Regardless of whether you have CenturyLink Fiber or CenturyLink DSL, you will want the best router for CenturyLink possible.
While CenturyLink offers a router for the cost of $10 a month, you will be better off buying your own compatible router.
Knowing what to look for in a router is essential to having a positive experience online, but you need to know what to look for in a router.
This means you will need to consider the level of performance that you need and the features that would most benefit your network.
We have broken down everything that you need to know about CenturyLink compatible routers.
Benefits Of Having Your Own Router For CenturyLink Fiber
Better Performance & Faster WiFi
Rental routers typically have only mediocre performance levels. They might do well for basic browsing, but most networks now need routers that can help you stream from anywhere within your house.
Faster WiFi is also important, because the quicker that your router can download, the faster your streams will be. Rental routers are not made to give you the best performance possible, because they would be too valuable to rent out.
Save On Rental Fees
We have all been victims to inflation and the continued normalcy of high prices. So, we might think that $10 a month is really the equivalent of two cups of coffee.
Would you rent a modem/router for $120 that you do not get to own and that does not have the features that you really want from your router? You will save yourself money in the long run for purchasing the best router for CenturyLink rather than settling for a rental.
However, make sure that you are buying one of many CenturyLink compatible routers.
Extended Wireless Coverage
Since wireless coverage rides on radio waves, they can only travel as far as the reach of your router. For some, this is not a large concern since they live in smaller places.
For people in larger homes, however, having the right amount of reach from your router can eliminate the risk of dead spots. Rental routers do not come with extended coverage. The range they give you is all you can get.
CenturyLink Fiber vs. DSL Routers Explained
The way that Fiber and DSL work with routers is different.
- Fiber: Fiber utilizes fiber optic cables that run to your house into an ONT box, which is used in place of a modem. Routers connect directly to the ONT.
- DSL: DSL uses telephone lines for coverage. You need a modem to connect to CenturyLink. Your router will connect to the modem to emit WiFi throughout your network. You can also get a modem/router combo.
- Transparent Bridging Mode: Since there are limited modem/router combos for DSL, you can use the CenturyLink modem/router as a gateway with a third-party router for better WiFi speeds. This works through Transparent Bridging Mode.
7 Best Routers For CenturyLink Fiber & DSL (2021)
1. Motorola MR2600
2. Netgear R8000
3. Medialink AC1200
4. Gryphon AC3000
5. Motorola MD1600
DSL Modem Router
6. Asus RT-AX3000
7. TP-Link Archer A9
1. Motorola MR2600 Smart WiFi Router
Best Router For CenturyLink Fiber (Editor's Choice)
If you have decided to use your own router with CenturyLink, rather than use the one that the ISP will try to rent to you, it is important that you use the best router for CenturyLink that you can find. After careful research, we have found that the best router is the Motorola MR2600.
The design of the Motorola MR2600 is what you would expect from the average modern router. It is the standard black color and it does sit horizontally on whatever surface that you decide to set it on.
But, the router comes with four powerful antennas that help to extend both the power and the reach of your router. The antennas can be moved as well to help you focus on certain areas of your network. The only unfortunate thing is that the router does take up a lot of room both horizontally and vertically.
The MR2600 also comes with four 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports. These are great for plugging in your computer, a gaming console, or even your HDTV. When you plug in your device to your router, you will get a more direct connection.
Looking at the speeds that you can expect from this router, you will see that it can reach up to 800 Mbps. While there might be other routers that boast faster speeds, the 800 Mbps limit is far more than the average CenturyLink account can provide. 800 Mbps should service you well without causing a problem.
Another great performance feature that you will get from the MR2600 is that it has Wave 2 MU-MIMO technology available.
MU-MIMO is a great choice if you or anyone within your network does any amount of online gaming, since it will allow for multiple users to be on at the same time without suffering from any lags. It also has 4K streaming capabilities, so you know that you are going to get only the best quality from this router as far as connection and expected speed go.
The signal strength of the MR2600 is improved upon with the built-in Beamforming technology. The Beamforming will boost your router’s overall signal strength, helping it overcome walls or obstacles in your home to still reach its final destination.
2. Netgear Nighthawk R8000 Smart WiFi Router
If you are looking for a high performance router to go with your CenturyLink internet, regardless of whether you have DSL or fiber, we suggest the Netgear Nighthawk R8000P.
This is a high-speed router with a lot of great features that build it up to being a top performer.
Looking at the design of the R8000P, you might notice that it looks slightly different than other routers. It does sit horizontally, like most routers do, but there are six external antennas that are coming out of it. You can point the antennas in the directions that you prefer.
The R8000P uses both Connect and Circle App parental controls to help you to pause internet access by device, view site history, and filter websites.
The settings for the parental controls cannot be configured through the app, however, so you will need to be done on a computer instead. These benefits are included with the router at no additional charge. You can also set time limits.
Looking at the R8000P’s performance, the router has MU-MIMO technology, so it will ensure that you do not suffer any lag when streaming or gaming due to another device hopping on to do the same. It will allow you to stream without interruptions, interference, or delays. This is ideal for a network that streams a lot.
Generally speaking, the performance of the R8000P is excellent, because it supports up to 55 devices, which is perfect for the modern smart home. The coverage works over three bands to give you a combined total of 4,000 Mbps, which should give you a lot of speed to work with.
3. Medialink AC1200 Gigabit Wireless Router
You can still get a quality router for CenturyLink when you are on a budget. If you are watching your funds, we recommend the Medialink AC1200.
This Medialink is black with two high gain antennas. The router is horizontal. The bright lights of the router are one of the best selling features of the design, but not because they are easily seen, but because they can be turned off so as to not annoy you in a darkened room.
The parental controls that come with this router allow you to limit the amount of time that your children can be online, by limited specific devices. You can also set it to only work on certain days or times to keep your children’s screen time down.
This router has an easy to set up and there is a good amount of support offered by the company itself if you are having any trouble, so you can call or chat with them for more help.
Do not let the price fool you. Even though this is a budget friendly router, it does have good performance.
This Medialink router boasts Gigabit ports that can provide 1000Mbps with 4K video streaming. Because it does not have QoS or MU-MIMO available, it will not work as well if too many devices are trying to stream at the same time, however.
This router has good range, because it has Beamforming and 2 high powered antennas, the coverage should reach the entirety of the average-sized network. The antennas can also be moved to point in the direction of the devices that require the strongest signal.
4. Gryphon AC3000 Mesh WiFi Router
Some networks require more wireless coverage than you can get from a basic router. If this sounds like you, you should take a look at the Gryphon AC3000. This is an entirely unique router that might take you by surprise.
Instead of the traditional black casing, the Gryphon is white with a tower design. This might help it blend in easier with your home décor. Inside of the router, there are six high-powered internal antennas that should be able to reach anywhere within your network.
The Gryphon router has an easy smartphone app that helps with parental controls. These features let you filter control, screen allowed time, and even times of day that it will be available to get onto.
It does not allow you to block specific access, however, if you needed to block certain types of content from devices that are connected to the network.
The Gryphon reaches up to 3,000 square feet in coverage. This router also works like a mesh system, so you can add extra wireless points to further increase the size of your coverage if you needed to.
When you buy this, you will only get the one WiFi point, but the more Gryphons you have, the further your coverage will go.
The throughput for the Gryphon router is up to 3 Gbps, utilizing its simultaneous tri-band radios. It does have one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands to work with, keeping your download speeds incredibly fast.
It has 4x4 MU-MIMO and antenna Beamforming, which improves the overall coverage and does help explain that impressive 3,000 square feet in coverage. It can handle more than one device streaming at the same time.
5. Motorola MD1600 DSL Modem Router
Best Modem Router Combo For CenturyLink DSL
Finally, if you have CenturyLink DSL and are aiming to get a modem/router combo unit, we have you covered. The best modem/router combo is the Motorola MD1600.
The MD1600 is a well-designed device, standing tall rather than lying flat. It makes it much easier to conceal and also easier to keep cool.
The Motorola MD1600 was designed with security in mind, including a wireless security that will keep any malware from hopping along your network and harming your devices. The security includes WPA/WPA2 security that has been built into the router itself.
The MD1600 comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports, which will allow you to plug in any device that needs a reliable and uninterrupted connection rather than a wireless transmission. This is especially important if you are streaming HD videos or gaming online.
Taking a look at the performance of the device, the MD1600 is made to handle high speeds, including gaming and streaming. You can either wire in your devices directly to the modem/router combo, or use them wirelessly.
The MD1600 delivers internet speeds up to 100 Mbps, depending on the speed of your internet service to your home. It is made to offer high speeds to all wireless devices within your network as well, whether it is an HDTV, gaming system, or even just a standard laptop.
The MD1600 has incredibly easy setup wizard that can get you up and going without causing you a headache in the process. Setting up a new piece of technology is always frustrating, so it is nice to see that you should be able to get through this one unscathed.
6. ASUS RT-AX3000 WiFi Router
This is a powerful router that comes with excellent range, great speeds, and even has a USB 3.1 port to work with.
If we take a look at its design, the first thing you will see about the ASUS RT-AX3000 is its size. It is a huge router and will need ample room to ensure that it does not overheat.
It is designed at an angle to help prevent overheating, but you should still keep it in a ventilated location if possible. Appearance-wise, the ASUS RT-AX3000 has the standard black casing with triangular vents and four antennas help to extend its reach.
Like we mentioned above, the RT-AX3000 has a high-speed USB 3.1 port, which provides easy and fast share across the network.
The RT-AX3000 also comes with mobile app support as well as four Gigabit Ethernet ports. Combined with the commercial-grade network security, including AiProtection Pro, and you will find that the router is able to protect your network against any malware as well.
The RT-AX3000 can support speeds up to 3,000 Mbps, but the actual speeds that you get will depend on your speed package with CenturyLink. Even so, the router should make the most of the speed package that you do have.
Also, the ASUS RT-AX3000 has 4K streaming, which is great for online gamers or people who like to stream movies regularly. It does have AiMesh capability as well, so if you want to extend the reach of the router, you can by adding on additional points.
7. TP-Link Archer A9 WiFi Router
Another wonderful router choice for CenturyLink is the AP-Link Archer A9. This is a high performance router that manages to not break the bank.
Starting with its design the Archer A9 is not your typical router. While it does have three antennas, the black casing, and a horizontal design, that is where the common design elements end. The appearance of it is unusual in that it is so large and blocky, making it take up a lot of room.
The Archer A9 comes with four 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as a USB 2.0 port. The four Ethernet ports on the Archer A9 will let you hardwire any device that you do not want to travel over the wireless connection.
The USB 2.0 port is perfect for sharing a printer within your network, or will also work to support a storage device that could be shared throughout the network. Security features of the Archer A9 include a VPN server, a guest network, and parental controls, keeping your network protected.
The performance of the Archer A9 is excellent for a router that is so inexpensive. It can reach speeds up to 1900 Mbps, but the actual speed that you get will depend greatly on the speed package that you have with CenturyLink.
The Archer A9 can reach up to 2,000 square feet. If you keep your home free of obstacles, your Wi-Fi should be able to travel as unobstructed as possible to reach all of the devices that really need it.
Other features with this router include Beamforming technology, which helps hone in your signal, and MU-MIMO technology, which allows multiple users to stream at the same time.
What The Difference Between CenturyLink Fiber vs CenturyLink DSL
While both CenturyLink Fiber and CenturyLink DSL are CenturyLink, they are not the same type of internet and do not require the same kind of hardware. CenturyLink DSL uses phone lines to hook up your internet.
The internet comes into a modem in your home through the phone jack. If you want wireless internet, you will want a router that is either built-into the modem, or separate.
Meanwhile, fiber internet relies on fiber optic cables that are laid in-ground separately from phone lines. The fiber optic cables will run directly to your house and end at an ONT box.
This is used in place of a modem and a router will connect to it. There is no modem with fiber.
Things To Consider When Buying CenturyLink Compatible Routers
Do You Have CenturyLink Fiber Or DSL?
Even though both Fiber and DSL operate through CenturyLink, the same routers will not work for you. CenturyLink Fiber only requires a router to connect to the ONT box for wireless coverage.
DSL needs both a modem and a router for service, so you might want to get a combo unit if you can. Your modem will need to be compatible with CenturyLink if you have DSL.
Number Of Connected Devices
Another factor to think about is how many devices that you have connected to your router. If you only have one or two devices, it will not make a big difference since your router is unlikely to become overwhelmed.
Meanwhile, if you have a smart home with a lot of wireless device, you need to make sure that you have the best WiFi router for CenturyLink for homes with a lot of devices.
WiFi Standards (AC vs. AD vs. AX Routers)
You also will need to consider the WiFi standard that comes with your router. The current standard is the 802.11ac, which uses the 5 GHz band exclusively.
The 802.11ad standard delivers fast WiFi speeds over a shorter distance, while the 802.11ax router standard is faster than the 802.11ac is. The ax band offers the MU-MIMO technology and is compatible with the previous WiFi standards. The 802.11ad does not allow backward compatibility.
Without a doubt, the best router for CenturyLink is the Motorola MR2600. This is a high-speed router with reliable performance, offering speeds up to 1.9 Gbps, and that can allow up to 15 connected devices at a time.
While 15 devices should be appropriate for many networks, if you need extended coverage, we suggest the Gryphon router that can be extended through a mesh system.
Or, if you have CenturyLink DSL and are looking for a combo unit, the Motorola MD1600 might be the best router choice for you.
Consider your network’s needs for performance and features, and choose wisely.
Hey, it’s James here. I’m the founder and editor here at RiverstoneNet.com. I’m a network engineer during the day and a blogger at night. Let me know if I can help you with choosing a new modem/router or troubleshooting your Internet connection.