8 Best CenturyLink Modems: Your Buyer’s Guide

centurylink modem

CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States, and it offers Internet services at a wide variety of speeds.

The company has merged with smaller companies like Qwest and Embarq, and accordingly, offers either VDSL, ADSL, or fiber across all fifty states.

But no matter which service you use, this massive ISP acts like renting network equipment is still the norm. What they don’t tell their customers (and honestly should) is that it is both easy and inexpensive to replace their rental gear with your own 2-in-1 unit.

The average cost of a combo unit that serves as both a DSL modem and router is about $100. If you instead pay a rental fee of $10 per month, you’ll be overpaying in under than a year.

Setting up a new DSL modem is easy, too. All you have to do is plug your modem/router into the DSL line, switch it on, and open a web browser to automatically start the process.

As for getting rid of your rental equipment, you simply call and ask for a pre-paid shipping label to return your rented gateway.

You can reference the CenturyLink Modem Compatibility Table to get you started with a selection and tried and tested options.

However, judging by the number of approved products that are no longer manufactured, CenturyLink hasn’t updated this list in almost decade.

That’s why we did the hard work for you and researched the ten best gateways for CenturyLink DSL.

Be mindful that whether you are on VDSL2 or legacy ADSL depends on which service is provided locally, and will be a determining factor in which modems will work for you.

If you are on CenturyLink fiber, you will need a special optical network terminal (ONT), which will be provided for you. In this case, you are best off simply purchasing one of the best AC routers instead.

Whichever option you need, you’ll find it among our top picks, which have been selected for their combination of performance, features, and value.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

What Are the Best CenturyLink Modems in 2018?

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  • ADSL2/2+ backwards compatible
  • 4 port switch and phone support
  • WPS button
Price: $68.52 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • Dual-band wireless
  • USB support with cloud service
  • ADSL2/2+ backwards compatible
Price: $479.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • 2 USB ports
  • Dual-band wireless
  • DSL line filter
Price: $442.28 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • MIMO antenna
  • WPS button
  • Cheap
Price: $119.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • Cheap
  • Solid range
  • Low power consumption
Price: $66.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • ADSL2/2+ backwards compatible
  • WPS button
  • Easy tech support
Price: $169.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • Solid range
  • Cheap
  • DSL line filter
Price: $129.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
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  • Solid range
  • Phone port
  • Compact
Price: $69.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 2. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Modem Router D7000-100NAS

    Pros:
    • Dual-band AC1900 wireless provides great range
    • USB support with cloud service
    • VDSL2 compatible and ADSL2/2+ backwards compatible
    Cons:
    • High price tag
    • DSL filter required for telephone services
    • Does not work with bonded VDSL

    The Nighthawk series is Netgear’s fastest and most angular. Their D7000-100NAS represents the top of the line performance you can expect from a compatible CenturyLink modem router combo.

    Though this device is not on the CenturyLink approved list, it has been confirmed by many users to work fine on even the fastest CenturyLink networks. Just make sure that your service isn’t on a bonded VDSL line.

    This router supports VDSL2 while remaining backwards compatible with ADSL2/2+ service. Its dual-band AC1900 wireless speeds far exceed the possible transfer speeds of either protocol, though, so there is no need to worry about performance with this behemoth.

    Netgear’s proprietary Beamforming+ technology also helps deliver the best wireless coverage throughout your home.

    You’ll have a strong wireless connection pretty much everywhere but inside your fridge.

    The Nighthawk D7000 has a USB 3.0 port to connect a NAS device, which can also be synced with the ReadyCloud service.

    This router even supports OpenVPN for easy remote access.

    If you can look past the Nighthawk D7000’s hefty price tag, you will be able to set aside any worries about wireless speed or coverage. And if you use the Internet as much as I do, it is well worth the cost.

  2. 4. Linksys X2000 Wireless Modem Router

    Pros:
    • N300 wireless with MIMO antenna provides solid range
    • WPS button for easily connecting new devices
    • Low price tag
    Cons:
    • No USB port
    • Non-gigabit ethernet ports
    • Not compatible with VDSL

    You may have noticed by now, but if you have the misfortune of being stuck with an ADSL2+ Internet connection, your wireless gateway’s range is far more important than its speed.

    This is because your service acts as a bottleneck, hence why those who live in smaller homes might prefer the Linksys X2000 over our slightly more robust suggestions from Netgear.

    This modem/router combo delivers more middle of the road wireless range, and can easily be found for under $100.

    The X2000 has a built-in N300 router, which is on par with what a majority of ISPs will provide you as rental gear. Its range is nicely boosted thanks to an embedded MIMO antenna.

    The modem portion of this device isn’t compatible with VDSL, so speed won’t be much of a concern. After all, ADSL services max out at 24 Mbps, well before your router will have to break a sweat.

    Wired connections will be on the slower side as well, as the X2000’s three ethernet ports are fast ethernet rather than gigabit.

    This gateway does not have a USB port either, so don’t count on being able to easily network a hard drive.

    Ultimately, the most appealing element of this modem/router is its price tag. Its feature set still offers plenty for the casual user, so despite not having some more premium features, the X2000 is still a worthy pick.

  3. 5. TRENDnet AC750 Wireless TEW-816DRM Modem Router

    Pros:
    • Low price tag
    • AC750 wireless provides solid range
    • Reduced power consumption
    Cons:
    • Not compatible with VDSL
    • Non-gigabit ethernet ports
    • DSL filter required for telephone services

    TRENDnet’s TEW-722BRM modem/router is a fairly straightforward take on an ADSL2+ gateway that gets the job done for cheap.

    This device is both a modem for mid-to-low tier CenturyLink connections and an AC750 router that can support a standard sized home.

    Its wireless network is protected with multiple different encryption options. Standard features like a guest network and parental controls are available as well.

    Setup is fairly easy when you follow the guided setup process, and adding new devices to your network is easy thanks to the included WPS button.

    The TEW-816DRM has four ethernet ports, but they are not gigabit speed. It does not have any USB ports.

    These shortcomings might frustrate users with advanced network setups, but for the price, there is little to complain about.

    This unit even has some nice premium features like Dynamic DNS support and energy-saving GREENnet technology. When it comes down to it, this device proves that you can get some impressive performance out of a $70 wireless gateway.

  4. 6. ZyXEL C1100Z Wireless Gateway

    Pros:
    • VDSL2 compatible and ADSL2/2+ backwards compatible
    • WPS button for easily connecting new devices
    • TR-069 Remote Management offers easy tech support
    Cons:
    • No USB port
    • No auto-connect timeout control
    • Wireless range could be better

    Taiwanese company ZyXEL always provides solidly built and economically costed networking equipment.

    Their C1100Z Wireless Gateway is a CenturyLink-branded modem/router that offers both VDSL2 and ADSL2/2+ support for compatibility in any market.

    This device is designed to automatically detect CenturyLink network setting configurations, making setup a breeze. The C1100Z has a built-in phone jack to connect a handset without issues.

    You also get four ethernet ports, though this device does not have a USB port for NAS use.

    In any case, you will mostly be using this for its wireless functions, and with a potential for higher speeds from a VDSL2 line, this becomes an important matter once again.

    The C1100Z has the output of your average N300 router. N-band wireless is nothing special, but it will provide adequate range and performance as a CenturyLink modem.

    This unit does suffer from one minor issue that you might run into when using this router in an older market, which can cause first-time setup to fail.

    Amazon reviewer John Willis describes the issue in a more technical detail, explaining that an undefined authentication policy can cause your device’s rapid requests to the server to trigger a lockout period.

    Of course, if you’ve set up any networking equipment before, then you know that issues like this are fairly common. It’s rarer to know exactly why it happens.

    Thankfully, the C1100Z is compatible with TR-069 Remote Management, allowing for easy remote problem-solving from CenturyLink when you run into more common issues.

    If you rely on support from your ISP to solve problems you encounter, then you are definitely taking a step in the right direction by purchasing a CenturyLink branded device like the ZyXEL C1100Z or the ActionTec C1000A.

  5. 7. Zoom Telephonics ADSL Modem Router 5790

    Pros:
    • N300 wireless provides decent range
    • Low price tag
    • Included DSL line filter
    Cons:
    • Not compatible with VDSL
    • Non-gigabit ethernet ports
    • Low 24 Mbps maximum downstream speed

    Zoom Telephonics is another reliable networking company that provides networking equipment on a budget. Their 5790 modem/router is available to CenturyLink customers on an ADSL network for under $40.

    This is not compatible with faster VDSL connections, even though its N300 router would perform adequately on either connection. It provides a solid wireless range, but its speed is inhibited by the limitations of this older DSL technology.

    With four ethernet ports (non-gigabit, unfortunately), an included DSL line filter, and standard firewall technology, you should have a pretty solid idea of what this gateway offers without too much elaboration.

    For a CenturyLink modem, this is about as basic as they come. But with an appealingly low price, it is a solid option for anybody stuck in a more dated CenturyLink market.

See Also

Top 5 Best WiFi Boosters of 2018: Which Is Right for You?

11 Best Gigabit Routers: Your Buyer’s Guide

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