When you initially sign up for CenturyLink DSL services, they will offer to rent you one of their wireless routers for a monthly fee. What they don’t tell you is that you could save an average of $120 per year from your CenturyLink bill by purchasing your own wireless router.
With the rising cost of internet, CenturyLink customers are looking for ways to save money wherever possible. Luckly, there is one common hack that can shave money off of your bill each and every month. CenturyLink DSL services can be activated using your own modem and router setup. By using their own router with your CenturyLink internet, customers are saving $10 or more per month in rental fees.
Knowing that they are essentially losing money with every customer who own their devices, internet service providers tend to hide or omit their list of approved third-party wireless routers and modems. When you do finally find their list of devices, it is often outdated or incomplete, making it impossible to choose the best wireless routers for your needs..
Whether you’re new to CenturyLink or just looking to save on your current plan, we’re here to walk you through the top routers for CenturyLink DSL internet.
|Model||Speed||Bands||Number of Ports||Price|
|Zyxel C1100Z||Up to 300 Mbps||2 (Dual-band)||4||Check price|
|Netgear Nighthawk C7000||Up to 1.9 Gbps||2 (Dual-band)||4||Check price|
|Netgear Nighthawk R7000||Up to 1.3 Gbps||2 (Dual-band)||4||Check price|
|CenturyLink Actiontec C1000A||Up to 80 Mbps||2 (Dual-band)||4||Check price|
Why Should I Buy My Own Router?
Not only will you save money, but having your own modem can greatly improve speeds and increase connection reliability. According to Lifehacker, having an old, outdated router or modem could be the cause of slow internet speeds. This happens when older equipment is unable to handle CenturyLink’s new technology. You internet speeds could be capped at your current equipment’s capacity instead of the speeds you’re paying for.
Some customers choose to buy their own routers because the CenturyLink provided routers aren’t as reliable as they should be. If you’re constantly having to unplug and reset your routers to restore an establish connection, it may be time to get a new wireless router.
Because CenturyLink leases routers to the majority of their customers, chances are you’re not going to receive a new unit. Rental units are often standardized, meaning everyone usually gets the same equipment regardless of the number of users in the home, floorplan, and other factors that affect connectivity and speed.
Buying your own wireless router means you have the option to choose a device with the features most important to your family and best suited for your home.
Best Overall - Our Pick: ZyXel C1100Z (Modem/Router)
This is hands down the best CenturyLink router when it comes to overall performance, features, and pricing. ZyXel is one of CenturyLink’s branded modem/router manufacturers. So, you can be sure that a ZyXel C1100Z is one of the best routers for CenturyLink DSL services.
This is an N300 routers so it can maintain download speeds of up to 300 Mbps. It has 4 ethernet ports for hardwiring connections and is compatible with all internet speeds currently offered by CenturyLink. Being an N router, itss range is a little limited. Note that, regardless of where you purchase, warranty claims must be submitted through ZyXel.
Buyers choose this CenturyLink modem and router combo because of its affordability and easy setup process. Just connect your DSL cable, the power cable, and go!
Fastest Option: Netgear Nighthawk C7000 (Modem/Router)
Need a reliable connection with lightning fast speeds? This router is perfect for extreme gaming and binge-watching. Because it is an AC router, it has one of the best speeds for long range surfing.
Obviously, a sophisticated, high-speed router isn’t as easy to configure as a standard router. Buyers have reported a complicated backend, making it difficult to customize router settings. You need the Netgear Genie app to update and change network settings.
Stream a Lot? Netgear Nighthawk R7000 (Router Only)
If you have already purchase your own CenturyLink DSL modem and just need to give your WiFi a boost, try the Netgear Nighthawk R7000. This powerful wireless router boasts download speeds of up to 1300 Mbps. As an AC router, this modem is able to maintain those speeds at long ranges.
This modem is perfect for large families that love to stream, play online games, and download and upload various types of media at the same time. The Nighthawk R7000 has a 1GHz processor to keep multiple devices connected without throttling or buffering.
For added security, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 supports dual bands and also comes with Circle with Disney for smart parental controls.
Like the C7000, the R7000 isn’t as easy to configure as a standard router. The complicated backend once again makes it difficult to customize router settings. You will also need the Netgear Genie app to update and change network settings.
Budget Pick: CenturyLink ActionTec C1000A (Modem/Router)
Another modem/router manufactured specifically for CenturyLink, the ActionTec C1000A is a favorite among DSL customers. This N router has a 32-bit dual-core processor to keep your home’s devices connected at full strength. The CenturyLink Actiontec C1000A supports VDSL2 and ADSL2/2+ so it can be used with old and new CenturyLink wireless internet plans.
What this router boasts in reliability, it lacks in speed. This modem/router can only hand CenturyLink internet speeds up to 80Mbps. This may be okay for the average internet user, but will cause problems for those who enjoy online gaming or have multiple devices surfing at the same time. It also has a short range which causes most customers to buy a Wi-Fi range extender to use alongside this modem/router.
Features to Look For When Buying A Wireless Router
Wireless G vs. N vs. AC
When you’re browsing for the top wireless router available either online or in your favorite tech store, you may notice the letters A, B, G, N, or AC near the router’s model number. These letters can instantly tell you a lot about the router’s capabilities without ever having to read the box.
Wireless-A and Wireless-B routers were released in 1999 and is, therefore, the oldest 802.11 technology still working with today’s providers. Wireless-G routers came into play in 2002. However, these routers are virtually unseen due to their unbearably slow speeds. Wireless-B routers have a speed limit of 11 Mbps, while Wireless-A routers are limited to 54 Mbps.
Let’s put those speeds into perspective. At top speeds, 11 Mbps is just fast enough to allow 2 people to stream HD Netflix shows at the same time. If a third person decides to check their email, those Netflix shows will start to buffer.
Wireless-N routers are one of the most common. These routers are said to have speeds between 72 and 600 Mbps. However, they are known for losing signal strength the further devices move away from the router. These are best for apartments and smaller homes when placed in a central location.
Wireless-AC are also common and known for top performance at long ranges. While there is a debate as to whether AC routers are any faster than N routers, AC routers have been known to reach speeds up to 1.4 Gbps according to Intel.
The type of router you choose will determine how strong your wireless signal will be at different ranges. While N routers are said to be more reliable, AC routers have wider ranges for connectivity, making them the best choice for larger homes.
A standard WiFi setups consists of a modem to establish a connection and a router to transmit the signal to devices. Nowadays, you’re likely to find these two components combined into one device, often saving customers both money and frustration from complicated configurations and setup.
Depending on the equipment you choose, it may be cheaper to buy a modem/router combo device. If you already own a DSL modem or router, you may come out better purchasing the missing component to upgrade your current internet configuration. Whatever you choose, if you’re planning to keep CenturyLink services for more than a year, your new wireless router and modem will pay for itself.
Are you a family of hardcore gamers? Or are you simply looking to browse to Facebook at the end of the day to connect with friends and family? How you and your family will use your internet service will also be a factor in choosing your new CenturyLink router. Before making your purchase, you’ll want to decide whether you need faster speeds, wider ranges, or even the ability to connect a large number of devices.
If you’re ready to take control of your cable bill, buying your own CenturyLink router is a vital first step. With the money you’ll save every month, your new router could pay for itself in as little as 6 months.