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Best CenturyLink-Compatible Modems 2020

CenturyLink wireless modem

Best for budget

Actiontec C3000A

Best for speed

Zyxel C3000Z

Best for static IPs

Data effective 1/27/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The bottom line

DSL technology varies so vastly from place to place that finding a compatible modem for CenturyLink is tricky business.

But buying your modem can save you money in the long run, since CenturyLink charges $10 per month for you to lease one. Fortunately, we’ve gathered a bunch of good options for you to pick from.

In the end, though, we recommend taking advantage of CenturyLink’s option to buy a modem through the company, which makes their own modem the best CenturyLink modem. You’ll get compatible, well-functioning equipment that you know will work with your service. And it costs only $100 or $150, depending on your internet speeds.

That’s cheaper than viable modems you’ll find on Amazon.

Top CenturyLink-compatible modems

Specs and features comparison

Swipe Left to See All →
ModelCompatible DSL technologyWireless protocolPrice*Purchase
CenturyLink wireless modemBased on planBased on plan$100 or $150 based on plan
Actiontec C3000AADSL, ADSL2+ (bonded), VDSL2 (bonded), GPON802.11n
802.11ac
$220
Zyxel C3000ZVDSL2 (bonded), GPON802.11n
802.11ac
$159.95
Actiontec C1900AADSL, ADSL2+ (bonded), VDSL2 (bonded), GPON802.11n
802.11ac
$180
Technicolor C1100TADSL, ADSL2+, VDSL2, GPON802.11n$170.64

*Price at time of writing

Availability note: Most sellers don’t keep a lot of DSL modems in stock, so the links we’ve listed above may sell out faster than we like. Let us know in the comment section if you can’t find the product you need.

Best modems for CenturyLink

  • CenturyLink wireless modem—Best for budget
  • Actiontec C3000A—Best for speed
  • Zyxel C3000Z—Best for static IPs
  • Actiontec C1900A—Runner-up for flexibility
  • Technicolor C1100T—Runner-up for static IPs

If you decide not to get your modem through CenturyLink, you’ll need to carefully choose a modem that works with the DSL technology in your area. Let’s take a closer look at the information you need to make your choice.

CenturyLink fiber internet modems

A lot of CenturyLink service is DSL-based, which is the technology type we’re focused on for the modems in this article. If you have CenturyLink fiber internet instead of DSL internet, you won’t need to worry about finding a modem—CenturyLink will provide one for you at no extra cost.

However, CenturyLink will charge you $5 per month to lease a router for Wi-Fi service. Since most people don’t like to be wired in these days, you’ll probably want to pony up the cash. (Though going with a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi will make your internet signal much stronger.)

But it will probably be pay off for you to buy a router instead. You have a lot of options—all routers are compatible with CenturyLink fiber internet. Before you buy the cheapest one you can find, keep in mind that routers vary in quality. You can check out our recommendations on “The 3 Fastest Wireless Routers for 2020.”

CenturyLink Compatible Modem | Cabletv.com

CenturyLink wireless modem

Best for budget

  • Compatible DSL technology: Based on plan
  • Wireless protocol: Based on plan
  • Price: $100 or $150 based on plan, or $10/mo. to lease

Pros

  • Matches your CenturyLink plan
  • Comes with technical support

Cons

  • Varies in model
  • Varies in price

If you want to save yourself the time and energy it takes to find out your local DSL technology type and unearth a matching DSL modem, get your modem straight from CenturyLink.

CenturyLink’s modem options include a built-in wireless router, and they’re cheaper than most options on the market.

Sure, you’ll be left in the dark about the make and model until the modem lands on your doorstep. But CenturyLink can help with tech support if something goes wrong.

And if you’re not going to be with CenturyLink for long, you might save money by leasing your modem instead of buying it.

So if you like to keep things simple—and save cash—getting a modem straight from CenturyLink is the way to go.

CenturyLink modems

CenturyLink hooks its customers up with a truly ridiculous number of modem possibilities based on what’s compatible with your internet speed and the technology in your area.

As a new user, you’ll probably get one of these models:

  • Actiontec C1000A
  • Actiontec C1900A
  • Actiontec C2000A
  • Actiontec PK5001A
  • Actiontec Q1000
  • Actiontec Q2000
  • Adtran C424G
  • Calix C844G
  • Technicolor C1100T
  • Technicolor C2000T
  • Technicolor C2100T
  • Zyxel C1000z
  • Zyxel C1100Z
  • Zyxel C2100Z
  • Zyxel C3000Z
  • Zyxel FR1000Z
  • Zyxel PK5000Z
  • Zyxel PK5001Z
  • Zyxel Q1000Z

Actiontec C3000A

Best for speed

  • Compatible DSL technology: ADSL, ADSL2+ (bonded), VDSL2 (bonded), GPON
  • Wireless protocol: 802.11n and 802.11ac
  • Price: $220 at time of writing

Pros

  • Works with most DSL types
  • Offers faster Wi-Fi than most DSL modem/routers

Cons

  • Costs about twice as much as CenturyLink’s modems

If you rely on Wi-Fi to get internet throughout your home, the Actiontec C3000A is an excellent choice. Its advanced 802.11ac tech expands the reach of your 5.0 GHz frequency Wi-Fi to 820 feet.

Minus the jargon, that means the Actiontec 3000AC gives you steadier, faster Wi-Fi speeds throughout your home than most DSL modem/routers. That will give your smart TVs, computers, and gaming consoles a chance to shine.

This option isn’t a great budget choice, though. It’ll take over two years for your purchase to equal what leasing a CenturyLink modem will cost you.

But it’s unlikely DSL modem tech will jump by leaps and bounds in the next couple of years. So if you’re taking advantage of CenturyLink’s price-for-life deal, the Actiontec C3000A could be a keeper.

Zyxel C3000Z

Best for static IPs

  • Compatible DSL technology: VDSL2 (bonded), GPON
  • Wireless protocol: 802.11n and 802.11ac
  • Price: $159.95 at time of writing

Pros

  • Offers faster Wi-Fi than most DSL modem/routers
  • Supports CBRAS connection

Cons

  • Works only with fast DSL technology

If you’re tech-savvy, you might be a good match for the Zyxel C3000Z. This modem is compatible with CBRAS, which helps you set up LAN subnets and static IP addresses.

But even if none of those acronyms strike a chord with you, don’t count out the Zyxel C3000Z yet. It’s one of the more affordable DSL modems and an excellent choice for high-speed plans. You’ll really get to enjoy all the speed you’re paying for this way.

If your plan comes with download speeds of 80 Mbps or more, it will probably work with this modem—ask your CenturyLink rep to be sure.

While you’re chatting with them, ask if this is the modem you’d get if you bought one from CenturyLink. The Zyxel C3000Z is one of its models available in some areas, and buying it straight from CenturyLink can save you a few dollars.

Actiontec C1900A

Runner-up for flexibility

  • Compatible DSL technology: ADSL, ADSL2+ (bonded), VDSL2 (bonded), GPON
  • Wireless protocol: 802.11n and 802.11ac
  • Price: $180 at time of writing

Pros

  • Works with most DSL types
  • Offers faster Wi-Fi than most DSL modem/routers

Cons

  • Runs slower on ADSL than the Actiontec 3000A

Do you love the flexibility of the Actiontec 3000A but not the big price tag? No worries. This model works with most of CenturyLink’s DSL technologies too, which will give you a lot of flexibility if you move around but want to stick with CenturyLink internet.

And like the Actiontec and Zyxel models above, the Actiontec C1900A supports fast Wi-Fi speeds. It runs a little slower on ADSL than the Actiontec 3000A, but it’s unlikely you’ll run into a plan where that matters.

So if you want to save a bit, check out this scaled-down (and cheaper) Actiontec model. If you like it, ask your CenturyLink rep if you can get it through them and save a few more bucks—this is one of the wireless modems CenturyLink offers.

Technicolor C1100T

Runner-up for static IPs

  • Compatible DSL technology: ADSL, ADSL2+, VDSL2, GPON
  • Wireless protocol: 802.11n
  • Price: $170.64 at time of writing

Pros

  • Supports CBRAS connection
  • Works with slower DSL speeds that the Zyxel C3000Z doesn’t

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with bonded DSL technology
  • Doesn’t offer most advanced Wi-Fi technology

The Technicolor C1100T doesn’t have the advanced Wi-Fi technology that the Zyxel C3000Z does. But it does work with many of the slower speeds that Zyxel isn’t built for, so it’s a good option if you have a low-speed internet plan but still need a CBRAS connection.

That said, if you’re not familiar with CBRAS, don’t worry—it’s not necessary for everyday browsing. You can pass on this high price tag and go for a router that costs less.

If you do choose this option, you’ll want to check that this modem works with your internet plan. The Technicolor C1100T isn’t equipped to work with bonded internet, which uses two or more internet connections together to provide faster internet speeds.

When you’re asking your CenturyLink rep if your internet is bonded, you should also ask if CenturyLink offers the Technicolor C1100T in your area. It’s one of the many modems CenturyLink provides its customers, and you could get a better deal with CenturyLink than Amazon.

What to look for in modems compatible with CenturyLink

Modem specs are riddled with jargon. Let us be your tech–Rosetta Stone.

DSL technology

There are different generations of DSL technology. Each one offers faster speeds than its predecessors, but not all areas of the US support the latest technology.

Consequently, your local DSL tech might not support the fastest speeds on the market. And buying a DSL modem is tricky because not all modems work with every type of DSL technology.

Ask a CenturyLink representative which DSL technology your home and plan uses. You can guess what technology your plan uses based on the speeds listed below, but this is something you’re better off being sure about if you want to find the best DSL modem for CenturyLink services:

  • ADSL—Up to 7 Mbps
  • ADSL2+—Up to 20 Mbps
  • Bonded ADSL2+—Up to 25 Mbps
  • VDSL2—Up to 80 Mbps
  • Bonded VDSL2—100 Mbps
  • GPON—Up to 1,000 Mbps

Wireless protocol

You’ll need a router to get Wi-Fi in your home. Luckily, most DSL modems come with one equipped.

All of the wireless modems in this article come with dual-band routers, which broadcast on both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequencies.

The 2.4 GHz frequency is better at moving through walls and other obstacles in your home than 5.0 GHz. But 5.0 GHz supports faster Wi-Fi speeds.

If your router uses 802.11n tech, the 5.0 GHz frequency will travel only up to 460 feet. With the more advanced 802.11ac tech, 5.0 GHz will go as far as 820 feet.

So go for a wireless modem 802.11ac if you have a large home. Otherwise, a wireless modem with 802.11n will work just fine.

Pro tip: a separate router is better

While it’s convenient (and less messy) to have your modem and router combined, you might consider getting a separate router. They’re often more reliable than their combo counterparts. But the good ones will cost ya.

Our final take

It’s a lot easier to buy a modem from CenturyLink than buying one online. Your CenturyLink modem will be guaranteed to work with whatever DSL technology your home uses, which is essential since there are so many generations of DSL tech out there.

But if you’re willing to spend more to get the best modem for CenturyLink and beyond, we recommend the Actiontec 3000A. It’s an excellent model that works with most CenturyLink plans.

CenturyLink-compatible modem FAQ

Can you use your own modem with CenturyLink?

You might be able to use your own modem with CenturyLink, provided it works with the technology CenturyLink uses in the area. But that’s a pretty big gamble, seeing as CenturyLink uses six different types of DSL technology across the US.

If your modem is left over from a cable internet provider, like Xfinity, your modem won’t work with CenturyLink’s DSL technology. You’ll need to buy or rent a new one.

To find out the right type of DSL modem, ask your CenturyLink customer representative what DSL technology works at your home. Then you can check our chart above for the best Centurylink modem for that service.

Keep in mind that, oftentimes, it’s cheaper to buy a compatible modem from CenturyLink (as opposed the renting one) than it is to buy a modem on Amazon.

If you have Centurylink fiber internet, don’t worry—your fiber modem comes included with your plan. But it costs a bit more for Wi-Fi service. You can save some more cash by buying a Wi-Fi router instead of paying $5 a month for a Centurylink router.

Do I need both a modem and a router?

You must have a modem to get DSL internet into your home. And while you don’t have to have a router, they’re essential to broadcast Wi-Fi. That’s what helps you get online wirelessly—no Ethernet cord needed.

Luckily, all the DSL modems discussed in this article already include a router. You might see these types of hybrid modems referred to as wireless modems, wireless gateways, or modem/routers.

If you have fiber internet with CenturyLink, your modem comes included with your service at no extra cost. You can pay $5 per month to lease a CenturyLink router, or buy your own.

How can I boost my CenturyLink Wi-Fi signal?

You can boost your CenturyLink Wi-Fi signal by switching to a wireless modem that uses 802.11ac, like the Actiontec 3000A.

Alternatively, you can set up a Wi-Fi extender kit in your home. CenturyLink offers them for $99, and Amazon offers some deals on them too.

What should my CenturyLink Internet speed be?

CenturyLink’s Price for Life 100 Mbps plan offers more than enough download speed for most homes.

If you have few internet users and smart home devices, 15 Mbps and 20 Mbps will still get you far. For moderate internet usage, go a little higher to 40 Mbps and 80 Mbps.

But if you want to zoom through the internet, CenturyLink Fiber Internet has 940 Mbps download speeds. It’s more expensive than CenturyLink’s other plans but well priced for its speed when compared to other providers.

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