Best Windstream Approved Modems in 2021

This is a list of the best compatible modem for Windstream internet in 2021. 

Windstream Compatible Modems

Finding Windstream approved modems is hard, the specifications are not clear and few resources are correct.

As a Network Engineer, I have been in contact with Windstream and performed extensive research to figure out the best Windstream compatible modems for your home. 

And I found that CenturyLink Prism C2100T is the best overall option. 

But everyone has different internet needs. So, therefore, I have put together this list of the best modems for your home’s Windstream internet.

Let’s get started. 

Best Windstream Compatible Modems

  1. CenturyLink Prism C2100T (Editors Choice)
  2. CenturyLink C3000A (Best Performer
  3. Actiontec C2000A (Budget Option)
  4. Actiontec CenturyLink C1900A (Best Value)
  5. ZyXEL C3000Z CenturyLink (Strongest Signal) 

Top 5 Approved Windstream Modems

Here are the top 5 best modems that work with Windstream Internet. 

#1 CenturyLink Prism C2100T (Editors Choice)

  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Advertised speed: 300 Mbps
  • Recommended for speed: 200 Mbps or below
  • GHz Options: Both 2.4 & 5GHz
  • Warranty: 30 days return policy
  • Chosen as: Best Overall 

As the model name suggests this is a Centurylink modem, but it will still work great for Windstream internet. As the two providers have the same type of network infrastructure. 

The router in the modem uses 802.11n internet protocol which allows a maximum download speed of 300 Mbps. This, however, is not the real speed, which instead will be around 200 Mbits. The speed is good and will be enough for most Windstream customers. [1]

It also has the option of switching between 2.4 & 5GHz. This is good because 2.4GHz is a better option for a longer signal range. While 5GHz gets less interference, faster speed, but shorter range. You can pick the one that’s best for your home. 

The only con with this modem is that it begins to approach the end-of-life phase, which means it’s getting old. Still, it will most likely work years to come. 




#2 CenturyLink C3000A (Best Performer)

  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Advertised speed: 1300 Mbps
  • Recommended for speed: 1000 Mbps or below
  • GHz Options: Both 2.4 & 5GHZ
  • Warranty: 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Chosen as: Best Performer

This is the modem that the Windstream support recommends. Except, the one they recommend has a Windstream logo. Otherwise, it’s the same modem. 

The router uses the 802.11ac which is an internet protocol that supports and a max speed of 1300 Mbps. This translates to a real speed of around 1000 Mbps. So this modem is for people with fast internet or someone who wants to future proof their router. 

It also has a long-range and thus works great for larger homes. This modem is perfect for any gamer out there.

The router also has both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. This is good because 5GHz provides faster internet but shorter range, while 2.4GHz has longer-range but slower speed. Allowing you to pick the best for your home. 

The biggest con is that it is more pricey, but if you have fast internet I would say it’s worth the money. 




#3 Actiontec C2000A (Budget Option)

  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Advertised speed: 54 Mbp
  • Recommended for speed: 40 Mbps or below
  • GHz Options: 2.4GHz
  • Warranty: 30 days return policy
  • Chosen as: Budget Option

This is the best budget option for Windstream compatible modems for people who don’t need a fast modem. 

The router uses 802.11bgn which supports a maximum speed of 54 Mbits, which in practice becomes around 40 Mbits. It also has a decent range of around 110 to 130 feet (depending on the surrounding).

It only supports 2.4GHz which can be a problem if it is surrounded by a lot of interference. Such as household electronics and other modems and routers.

Some people also have reported problems with it emitting a high-pitched whine. So it’s not recommended to keep it in your bedroom.




#4 Actiontec CenturyLink C1900A (Best Value)

  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Advertised speed: 300 Mbps
  • Recommended for speed: 200 Mbps or below
  • GHz Options: 2.4GHz
  • Warranty: 30 days return policy
  • Chosen as: Best Value for Money

The C1900A modem is very much like the first modem on this list. Except it’s cheaper but does not support 5GHz. 

This is a loss because 5GHz is great if you are in a signal noisy environment. Because 2.4GHz is the standard frequency for nearly all electric devices. Thus, the router signal can get interfered with and weakened. [2]

The router uses 802.11n internet protocol which supports good max speeds of around 300 Mbits, which in reality is around 200 Mbits. Which is a speed that is enough for most. 

Overall it’s a cheaper option that provides a lot of value for the money spent.




#5 ZyXEL C3000Z CenturyLink (Strongest Signal) 

  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Advertised speed: 300 Mbps
  • Recommended for speed: 200 Mbps or below
  • GHz Options: Both 2.4 & 5GHz
  • Warranty: 30 days return policy
  • Chosen as: Strongest Signal

This Windstream modem has a strong wi-fi signal, so it’s perfect for someone with a large home. 

It also supports a max speed of 300 Mbps, which translates to a real speed of around 200 Mbps. Thus, the speed of it is plenty for most. 

Besides, the router also provides both 2.4 and 5GHz. Which allows you to pick the most fitting frequency for your home. 2.4GHz has a longer range but gets more interference. And 5GHz has faster speed but a shorter range. 

One bad thing about this modem is that it’s hard to change the configuration for MAC filtering and USB devices. But most people will not want to do this anyway, as it’s not necessary. 




Modem that works with Windstream

What to Consider Before Buying a Windstream Modem

When selecting the best Windstream compatible modems, you need to consider several things.

Modem or a Router/Modem Combo

A modem/router combo (gateway) is a modem with an inbuilt router. While a separate setup uses two devices. A modem to receive the internet and a router to distribute the internet. 

In general, I recommend most to get separate devices, but when it comes to Windstream approved modems it only exists modem router combos. 

This however does not stop you if you want a specific router. Because you can do something called bridging. This disables the router in the device and makes it work exactly like a standalone modem. Allowing you to connect the router of your choice to it. [3]

This is not necessary for most, but if you have a large home and need a strong Wi-Fi signal it can be an option.

Home Size & Devices Connected

The second thing to consider before you choose your modem for Windstream is how large your home is and many devices with internet access you have.

This is not necessary if you plan to bridge your modem. But if you are going to buy a modem-router combo then you need to consider this. 

The larger home you have and the more devices the stronger the Wi-Fi signal is necessary. Thus you need a more powerful modem/router. 

Internet Plan

Another thing to consider is your internet plan. Get something that supports your plan’s speed. 

Otherwise, it will become a bottleneck for your internet connection. Also, note that the advertised speed is not the real-world speed. So you need a device that is a bit higher than your internet plan speed. 

Compatible with Windstream

This is nothing you need to think about if you choose any of the gateways listed above. But if you want some other one you need to make sure it is a Windstream compatible modem, otherwise it will not work. Most Internet Service Providers have a list of devices that work on their internet, but not Windstream. 

For a modem to be a Windstream compatible modem it needs to be a bonded DSL modem. This means that it has two DSL connections that intertwine with each other. To see that it is bonded look at two lights that either say DLS 1 and DSL 2 or Tel 1 and Tel 2 on it. [4]

Few modems are made for Windstream. But since Centurylink has such a similar network infrastructure they have plenty of modems that work with Windstream. Therefore, I have recommended some of Centurylink’s devices. 

Tel 1 and Tel 2

Buy Vs. Rent a Windstream Modem

The price to rent a modem and router combo from Windstream is $9.99 for the standard device. And $11.99 if you want an enhanced option. This adds up to either $119.88 per year for the standard option or $143.88 per year for the enhanced option. Easily enough to buy yourself a new device every year. [5]

Thus, in the case of Windstream, I recommend people to buy their own devices. But there should be said that there are some cons to this. Like the lack of tech support or free replacements. 

If you heisted on what to do, then check out Buying vs Renting Your Modem & Router. This goes into more detail about the pros and cons of each option. Just keep in mind that I’m somewhat biased towards buying since I make a commission if you buy it.

But with all honestly, I think the benefits overshadow the potential downsides for most people. Below you can learn about some of the main benefits.

The Benefit of Getting a Windstream Compatible Modem

There are many benefits to getting a third-party modem to your internet, here are the main ones. 

Eliminate Rental Fees

Like mentioned earlier, you save between $119.88 and $143.88 per year in rental fees if you stop renting. This means that a third-party modem will pay-off itself in everything from a couple of months to a year (depending on what you buy). 

Faster Internet Speed

Windstream does offer an enhanced option for people renting their modem which is better than most other ISPs. But even their better option is still not as good as many out there. Getting a modem will allow for faster internet speeds in your home. 

More Network Control

Renting from Windstream comes with many restrictions. Buying a third-party modem will allow for more control over your network. Like adding parenting controls, a guest network, or a VPN. Things that your rented device sometimes doesn’t allow.

Increased Security

To compete with rented modem and router, third-party hardware always tries to keep an edge. Therefore, they are in general more secure than rented options. Because the firmware is constantly updated to keep up with cyber threats.

How to install a Windstream Modem

This is how you set up your Windstream compatible modem.

  1. First, make sure your ISP has activated your internet plan. Otherwise, you will not know if your internet works or not. 
  2. Second, check so you have all the internet equipment. This depends on what you have bought. But for a separate modem and router, you need a power cord, an ethernet cable, and maybe a DLS filter or two, as well as the two devices of course.
  3. Pick a good location. As centralized and high up as possible, also try to keep the surrounding free from obstacles. 
  4. Then follow the instruction manual which comes with your device. If you don’t have one, then check out my guide on how to install a modem. 

Windstream also has a video of their own which shows how to set up their modem. Others can be set up nearly exactly like that as well. Check it out below.

FAQ

Here are some common questions about buying a modem for Windstream that many people have.

Can I purchase Modems and Routers from Windstream?

No, you can’t. They only offer you to rent their devices. 

How to Reset a Windstream Modem?

Like any other, press the little button on the back with a needle or a toothpick for 5 seconds. This will factory reset your device. For a more detailed guide, click here.

My Windstream internet feels slow. Am I getting what I’m paying for?

There could be many things slowing down your internet so it’s hard to tell. I would recommend checking out this guide on how to increase your internet speed. If you follow it and nothing works, call Windstream and ask. 

What is Windstream DSL internet?

DLS internet uses your phone line to provide you with internet access. It is generally slower than cable and fiber but is readily available in most areas since it uses the phone infrastructure. This is the internet that most Windstream customers have.

What is Windstream Fiber Internet?

Fiber internet uses fiber optic cables to provide you with internet access. It is the fastest type of internet but is more expensive and isn’t available in most areas. Windstream has in the last couple of years invested in Fiber, calling it Kinetic internet. Windstream fiber does not require a modem. [6]

What is Windstream Cable internet?

Cable internet uses your coax cables as its means of providing internet access. Using the same infrastructure as your television uses. It’s generally faster than DLS but slower than fiber. Windstream does not offer this kind of internet so make sure you don’t get a cable modem. 

My Verdict

Finding Windstream compatible modems was hard. Most ISPs have a table on their site with hardware that works with their internet, but not Windstream. 

But after extensive research and by talking to Windstream, I found that CenturyLink Prism C2100T is the best overall option for your home network. 

As it provides your home with a reliable internet connection and fast internet speed for a good price.