What to do when the modem lights aren't the right color

Troubles with your Internet service can be frustrating, especially if you don't know what's causing the problem or how to fix it. The first and easiest place to start is by looking at the lights on the front of your modem. The color and behavior of the lights on your modem can provide clues to the possible problem. Better yet, below you'll find simple troubleshooting tips to help get you up and running again as quickly as possible.

What should the lights on your modem look like?

When your modem is setup correctly and your Internet service is working properly, the lights on your modem will look like this:
If the lights on your modem don't look like this, then there might be a problem. Here are some troubleshooting ideas based on which lights aren't lit up properly.

Avoiding common modem setup mistakes

Before we jump into the specific modem lights, colors and behaviors, take a moment to make sure you haven't inadvertently set up or connected your modem incorrectly.

  • Don't use a DSL filter on the cord connected between the wall phone jack and the modem. Filtering this line will remove the data signal being sent across your phone line to your modem.
  • Don't plug the phone cord from the wall phone jack into the modem jack labeled PHONE. The PHONE jack on the back of your modem allows you to attach a phone to your modem. The correct modem jack to use from the wall phone jack to the modem is the one labeled DSL or LINE (depending on your modem).

Power Light

The POWER light indicates whether the modem is receiving power from an electrical source. When your modem is working properly, the power light will be lit solid green.

Problem

What's going on?

Troubleshooting tips

Not lit up at all

If the light near the POWER label isn't lit up at all, then the modem is not receiving power.

Is it the wall outlet?
It could be that the wall outlet isn't getting any power. Try plugging something that you know works (i.e. a lamp) into the outlet you are using for your modem. If the item doesn't work, then the outlet isn't getting any power. 

Is the modem turned ON?
If your modem has a power switch, then you may need to switch it to the ON position. It's ok if your modem doesn't have a power switch; that just means that it's always turned ON. 

Is it the power cord?
Double check the power cord at both the wall outlet and at the modem. Sometimes the cord can wiggle loose at either end. Check the entire length of the power cord to make sure there's no obvious damage to the cord. 

Replacing the power cord:
Although it's rare, the power cord to your modem might be bad. You can replace the power cord. 

However, it's important that you replace it with a cord that has the proper voltage and amperage for your specific modem. Using a power cord with the incorrect voltage can damage your modem and the incorrect amperage can cause an unstable connection. 

Your modem's power specifications are found in the small print labeled POWER RATING on the sticker under the modem.

Light is AMBER (yellowish-orange)

An amber (yellowish-orange) glow typically indicates the modem is in the process of either booting up or going through a firmware upgrade.

Typically, this is a temporary state for the modem. Wait a few minutes and eventually the light will turn either solid green or red.

Light is not solid, keeps flashing

If the power light on your modem never stays solid, this indicates the modem is stuck in the reboot process.

If your modem is plugged into a surge protector or UPS system (Uninterruptible Power Supply), try plugging the modem directly into the wall outlet. 

If the light stays red or keeps blinking, you can try unplugging the power cord at the back of the modem for a minimum of 30 seconds and then plugging it back in . we call this "power cycling."

If you have power cycled the modem and the power light continues to stay red, then you should contact CenturyLink tech support .

Light is RED

A red light typically indicates the modem is in the process of rebooting.
However, if it continues to be red after several minutes, then it is an indication of hardware failure.

DSL or LINE Light

DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, is the technology used by CenturyLink to provide you with access to the Internet over your local telephone network. 

When your modem is first powered ON, it will call out over the phone line to make a connection with CenturyLink's network. When everything is working as it should, the light will go from slow blinking to fast blinking and then finally turn solid green.

When your modem is working properly, the DSL or LINE light will be lit solid green.


Problem

What's going on?

Troubleshooting tips

Not lit up at all

If the light near the DSL or LINE label isn't lit up at all, then the modem is not detecting a signal from the CenturyLink network.

Inspect the phone cord that goes from the wall phone jack to the modem jack. Ensure the following:

1 - The phone cord is not damaged and is in working condition. If you're not sure, then try using a phone cord that you know works.

2 - The phone cord is securely inserted into the wall phone jack and the modem jack labeled DSL or LINE (the label varies by modem).

3 - The phone cord goes directly from the wall jack to the modem.

  • No DSL filter on this connection
  • No phone jack splitter being used.
  • Not plugged into a power strip or surge protector that has a phone jack.

Check your phone line to see if it is in working order.

  • If you have landline phone service on the same line as your Internet service, check to see if you have a dial tone. If you have no dial tone on your phone, then this can affect your Internet service. Learn about troubleshooting no dial tone.

Slow blinking GREEN

A slow blinking green light indicates the modem has found the CenturyLink network but has not yet created a connection, or it has not yet "trained up."

A blinking green DSL or LINE light is part of the normal boot up process.Typically, this is a temporary state for the modem. 

Wait a few minutes and eventually the light will turn solid green.

If you've waited and the light hasn't stopped blinking, then the modem may simply be stuck.

1 - Unplug the power cord from the back of the modem.

2 - Unplug all devices plugged into any and all phone jacks in the house, including:

  • your modem
  • any telephones
  • answering machines
  • caller id box
  • satellite TV receiver
  • fax machine
  • automatic water meter
  • home security system

3 - Reconnect the phone cord going directly from the wall phone jack to the modem jack labeled DSL or LINE (label varies by modem).

  • No DSL filter on this connection
  • No phone jack splitter being used
  • Not plugged into a power strip or surge protector that has a phone jack

4 - Reconnect the power cord to the modem and allow the modem to go through the boot up/restart process.

Still blinking and not turning solid? 

  • There could be something wrong with the phone cord. Try using a brand new phone cord.
  • There could be something wrong with the wiring of the phone jack. Try connecting your modem to different phone jacks in your home.

If you have tried these steps and the DSL light never stays solid green, then you should contact CenturyLink tech support.

Fast blinking GREEN


A fast blinking green light indicates the modem is in the process of creating a connection with the CenturyLink network, or "training up."

INTERNET Light

Whereas the DSL light indicates your modem's connection to the CenturyLink network, the INTERNET light indicates your modem's connection to the Internet.

If the INTERNET light is either solid green or flickering green, you're in good shape. When the light is green, it indicates you're connected to the Internet. If it's flashing green, then data is being transmitted between your modem and the Internet.

Problem

What's going on?

Troubleshooting tips

Not lit up at all

This indicates that your modem has not yet connected to the Internet or it has lost its connection.

If you recently rebooted your modem, then wait a few minutes to see if it is just a matter of it completing its connections.

If you haven't rebooted your modem recently, then try unplugging the power from the back of your modem for a minimum of 30 seconds. After you plug the power back in, give it a few minutes to reestablish all of its connections.

If you find that you are losing your connection frequently, then you should contact CenturyLink tech support.

Light is continuously blinking RED then GREEN

If the light is alternately blinking between red and green, it means the modem is auto detecting the WAN configuration.

Typically, this is a temporary state for the modem. Wait a few minutes and eventually the light will turn either green or red.

Light is AMBER (yellowish-orange)

An amber (yellowish-orange) glow typically indicates the modem is in the process of running through the initial activation process to enable it to get on the CenturyLink network.

Light is RED

A red light typically indicates the modem is in the process of rebooting. 

However, if it continues to be red after several minutes, then it is an indication of hardware failure.

The most effective and efficient way to resolve this problem is by contacting CenturyLink tech support.

ETHERNET Light

There is one Ethernet light for each Ethernet port on the back of the modem. Newer CenturyLink modems have four Ethernet ports; older modems may only have one port.

When you connect a device to one of the Ethernet ports and it is functioning properly, the corresponding light on the front of the modem will be solid green (ready state) or flickering green (transmitting data through the port).


Problem

What's going on?

Troubleshooting tips

Not lit up at all

Keep in mind that the Ethernet light only lights up when there is an Ethernet cable running between the modem and a computer or other device. If the Ethernet light is not lit up, then there is no connection between the computer and modem.

Double check that the cable is securely inserted into one of modem ports labeled ETHERNET or DATA and the also the correct port on your device.

Make sure you're using an Ethernet cable that is not damaged and is in working condition. The problem could be caused by a hidden kink, or broken wire in the cable, or a problem with the connector on either end of the cable. If you're not sure, then try using one that you know works .whether it's brand new or works with other devices. 

Lastly, if you are able to successfully connect other devices to your modem with the Ethernet cable, and the connection only fails to work with a single specific computer or device, then there could be a problem with the networking hardware inside that computer or device.

You'll need to have that piece of equipment repaired.

WIRELESS Light

When the WIRELESS light is solid green, it indicates that the modem's wireless functionality is turned ON, but no data is being transmitted wirelessly. The green light will begin to flicker when data is being sent and received wirelessly.


Problem

What's going on?

Troubleshooting tips

Not lit up at all

If the light near the WIRELESS label is not lit up at all, then the wireless functionality for the modem is OFF.

Learn how to turn ON your modem's wireless functionality.

Light is AMBER (yellowish-orange)

This means that the wireless functionality is temporarily disabled using the wireless schedule feature found in the modem configuration interface.

This functionality may not apply to all modem models.

If your modem does support this functionality, then you can manage this setting within the modem's visual interface.

To navigate to your modem's visual interface:

  1. Connect your computer directly to your modem using an Ethernet cable.
  2. From a browser, like Internet Explorer or Firefox, enter 192.168.0.1 into the address bar and press ENTER.