CenturyLink tower modem setup

This page provides instructions to install internet with any tower or box-style CenturyLink modem/router.

top tower modems

For all following models:
Actiontec   *   Adtran   *   Calix   *   Technicolor   *   Zyxel 

Not the right kind of modem? Try the C4000 setup page instead.

Have you ordered new internet service or a new modem from CenturyLink with standard installation? There are some things you need to know before completing the installation process. For the best results, read the full instructions below before you begin.


Your modem will arrive in the mail on or before the date your service is scheduled to start. Look for an email with your order confirmation details and an order status tracking link. Your line should be activated no later than 7 p.m. on your start date. You may receive a notification earlier in the day to let you know that your service has been activated, and then you can start your installation. If in doubt, you may want to wait until 7 p.m. to hook up your modem.

Please note that the modem shown in the video below may look slightly different from yours, but the steps will be the same. The one exception is the round, white C4000 (view the C4000 setup video instead).

Start by unpacking the box and identifying the modem, cables, and instruction card. If needed, you can download the same instructions below.

We recommend downloading and installing the My CenturyLink app on your iOS or Android device to complete installation. It not only makes the setup process a breeze, but is also great for managing your CenturyLink services, billing and support going forward.

Download the My CenturyLink app

If you prefer to use your computer for installation, just follow the QuickConnect process when you get to step 4 to finish setup.

The next task is to find the best spot for your modem. Where it is placed can have a huge impact on your wireless performance. 

  • Find a central location in your house, avoiding closets or other closed-off areas to ensure that all devices in your home get a strong wireless signal from the router.
  • Choose a spot with good air circulation that doesn't get hot, as excessive heat can cause electronics to perform poorly.

check modem cords plugged in

Now it's time to get your modem hooked up. 

  1. Plug the black power cord into a wall outlet and into the power port on the back of the modem. 

  2. Plug one end of the green cord into the green DSL port on back of the modem, and the other end into a working phone jack. 

  3. Finally, plug one end of the yellow Ethernet cord into one of the Ethernet ports on the modem, and the other end into your computer's Ethernet port.
Back of modem showing DSL ports, Ethernet ports, power port

Note: Your modem may look different from the one in the image, but the ports on any tower or box-style modem will be similar.

Note: If you are using a tablet or newer laptop, you may not have an Ethernet port on your device. That's okay. If your device doesn't have Ethernet, you can instead connect to WiFi using the SSID and security key on the bottom of the modem.

locate SSID and passphrase

Do you have both internet and home phone service from CenturyLink?    

If NO, proceed to step 3. 

If you have both landline phone service (not VOIP) and high-speed internet, you will need to install DSL filters on all of your phone cords. These are essential to make sure you get the best phone and internet connection. 

Diagram of phone plugging into filter then into jack

Plug the phone cord into a filter and then into the wall jack

Note: If you have cordless phones, you only need to install a filter on the phone base that plugs in to the wall jack; no filters are needed on the cordless units that only plug into an electrical outlet.

Do not install a filter between the modem and the wall jack.

Diagram of modem plugging into jack with no filter

The DSL cord from the modem to the jack should not have a filter

As an alternative, use a splitter to plug both a phone and a DSL modem into one wall jack.

Diagram of phone and modem both plugging into DSL splitter then into jack

Use a DSL splitter to plug a phone and a modem into one wall jack

Have a home security system? Chat with customer service to get a technician to install a whole-home filter on the line outside your home (there is an installation fee for this.)

Filters are not included in your modem kit. If you have a landline phone and internet with CenturyLink, filters should have been included at the time of your order and will arrive in a separate package. If you did not receive filters, please chat with us.

At this point, you are ready to activate your service! You can proceed using the mobile app or the QuickConnect site on a browser — either one will walk you through the steps to finish installing service. 

Option 1: In the My CenturyLink mobile app, go into the Install my New Modem section. 

Option 2: Open a browser on your computer and go to http://connect.centurylink.com (not "https"). Follow the steps to complete the installation process using QuickConnect. And don't worry — if your computer is connected to the modem, you will be able to access this site even before your internet service is fully activated.

While completing the installation process, the lights on your modem will tell you its connection status. Your modem may look different from the one in the images below, but the lights will function in the same way.

Look at the row of status lights on your modem. What color is the INTERNET light?

If it's GREEN

You're finished!

Internet light is green

Once the internet light is green, you're connected to the internet and you can get online! 

If it's AMBER

You need to finish setup online

Internet light is amber

If the internet light is amber/orange, this means the setup process is not yet complete or you have not yet accepted the user agreement. Use the My CenturyLink mobile app or browse to http://connect.centurylink.com and follow the prompts to finish setup.

If it's RED

An error has occurred

Internet light is red

If the internet light is red, this means a connection failure has occurred. Try disconnecting everything (DSL and power cords), waiting a few minutes, and repeating steps 2 and 3. If you still get a red light, you will need to chat with an agent to get further troubleshooting help.

Have questions about the other lights on your modem? Visit our detailed guide on how to read the lights on your modem to troubleshoot your internet connection.

Below are some of the most common questions and issues that customers ask as they self-install a modem.

What if all the lights on the modem are off?

It may sound obvious, but if none of the lights are coming on, it most often means something isn't fully plugged in.
Try this:

  • Make sure the power cord is fully and firmly plugged in on both ends: into the power port on the modem and into the wall outlet.
  • Make sure the outlet is live. You can test this by plugging in another electrical device, and/or try another outlet.

What if the DSL light is red?

The red light indicates the modem isn't connecting to the CenturyLink network. This can be either because the service hasn't been activated yet, you're using an inactive jack, or there's an issue with the modem's authentication process.
Try this:

  • Check your order confirmation to make sure you've got the right date that your service is scheduled to start. 
  • Wait until after 7 p.m. on the service start date to attempt setup.
  • Try another phone jack if one is available. 
  • Try rebooting the modem. Unplug everything, wait a few minutes, and plug in again. This can often resolve a connection issue.
  • As a last resort, you can try using the reset button.

How long should the setup process take?

This can depend on a number of factors. The initial boot-up process can take up to 15 minutes as the modem updates firmware and syncs with the network. The remaining setup will depend on your installation method (using the My CenturyLink app or the QuickConnect site) and how quickly you go through the steps. 

Can I use any jack in my home?

This can depend on the age of your home. In an older home, there may be multiple jacks, and they may have been installed by different providers over the years. It may be that only one of the jacks is hooked up to CenturyLink's network, or all of them may be active.

CAUTION! Do not remove or lose your modem sticker, which includes your default admin username and password. These preset credentials cannot be retrieved, and your modem could become unusable without them. 

If you have questions we haven't answered, or if you need any additional support with setting up your modem, chat with us. We're here to help!

Setting up new service? Please note that a phone jack is required to set up CenturyLink internet service in your home. If you don't have a jack, chat with us to have one installed.

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