Do I Need a Router with CenturyLink Modem?

For a stable internet connection, yes – you will need to use a router with your CenturyLink modem. There are several routers you can use, with the CenturyLink website listing compatible models.

If you have a working internet connection in your home or office, there are two pieces of hardware you will consider as essential – a router and a modem. While you automatically get both when signing up and installing your internet plan, you may wonder if you can use the modem without a router or not.


Using your own router with CenturyLink modem

Before knowing if you can use your own router, it is important to know the router types they give their users when signing up for an internet plan.

The company gives out two types of routers depending on the connection type you are using. This is either a fiber or a DSL router, with both coming for free. However, keep in mind that you will need to pay about $15 monthly if you want to lease an additional Wi-Fi router.

Some factors to keep in mind when choosing a router for a CenturyLink modem are:

DSL technology

The more recent the DSL technology you are getting in the router, the better and faster your internet connections will be. While considering the DSL technology, ensure you find out the specific DSL technology that is in your local area and internet lines.

There are several categories of DSL technologies in use, and their maximum speeds will determine the technology you select. These categories are:

  • ADSL – maximum speed of 7 Mbps
  • ADSL2+ – maximum speed of 20 Mbps
  • Bonded ADSL2+ – maximum speed of 25 Mbps
  • VDSL2 – maximum speed of 80 Mbps
  • Bonded VDSL2 – maximum speed of 100 Mbps
  • GPON – maximum speed of 1000 Mbps

Wireless capability

In the past, wireless routers and DSL devices were two separate devices, but now with the advancement of connectivity systems, these have merged into one device. Therefore, most routers will be classified as either 2.4GHz or 5GHz in their Wi-Fi speed.

The main difference between the two is that 2.4GHz routers are slower in speed but have wider connection ranges and are more stable, while 5GHz routers have shorter connection ranges but faster speeds.

If you want to boost the speed of your internet connections, the easiest way is to choose routers that have at least 802.11ac capabilities, because they can broadcast the wireless signals across a longer range.


How you can know if you need a modem or a router

If you are planning on connecting multiple devices to the internet or you want to use Wi-Fi, you will require both a router and a modem. This is because many modems only have one LAN Ethernet port, so this means you can only connect one computer at a time, and the disadvantage is that you will not get the same levels of online security that routers provide. On the other hand, a modem is a better option if you only have one device in your home that you plan to use for internet access through an Ethernet cable.

Some cases will work best if you have a separate router and separate modem setup, and they are:

  • If you need ISP support and that is the only option available – Some Internet Service Providers lack support for combined router-modem models, so in this case you may need to use a separate modem that the ISP provides.
  • If you want freedom of placement – In some cases, it is more convenient to have both router and modem functionalities in one device, while in other cases it is more freeing to have separate devices as they give you more placement adjustments. An instance would be if you want to position the modem in a closet without interfering with the wireless access points in your home, so a standalone router and standalone modem can work.
  • The features you want – Using a standalone router and modem provides you with better and more features compared to combined models. These can include advanced routing settings, VPN access, or hardware sharing; if these functions are highly important to you, it is better to go for separate router-combo setups.
  • Performance considerations – If your router stops working one day, having a separate modem allows you to still access the internet. However, in a combined router-modem model, loss of internet access means you are out until the model is repaired.


Differences between routers and modems

Even though these two components perform similar functions and are within the same unit in many cases, they are distinct from each other and perform different functions, which we will discuss below.

Connects your devices to a Wi-Fi network or LAN (local area network) to allow wireless connections across your devices
Connects you to the internet directly, or WAN (wide area network)
Distributes IP addresses to all your devices in your network by creating a local network and allowing you to manage the settings such as prioritizing certain devices
Receives analog signals from your ISP and translates them into digital signals that your devices can understand and use for communication over internet networks
Most have several Ethernet ports to allow direct Ethernet connections to the internet through cables
Most have a maximum of three ports – one connecting to a router, one for an internet connection, and another for the power source


With all this in mind, setting up an internet connection is quite easy with CenturyLink and other internet service providers, as you will not need to get separate routers and modems. Instead, you can install a device that combines the functions of both, which are widely available.



Is it possible for a modem to work without a router?

Not optimally. Although the modem can give internet access with or without the router, it always helps to use both when you want to make the most of your internet connection.

Is it a better choice to get a router and modem from CenturyLink compared to using my own?

Yes, it is always an easier and more efficient choice to source your internet connection equipment from your ISP. However, if you still want to stick to your choices, take some time to look for a router that is compatible with your CenturyLink modem and gives you the speeds that you want.

How fast should my internet connection be when using CenturyLink?

This will depend on your internet plan. If your internet usage is in a household with few devices and users accessing the internet, a basic plan of 15 to 20 Mbps is sufficient. There are higher speed plans that cater to households with more devices though, such as the Price for Life plan with 100 Mbps maximum speeds.

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