. No wildcards. 
       Minimal list should include: 
          ams-server login-server:8081 ftp:// gopher://
    If you are using Internet Explorer:
       Go to View->Options->Connection
       Click on proxy settings.
       Enter hosts into the "Exceptions" box. IE uses ; to separate hostname.
       Minimal list should include:
    If you are using lynx:
       1) Edit your lynx.cfg and modify/add the following line:
       2) Contributed by Guy Berliner 
    	To use a proxy server with lynx, set an environment variable
    	called PROTO_proxy, where PROTO is the protocol for which the
    	proxy is used. For example, to set up an http proxy using the server, port 8080 in a Bourne style shell, add

    I having problems using RealAudio and/or RealVideo. It worked before I installed Roadrunner. What's wrong?

    Currently, we are not sure if this is a problem with the way that Real* setup the .ini files. The solution is to reinstall Real* and make sure that you are using RA3.0 or later.

    Are there any local game servers?

    Kris Roberts is running a Quake server. The latest ip address for this server can be found at
    If you are using QSpy, a couple of RoadRunner Quake servers will show up in the list.

    Rumor has it that I cannot get my mail from anywhere but my home machine, is this true?

    Not any more. There used to be a restriction that you could only grab your email from a machine on the Roadrunner network. Now, they let you get it from anywhere.

    Can I participate in the on-going Roadrunner discussions?

    No and Yes. The roadrunner.* newsgroups seem to be local the domain. However, I am running a news server of my own that mirrors the Roadrunner news server. The news server is a news:// and is read-only.
    There is web forum available at but it is not local to San Diego.