The Best CenturyLink-Compatible Modems
When you sign up for internet service, your provider typically offers to rent or lease you a modem. In CenturyLink’s case, that fee is around $8.00 per month. Usually the equipment you get for that is pretty basic, which might get annoying after a while. Plus, if you’re planning to stick with CenturyLink for a while, renting can end up costing you more than you’d pay to buy your own gear. That’s not good.
Fortunately, you have options! CenturyLink allows subscribers to bring their own equipment and skip the rental fee. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of modem options on the market, and not all of them will work with CenturyLink service.
Don’t worry—we’ve got your back. We’ve waded through the sea of modems that work with CenturyLink to find the best out there. Whether you want something more powerful or just want to save a little cash, these are the best CenturyLink-compatible modems you can get.
Top CenturyLink-Compatible Modems
|Best For||Model||Max Download Speed||Ethernet Ports||Dual-Band Wi-Fi||Wireless Protocol||Price|
|Overall Performance||NETGEAR D6200||Up to 1,200 Mbps||4||Yes||802.11ac||$$$$|
|Powerful Performance||NETGEAR Nighthawk D7000||Up to 1,900 Mbps||4||Yes||802.11ac||$$$$$|
|Your Budget||Actiontec GT784WN||Up to 300 Mbps||4||No||802.11n||$$|
|Compatibility||Zyxel C1100Z||Up to 300 Mbps||4||No||802.11n||$$$|
|Customer Support||Motorola MD1600||Up to 1,600 Mbps||4||Yes||802.11ac||$$$|
|Best For||Overall Performance|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 1,200 Mbps|
|Best For||Powerful Performance|
|Model||NETGEAR Nighthawk D7000|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 1,900 Mbps|
|Best For||Your Budget|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 300 Mbps|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 300 Mbps|
|Best For||Customer Support|
|Max Download Speed||Up to 1,600 Mbps|
Features and prices current as of 8/23/18.
- Very long range that’s great for large homes
- Supports both DSL and cable service—not many modems offer this capability
- Lots of advanced wireless features for better range and signal strength
- The look may not be for everyone
- Not quite as fast as some other options
If you’re tired of slow speeds and short ranges but also don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to upgrade, this NETGEAR modem is for you. The D6200 strikes the perfect balance of cost and power and happens to be one of the few modems out there that supports both cable and DSL service. That means if you ever leave CenturyLink, you can take it with you without worrying about compatibility with your new provider.
This router is ideal for large homes with multiple devices. Simultaneous dual-band technology helps it handle more connections at once. And if you’re into streaming, the quality-of-service (QoS) feature prioritizes traffic so your stream stays stable.
The only potential downside with this modem is the look—it looks like it was meant to lay flat, but NETGEAR added a stand to keep it upright. If you can get past that awkwardness, though, we think you’ll love this one.
- Powerful processor helps keep up with multiple devices
- Long range for widespread coverage
- Built-in utilities for setting up and maintaining your network
- Takes up a lot of desk space
The NETGEAR Nighthawk D7000 is one of the most powerful DSL modems on the market. The built-in router supports up to 1,900 Mbps, which means it has more than enough bandwidth to handle multiple devices online at once.
The Nighthawk’s extra-long wireless range means users in large homes can get a strong signal in any room. It’s not just for big houses, though—that range also means the signal is stronger at various distances, so everyone can benefit no matter how close or far away they are. There are also built-in tools to help you get the modem activated and a wireless network set up.
The downside? This bad boy is expensive. You’ll have to really be sure you want nothing other than the best to pony up the funds for this one.
- Super affordable price
- Works with most major DSL providers, not just CenturyLink
- Lacks the advanced features of more expensive models
- No Gigabit Ethernet
If you don’t need any fancy features or have a limited budget, this Actiontec router might be perfect for you.
Like the other options on this list, this modem has built-in Wi-Fi, four Ethernet ports for wired connections, and works well with CenturyLink service. To keep the price low, you won’t find any advanced features or range extenders, and the maximum supported speed is much lower at 300 Mbps, which leaves less room for simultaneous users. It also looks a little like something from the nineties, though not everyone will notice or care about that.
This is a no-frills modem/router combo that gets the job done and not much else. But for a lot of folks, that’s all that’s needed.
- Officially certified by CenturyLink
- Auto-detects CenturyLink network settings
- Lacks some advanced wireless features
- No Gigabit Ethernet
- A little expensive for what you get
This Zyxel modem has the advantage of being one of the official CenturyLink-supplied models, which means it can auto-detect your network and configure itself. You’re also likely to have an easier time getting help from CenturyLink if you have any issues with it. If you like the CenturyLink modem but just want to own your own rather than renting or leasing, this is your ticket.
Apart from that, this modem is basic. It has the built-in Wi-Fi router, but it’s not super-powerful, with support for up to 300 Mbps. It’s also a little pricey for the specs. That said, if you worry about compatibility, get this one. It’s certified by CenturyLink, so you know it’ll work.
- Looks great
- Customer support from Motorola is excellent
- Plenty of speed for most users
- Lacks some advanced features of more expensive models
- Not the fastest option available
Lastly, this Motorola MD1600 modem combines solid features and fast speeds with Motorola’s excellent customer service reputation. Users and reviewers have raved online about Motorola’s support, so look no further if that’s what you’re after.
As for the modem itself, it supports wireless speeds up to 1,600 Mbps, which is plenty for a multi-user household. It also offers four Gigabit Ethernet ports to plug your devices into directly. And it looks really slick on a desk, if we do say so ourselves. Not everyone will care about how their modem looks, but if you do, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the look of the Motorola MD1600.
What to Look for in a CenturyLink-Compatible Modem
1. CenturyLink Modem Compatibility
First and foremost, you want to make sure any modem you purchase is going to actually work with your internet. Not all modems are interchangeable, so double-check this before you buy one!
- Cable modems that work with cable providers like Xfinity and Cox.
- DSL modems that work with DSL providers like AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier.
If you have CenturyLink, a DSL modem is what you’re looking for.
It’s not always obvious from the modem name or even product description which type it is, so your best bet is to look for a list of compatible providers from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and make sure the one you want is listed.
Here’s the official list of modems compatible with CenturyLink.
2. Built-In Wi-Fi
Most modern DSL modems and many cable modems come with wireless routers built right in. These are sometimes referred to as gateways, and they have their pros and cons.
Gateways are convenient because you don’t have to buy a separate wireless router to set up Wi-Fi. However, they can sometimes lack more advanced features compared to stand-alone routers.
Get connected today.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a basic modem for occasional use or a feature-packed powerhouse for heavy gaming, one of our recommended options will fit the bill.
Do you already have a favorite modem for CenturyLink? Let us know in the comments!
Frequently Asked Questions about Modems
Should I rent a modem or buy my own?
Buying your own modem is usually cheaper long-term, but it can cost a couple hundred dollars up front. If you’re not ready to shell out that much cash from the get-go, you might want to rent one instead. One bonus to renting your modem from CenturyLink (or other providers) is they will usually handle any repairs or replacements you need—if you use your own, you’re also on your own for solving any technical problems. That’s definitely something to be aware of, and it might be worth the extra cost of renting for some.
What’s the difference between a modem and a router?
Basically, a modem takes the signal from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and translates it into something your devices can understand and use. A wireless router takes that translated signal and broadcasts it so your devices can pick it up wirelessly. Many modems, including all on this list, include a router in the same unit. This is called a modem/router combo or gateway. As long as you want Wi-Fi in your home or business, you’ll need both a modem and a router.