How to set up your modem and activate your Internet service

Congratulations! You're going to really enjoy your new CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service. Use this video to guide you through the setup process. It covers:

  • What equipment you'll need
  • Where and how to set up your modem
  • Activating your Internet service

No need to take notes!

All the material covered in the video, as well as additional information, is written below.

Equipment check

Before you get started, check that you have all the proper equipment. If you purchased or leased your modem through CenturyLink, then you have a kit that includes:

  • your CenturyLink modem and its AC power adapter
  • a green telephone cord
  • a yellow Ethernet cable
  • a couple of DSL filters
  • and the installation guide

You also need your computer turned on and ready to go.

Note: Even if you received your modem kit early, your service probably isn't active yet. It's best to wait until after 5 pm on your scheduled service day. If you try to activate your modem sooner, you may run into problems.

Connecting your modem

Step 1: Install your filters

Your kit comes with 2 DSL filters. You may be wondering if you really need to use them. You do. They split the signal going through the line between your voice/phone service and your data/Internet service. They're very important to making sure you get the best possible results from your phone and Internet connection.

You should install a filter on each telephone jack that goes to any of these types of devices:

devices that need filters
  • telephone
  • answering machine
  • caller ID box
  • satellite TV receiver
  • TiVo box
  • fax machine
  • automatic water meter
  • home security system

If you don't use the filters, or if you skip some of the devices in your home, then you are likely to experience slower speeds and frequent drops.

If you don't have enough filters, you can continue your setup while you are waiting to get more; however, you should disconnect any unfiltered devices from the telephone wall jack until you can install a filter.

If you have a home security system, then you'll actually need to contact us so a technician can install a special filter on the line outside of your home. (There's an additional fee for this.)

If you have a wall-mounted phone, you will need to use filters that are specifically designed for this type of phone.

If you need more filters than came in your kit, you can purchase them from us or a local electronics store. To order more filters, chat with an agent.

Step 2: Find a good place for your modem

Where you decide to place your modem can affect its performance. As with most electronic equipment, pick a place that has good air circulation and that won't get too hot. If electronic components get excessively hot, they don't typically work as well and may break.

If you're using a wireless modem, ideally, place it in a high, central location that allows for better range of coverage. Also, you can get the the best speed and performance from your modem by not placing it near:

  • cordless phones
  • computer monitors (minimum 3 ft. away)
  • wireless video cameras
  • windows (minimum of 3 ft. away)
  • Bluetooth devices
  • microwaves (minimum of 10 ft. away)
  • reflective surfaces (e.g. windows, mirrors, water)
  • large amounts of water (e.g. fish tank, water cooler)
  • reinforced concrete
  • metal partitions, fixtures, ceilings
  • sprinklers, and pipes

Step 3: Power your modem up

Once you have found the perfect place for your modem, it's time to give it some power. Start by connecting the power cord to the modem and plugging it in.

You might notice that there is no power switch on the modem. Although some modems have a power switch, some don't.

  • If your modem doesn't have a power switch, then it is automatically turned ON when you plug it in.
  • If your modem has a power switch, make sure it is in the ON position.

Give the modem 1 to 2 minutes to boot up. When it's ready, you'll see the POWER indicator light up ON the front of the modem. This is a good time to make sure your computer is ON and ready to go.

Modem? Router? Which is it?
It can be both! Although modems and routers are different, for ease and convenience, most CenturyLink modems have a built-in router. Additionally, depending on the model, your device may be wireless capable.

Step 4: Connecting cords and cables

Now, let's move on to connecting the cords and cables.Your kit comes with a green phone cord and a yellow Ethernet cable. Let's work with the phone cord first. 

Plug one end of the green phone cord into the green port in the back of the modem, labeled either DSL or LINE.Plug the other end into the phone jack in your wall. When you hear it click, you know you've inserted it correctly.

A couple of important things to avoid:

  • This is the only phone line where you don't want to use a filter.
  • It's important not to connect the green phone cord to the modem port labeled PHONE.

IMPORTANT: The modem has a built in filter, so there's no need to use a filter on the line that connects your modem to the wall jack. In fact, if you do, you'll have problems.

Ok, now on to the yellow Ethernet cable. The Ethernet cable may look like a phone cord, but if you examine it closely, you'll see it's slightly bigger. To keep things simple during the setup, even if your modem and computer are wireless capable, we recommend that you use the Ethernet cable to connect your computer to the modem.

If your modem has multiple yellow Ethernet ports, you can safely use any them. The additional ports allow you to connect additional computers or peripheral equipment like a printer.

Plug the other end of the yellow Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port on your computer. The location varies by computer model. Examine your computer for a port. It looks sort of like a phone jack except it's slightly bigger.

If you've correctly connected the Ethernet cable, then the lights around the Ethernet port on your computer will light up.

PC Ethernet Port Symbol

What does a PC Ethernet port look like?
If you are using a PC, the port might show a symbol that looks like 3 or 5 squares branching off a single line.


Mac Ethernet Port Symbol

What does a Mac Ethernet port look like?
If you are using a Mac, the port symbol looks like 3 dots between 2 brackets.


Step 5: Double check your modem

At this point, before starting your service activation, it's a good idea to double check your modem.

  • Your modem is plugged in and has power.
  • The green phone cord is connected from the jack (no filter) to the modem (DSL or LINE port).
  • The yellow Ethernet cord is connected to the modem and computer.
  • The lights on the front of your modem show the following:
    • POWER light is solid green.
    • DSL light is solid green.
    • Internet or INT light icon (either be solid or flashing).
    • Ethernet port number light is green.

If the lights aren't lit up properly, then double check all of your connections and give it a couple of minutes. If after a few minutes the lights still aren't correct, then it's probably best to contact CenturyLink Tech Support.

Ever wonder what the color and behavior of the lights on your modem mean? Learn more about your modem.

Modem and service activation

Once you've set up your modem, you won't be able to surf the Internet until you go through the activation steps. This process authorizes your modem to access your CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service. It's a fairly easy, step-by-step process that usually takes about 15 minutes to complete.

To get started, go to your computer and open a web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.

When you open the browser, you'll immediately see the welcome screen. You'll know that you're in the right place when you see the CenturyLink logo and a message that reads "welcome. let's get started."

Click the green Next button to begin!

If you don't see this screen, then you might want to try manually navigating to "connect.centurylink.com" by typing it into the address bar of your browser.

Welcome screen not showing up?

If you've double checked everything, and the welcome screen is still not showing up, then contact CenturyLink Tech Support.

Finding your way around the screen

The service activation process and the pages you'll see vary depending on your type of service. It's pretty straight forward and self-explanatory, but here are some things you should expect.

green next button

To go on, click the green Next button.

grey next button

If the Next button isn't green, it means you need to complete some part of the step you are on, but that's okay. Just review the page again and fill in any blanks (or answer any questions). The Next button should turn green, and you can move forward.


The center of the page is where you'll want to focus your attention. This area will contain an instructions, questions and installation options, as well as additional information you might need to make a decision and advance to the next step.

question mark icon

Wherever you see a question mark icon, you can hover over the icon to reveal additional details about that step.


progress clock

In the bottom left corner of the screen, you'll notice a progress clock, which shows you how far you are in the process.


help option icons

In the bottom right corner of the screen, you'll see the options that are available for contacting us if you have questions or run into problems.


What to expect during the process

Early in the process, you'll be asked to review and accept the required legal agreements for the terms of service. We recommend you save or print the legal agreements.

Later, you may be given the option to download and install software that is included as part of your Internet service. If you choose to take advantage of any of the downloads, you'll want to follow your browser's process to download and run the download.

If your CenturyLink modem is wireless capable, then this feature is turned ON by default. You may see some steps in the process about wireless, and you may be given the option to customize your wireless connection settings if you're comfortable doing so.

Time to surf!

Well, that should do it. We appreciate that you chose CenturyLink. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact us. We're here to help!