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CenturyLink Installation Guide

Use our tips to make your internet setup process headache-free.

Bottom line

For new CenturyLink internet customers, no one’s idea of a fun day involves waiting between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for an installation appointment that’ll always be closer to 5 p.m. than you’d like.

So before you schedule that technician visit, consider doing a CenturyLink internet self-installation by yourself and potentially save time. Read on to find out what you’ll need to connect CenturyLink internet to your home and whether self-installation is a good fit for you.

How to self-install CenturyLink internet

If you can set up a laptop or smartphone without needing to call your nearest nephew or niece, you can do a CenturyLink self-install. Here’s what you’ll need to do ahead of time.

Order your CenturyLink self-install kit

When you’re purchasing CenturyLink service online, you can include a self-installation kit if you have a qualifying address or internet plan.

CenturyLink’s self-installation eligibility varies by location. But you can usually get a kit if you’re purchasing a CenturyLink plan with download speeds of less than 40 Mbps or if your address previously had CenturyLink service.

You can also request a self-installation kit with your CenturyLink plan if you’re talking to a live salesperson.

What’s in the box?

You’ll find the following items in your CenturyLink self-installation kit:

  • Power adapter
  • Combo Wi-Fi router/DSL modem
  • Green phone cable
  • Yellow Ethernet cable

Self-installing CenturyLink internet

Now that you’ve seen what’s in the CenturyLink box, it’s time to plug everything in.

  1. Find a phone wall jack on the main floor of your home, because you’ll need to connect it to the combo modem/Wi-Fi router. By keeping the device in a central area, you’ll create a consistent Wi-Fi signal for the whole house.
  2. Plug the power adapter into a wall outlet and insert the circular plug into your router/modem.
  3. Use the green phone cable to connect your phone jack to the combo modem/router. The modem/wireless router’s phone jack will be a separate input on the unit’s backside.
  4. If you have an older computer without a Wi-Fi antenna or want a stronger internet connection, connect the modem/router to your computer’s Ethernet port using the yellow Ethernet cable. The modem/router’s Ethernet port will be any of the yellow jacks on the unit’s backside.

Installing CenturyLink DSL filters

If you also have CenturyLink phone service, you’ll need to install DSL filters on all your landline phones. Technicians can bring free DSL filters during installation appointments, or you can order them from CenturyLink for a $4.95 shipping charge.

  1. Unplug the phone cable from the wall phone jack.
  2. Plug the DSL filter into your wall jack.
  3. Plug your phone cable into the filter.

Pro tip: Like with self-installation, CenturyLink’s modem rental requirements depend on your service address and CenturyLink internet plan. If CenturyLink gives you the all clear to buy your own modem, use CableTV.com’s guide to the best CenturyLink-compatible modems to get one and save a few bucks in the long run.

Activating your CenturyLink internet service

Once your hardware is all set up, it just needs to be activated through CenturyLink. This process takes only a few minutes worth of clicking.

  • Online: Before you get started, connect your computer to the modem/wireless router using the Wi-Fi credentials on the device’s bottom. Open your web browser and visit CenturyLink’s activation website to finish the setup process.
  • Phone: CenturyLink modems cannot be activated over the phone.
  • TV: CenturyLink doesn’t offer TV services.
  • Mobile app (Android or iOS): Download the My CenturyLink mobile app on Google Play or the App Store. Open the app and click Install My New Modem to start the self-activation process.

Pro installation vs. self-installation

CenturyLink installation pros and cons

Self-installation
Professional installation
Pros Cons
Fastest setup option No in-person technical support
No appointment fee
A technician who can solve problems in-person
Full-day scheduling window required

If your home qualifies for CenturyLink self-installation, it’s hard to beat the time savings from a self-install. Once you get your CenturyLink equipment, it’ll take only a few minutes to get your home online and you won’t need to schedule any technician appointments.

Pro tip: If you’re having tech problems that can’t be solved by CenturyLink’s activation portal or the My CenturyLink mobile app, check out CenturyLink’s self-installation support page for more troubleshooting help.

Still, CenturyLink’s professional installation is free, which is a nice benefit versus competitors who will tack on extra $50 or $100 fees to send a technician out. But because of COVID-19 scheduling challenges, CenturyLink can’t guarantee specific appointment windows and needs you to be around for an entire eight-hour workday.

We’d recommend pro installation only if you’re in a home that hasn’t been set up for internet or CenturyLink service. Technicians have the technical knowhow to access outdoor cables and drill wiring into your house if needed. Otherwise, stick with self-installation to quickly get your home online.

Schedule a CenturyLink pro installation

Professional installation of CenturyLink internet

Cost
Free
Appointment window/duration Customer satisfaction rating

8 hours/2–6 hours

4.05*

*CableTV.com customer-satisfaction survey (2020)

CenturyLink internet equipment: buy or rent?

Renting
Buying
Pros Cons
Cheap at $15/mo.
Good for short-term internet needs
Poor value for long-term internet needs
Best value for long-term internet needs Expensive upfront costs

Through CenturyLink, you can buy a combo Wi-Fi router/modem for $200 or rent one for $15 per month. CenturyLink fiber internet customers get a free modem with their subscription.

Since CenturyLink doesn’t require contracts, equipment rentals can be a decent option if you need internet service for less than a year. After 12 months, you would be paying $180 in CenturyLink equipment rental fees.

But despite the high $200 price tag, buying a modem outright will cost less than a rental if you stick with CenturyLink for the long haul.

After 14 months, you’ll be paying $210 in rental fees and would have saved money by purchasing a CenturyLink router/modem at the start of your service. When you purchase your equipment through CenturyLink, it’ll also come with a one-year warranty that protects against hardware failures.

If you need CenturyLink service for less than a year, we’d recommend renting internet equipment. Otherwise, spring for the $200 CenturyLink modem or buy your own unit using our CenturyLink-compatible modem guide to avoid extra rental fees.

CenturyLink Wi-Fi setup

Because CenturyLink uses combo DSL modem/Wi-Fi routers, you can easily set up a wireless internet connection without additional hardware.

How to connect to your CenturyLink Wi-Fi network

  1. Look at the bottom of your CenturyLink modem/router. On a sticker, you’ll find the Wi-Fi network name and password by the SSID and passphrase sections.
  2. Go to the Wi-Fi settings page on the device you want to connect to the internet.
  3. Click the network name that matches your CenturyLink device.
  4. Enter the password to finish the Wi-Fi setup process.

Final take

Unless your house needs to have cable replaced or routed for the first time through your walls, we’d recommend sticking with a CenturyLink internet self-installation kit. CenturyLink’s hardware is simple to unpack and the provider’s walk-throughs guide you through the entire activation process.

We’d also recommend buying your CenturyLink equipment. At $15 per month, a rental makes sense only if you need internet service for just a few months.

Sign up for CenturyLink internet

CenturyLink installation guide FAQ

How do I activate my CenturyLink internet?

To activate your CenturyLink internet, use the My CenturyLink mobile app or visit the QuickConnect website on a device that’s connected to your modem/Wi-Fi router.

Why can’t I connect to my CenturyLink Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi issues can be caused by a variety of hardware or network issues. To solve common issues, unplug your CenturyLink modem/router for 15 seconds before plugging it back in. Also, make sure you’re entering the correct network name and password, which can be found on your Centurylink router’s bottom.

If you’re still having problems with your router/modem, it might be time to reach out to CenturyLink customer service.

Do I need a phone jack for CenturyLink internet?

CenturyLink’s DSL modems need a phone jack in order to connect to the internet. Your modem will come with a green phone cable that connects to the wall jack.

Can I use my own router with CenturyLink?

CenturyLink primarily offers combo Wi-Fi router/modems, but you can still use any wireless router by connecting it to the white WAN port on the back of your CenturyLink device.

Is CenturyLink DSL or cable?

CenturyLink is primarily a broadband DSL internet provider that also offers fiber internet coverage.

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