5 Best Windstream Approved Modems in 2023

Note, no device can get you faster internet speeds than your internet plan provides.

Also, get the device you need. A modem and a router are not the same things. Some types of internet require both others only one. If you are uncertain, click here

Thanks for joining me as I show you the best approved modems for Windstream internet plans.

Windstream Compatible Modems

We had to do extensive research on the subject as Windstream are unclear about which modems you can use on their plans. But, we contacted them directly and researched the modems they gave us, and now we can tell you the best options.

Number one overall is the CenturyLink Prism C2100T thanks to its brilliant value for money. But this is not a blanket suggestion for everyone, so be sure to check out the rest of my suggestions, coming right up.

Let’s get into it.

Top Approved Modems for Windstream

Take a look below for my top five:

  1. Best overall: CenturyLink Prism C2100T
  2. Best for Windstream Kinetic Fiber Gig: Actiontec C3000A
  3. Best for budgets: Actiontec C2000A
  4. Alternative top pick: GreenWave C4000LG
  5. Best for large homes: ZyXEL C3000Z

Reviewing the Best Windstream Modems

Stay with me as we take a closer look at the top picks.

#1 Best Overall – CenturyLink Prism C2100T

CenturyLink Prism C2100T

  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Recommended for: Kinetic Internet (up to 100 Mbps) or Kinetic Fiber (up to 500 Mbps)
  • Wi-Fi technology: Wi-Fi 5
  • Approximate Wi-Fi range: 80-90 ft 
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Fair Wi-Fi speed
  • Very affordable 
  • Good range

Cons

  • Not recommended for fiber

The best modem for Windstream in terms of value for money is the CenturyLink Prism C2100T.

Don’t be thrown off by the name ‘CenturyLink’. It is a CenturyLink modem but it will definitely still work with Windstream plans. 

This modem is advertised as offering up to 343 Mbps speed. This means it’ll be enough for all the non-fiber Windstream plans. It’ll also be nearly enough for Kinetic Fiber (500 Mbps) if you want to go down that route. 

It’s a Wi-Fi 5 router, which means it will have the option of a 5 GHz band. This means more bandwidth, so that you can connect more devices at the same time. The 5 GHz band is a little faster but it does have a shorter range. 

The Wi-Fi of the 2.4 GHz band has a reasonable range as well, at around 80-90 ft. This should be enough for a medium-sized home. 

You might not be able to use this modem forever as it is a little old so it could be phased out in time to come. But for now, I think it’s the best option for many Windstream customers.




#2 Best for Windstream Kinetic Fiber Gig – CenturyLink Actiontec C3000A

C3000A
  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Recommended for: Any Windstream plan
  • Wi-Fi technology: Wi-Fi 5
  • Approximate Wi-Fi range: 80-90 ft 
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Fair range
  • Fast enough for any Windstream plan
  • New Wi-Fi technology

Cons

  • More expensive

The best-performing modem/router combo for Windstream right now is the Actiontec C3000A. 

You should easily be able to get up to 1000 Mbps from the modem part of this gateway. And, because it’s Wi-Fi 5, you should get some good Wi-Fi speeds here as well. 

This means it’s going to be a perfect option for Windstream customers on the Kinetic Gig plan. 

The range of this router is similar to that of our number one pick at 80-90 ft. This means you should have enough of a Wi-Fi signal to cover a medium-sized home. 

This is measured based on the 2.4 GHz band which is a little slower. You’ll get a slightly narrower range from the additional 5 GHz band, but this band does come with the benefit of faster Wi-Fi speeds.

Is there a downside? Well, it’s a little expensive compared to the rest. The price is probably going to be unnecessary for anyone but those on the fastest Windstream plans. 

But if you are on Windstream Kinetic Gig then I think this modem/router combo is a no brainer. 




#3 Best for Budgets – Actiontec C2000A

Actiontec C2000A
  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Recommended for: Slower Kinetic Internet plans
  • Wi-Fi technology: Wi-Fi 4
  • Approximate Wi-Fi range: 80-90 ft 
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Fair range

Cons

  • Not fast enough for fastest plans 
  • Old technology 

Customers on the slowest Windstream plans can save a fair amount of money by opting for the CenturyLink Actiontec C2000A, the less powerful sibling of our number two pick.

It’s fast enough for a few Windstream plans and it comes for a very reasonable price.

However, you’re only really going to be able to get around 40 Mbps from this device. This means it’s only going to be a good option for those in rural areas who have to go onto the slowest plans from Actiontec.

This is due to the modem technology of VDSL. The fact that it’s also a Wi-Fi 4 router (super old and slow technology) doesn’t really matter at this point.

Even though it’s slow, the C2000A still comes with a reasonable range. It’s around 80-90 ft, which will cover your home if it’s average-sized. Customers with larger homes can always add a Wi-Fi extender to get more range from their network.

It only has one band: 2.4 GHz. But again, a 5 GHz band would be a waste of time as this gateway will not support speeds fast enough to justify including one. 

There is one issue: this is an older gateway so you may find that Windstream drops support for it in the future. But if that is going to be the case, they’ll give you plenty of notice so you should be alright for quite some time. 

But if you want a cheap fix while you wait for faster internet speeds to come to your rural area, then take a good look at the C2000A. It’s still going to be a valid option for a lot of Americans right now. 




#4 Best for Gaming – GreenWave C4000LG

C4000LG
  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Recommended for: Any Windstream plan
  • Wi-Fi technology: Wi-Fi 6
  • Approximate Wi-Fi range: 90-100 ft 
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Better range
  • Fast enough for any plan

Cons

  • More expensive 

Gamers are going to need the extra level of speed if they want the ultimate gaming experience. The best way to get that kind of speed as a Windstream customer is to replace your modem/router combo with the GreenWave C4000LG.

GreenWave claims that this modem/router combo will be able to achieve speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps over Wi-Fi. While the real world figure is likely to be far short of that, it’s good to know that you’ll be able to max out any Windstream internet plan here.

It also has a better range than the rest of my top picks so far with 90-100 ft available. That makes it a more sensible option for those looking for super fast speed in a larger home. 

This is a particularly pricey modem/router combo but that makes sense considering how powerful it is. If you need the speed for your gaming sessions and you have a fast enough plan, I still think the C4000LG is worth it.

As such, the C4000LG is the perfect option for gamers on the fastest Windstream internet plans. 




#5 Best for Large Homes – ZyXEL C3000Z

C3000Z
  • Type: Modem/router combo
  • Recommended for: Plans up to Kinetic Fiber (500 Mbps)
  • Wi-Fi technology: Wi-Fi 5
  • Approximate Wi-Fi range: 90-100 ft 
  • Warranty: One year

Pros

  • Great range
  • Good price
  • Fair speed

Cons

  • Hard to change configuration
  • Not fast enough for Kinetic Gig 

You don’t need to spend the extra cash on the C4000LG if Wi-Fi range is your number one priority. The ZyXEL C3000Z has the same range of 80-90 ft for a much lower price.

This will be plenty of range for larger homes and if you want to take it even further, you can always add a Wi-Fi extender and keep it far away from the original gateway. 

This device is advertised as offering up to 1700 Mbps but it is only a Wi-Fi 5 router so in real life, it won’t be anywhere near this. Still, it should be enough for the Kinetic Fiber (500 Mbps) plan. 

I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone on the Kinetic Gig plan though as it’s unlikely to hit that speed in the real world. 

One bad thing about this modem/router combo is that it’s hard to change the configuration for MAC filtering and USB devices. Of course, that’s only going to be a problem if this is something you actually want to do though.

Other than that, there isn’t much you won’t like about the C3000Z. This gateway is the best way to get great range and reasonable speed for a very fair price.




Buying Guide: Windstream Approved Modems

It’s not easy to find an approved modem for Windstream. Their DSL internet can prove rather confusing to shop for, so it’s worth doing a little homework

And you can do that right now. Find out everything you need to know in the buying guide, coming right up.

If you want some more general information about buying a modem by the time you get to the end, you can get them in our ultimate buying guide.

Modem compatibility with Windstream plans

You’ll need to think about whether your modem is actually going to work with Windstream internet plans.

Before we get started with this section, let’s take a quick look at those plans. 

Internet PlanDownload SpeedUpload Speed
Kinetic InternetUp to 100 MbpsUp to 10 Mbps
Kinetic FiberUp to 500 MbpsUp to 500 Mbps
Kinetic Fiber GigUp to 940 MbpsUp to 940 Mbps

So, first things first, is your modem going to be fast enough for your plan? We’re mainly looking at Kinetic Internet (DSL) plans today as fiber customers won’t need a modem (more on that later). So, the answer is probably going to be yes in most cases. 

But, if you do have the Kinetic Internet (DSL) plan, you’ll need to consider DSL types.

TypeMax Speed
ADSL7 Mbps
ADSL+20 Mbps
Bonded ADSL2+40 Mbps
VDSL2100 Mbps
Bonded VDSL2140 Mbps
G-Fast100 Mbps
GPON (Fiber)940 Mbps

What does this all mean? Well, each type of DSL supports different speeds as you can see from the table. So, it’s worth checking to see the types of DSL your modem of interest supports as well as finding out what the actual Wi-Fi top speed is going to be. 

Some of the modems we’ve looked at today will be limited by these but a lot of newer modems incorporate a wider range of technologies that allow them to reach the fastest speeds. 

Wi-Fi range and whether you have enough for your home

Be sure to find out whether the modem you like the look of has enough Wi-Fi signal range to cover your whole home.

I’ve typically found that a signal of around 80-90 ft is enough for a medium home. Of course, you’ll need more than this if you have a larger home.

Alternatively, it could be possible to save money by opting for a less powerful modem with a lower range if you live in a smaller home or an apartment. 

If you buy a modem/router combo and find that you’re unable to get a signal in the far corners of your home, all hope is not lost. You can still upgrade your range by using a Wi-Fi extender. Take a look at some of the best ones here

To rent or to buy your modem?

You can get a modem/router combo device from Windstream for a pretty affordable $5.99 per month. 

That’s not bad, but you can still save money by buying one of my picks outright if you’re planning on staying with the company for a long period of time. 

The Windstream modem is okay, but you can also get better performance from a few of my top picks. It’s a good idea to change if you’re on a faster internet plan.

So, for the most part, I recommend upgrading anyway. That’s especially true if you think you’re going to be staying with Windstream for a couple of years or more. 

Modem/router combos vs keeping the devices separate 

Modem/router combos are the only devices that are directly supported by Windstream. It is possible to get around this as I’m about to explain, but typically I think it’s better to just leave them as they are.

If you do want to use a separate modem, you can do so with a technology called bridging. This will effectively switch off the router part of your modem/router combo so that you can pair it with another standalone modem.

The only real benefit of doing this is better features. You might be able to get MESH, QoS or something else. 

It’s a bit of a headache to do this but if you really want a specific feature, it can be done. And if you need some help finding a router for that feature, you can check out our directory of the best routers here

Also, this YouTube video will show you everything you need to know about disabling the modem part from your modem/router combo.

All of the articles around buying a modem/router combo or keeping them separate are discussed in more detail in this article.

Modem/router combo benefits

  • Easy to set up
  • More affordable

Separate modem/router benefits – Our recommendation

  • Better features
  • More speed

Using a modem with Windstream’s fiber plans

You won’t need to worry about using the modem part of your modem/router if you have one of the Windstream Kinetic fiber plans.

Instead, you’ll need to use a tool called an ONT. Windstream will take care of this for you. 

For most people looking for new hardware for their fiber plans, I’d recommend buying a new router outright instead of a modem/router combo. But if you do already have a modem/router combo, you don’t necessarily need to replace it.

It could also be a good idea to buy one of my recommendations if you’re considering relocating to a more rural area someday, as these places are less likely to have fiber internet. 

Warranty periods

A final thing to think about is the warranty of your modem. A lot of modem/router combos tend to have just one year of warranty but you will find some that offer longer periods than this for the extra peace of mind. 

Note that there is a difference between warranty periods and money-back guarantees. The latter refers to how long you can take to change your mind and get a full refund. 

FAQ: Best Windstream Modems

Craving more info on buying an approved modem for Windstream? Here’s some more:

Do all Windstream plans require a modem and a router?

All Kinetic Internet DSL plans will require a specific modem but if you have either of the two fiber plans then you won’t have to worry about that.

Refer back to the ‘using a modem with Windstream’s fiber plans’ section of this article to find out more about how that will work.

Is it easy to set up a modem for Windstream?

It might be hard work trying to find a modem that works with Windstream but the good news is that it’s really easy to set them up. Just plug in and contact Windstream to get your new modem activated. 

The only time that you might need to put in a little extra work is if you’re planning on bridging your modem or changing some of the settings to suit your personal situation. 

We wrote about setting up a modem in more detail in this guide.

Wrapping Up on Buying a Windstream Modem

Approved modems for Windstream are few and far between and it’s confusing to understand a lot of the technology behind them. But for a lot of people, making the upgrade is a good idea.

I think the best option overall is the CenturyLink Prism C2100T. But if you need more or less speed (or more range), one of my other top five picks will work out better for you.

Take your time and consult my buying guide and you’ll be able to find the perfect modem for your Windstream plan, whichever that may be. 

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