CenturyLink DSL Modem Selection, Setup, & Configuration Guide

or, How to Avoid DSL Modem Rental Fees at CenturyLink

Actiontec GT701 DSL Modem

Okay, so you want CenturyLink DSL service (or maybe already have it) but you don't want to pay $5/month to rent a DSL modem from them. You want to buy your own DSL modem, so you've looked through the modems they list as compatible but many are expensive, so now you're not sure if it's worth it. Well, just follow this guide and you can have a compatible modem for $15 to $20 and configure it for CenturyLink.

Notes and disclaimers:

1. This guide was based on configuring a modem for CenturyLink in Las Vegas, NV.  While these instructions should work for all CenturyLink locations, I can't make promises for any service area but Las Vegas.  CenturyLink tech support would know more about that than I do.
2. My modem is an Actiontec model GT701.  I'm told that the modem settings instructions are identical for GT701R & GT701-WG but I've only actually used a GT701.


CenturyLink recommends a number of DSL modems that are purported to be compatible with their service.


Most of the modems on that page are pricey ($60 and up, with many over $100). Of those modems, the Actiontec GT701 series stands out as the most affordable.  Those include models GT701, GT701-R, and GT701-WG.  The GT701 & GT701-R models are strictly modems, while the GT701-WG includes an integrated wireless gateway (a wireless router).  All can be found for as low as $15 at eBay (delivered price), and a wide selection can be found in the $15 to $20 range.  Search at eBay for GT701, sort by price, and look at only buy-it-now items as I've done in the following link.


You should find plenty of affordable GT701 series modems at the above link.

Don't worry if the modem says it's for Qwest DSL service, since the Qwest firmware is what Century link recommends for their service anyway.  Even if the modem has "Qwest" painted right on the modem, that's still what you want.


CenturyLink provides modem setup instructions at their website, but they don't work.  The instructions on the first page about accessing the modem setup are accurate, but the instructions on the second page are nonsense.  The instructions on the second page suggest that you enter a PPP username & password, but CenturyLink does not use PPP authentication to access their service.  I asked their tech support people why inaccurate information was at their website, but I didn't get a reasonable answer.

The first thing you should do is access the modem setup page.  To do that, turn the modem on and connect your computer to the modem with an Ethernet cable. Open a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.) and enter into the address bar.  You should see the setup page. The firmware version is noted on the main setup page.  In the image above the firmware is QW06.5-, which is what it's supposed to be.  If it's anything else then you should consider upgrading the firmware software before trying the configure the modem.  It may work with an earlier firmware release, so you are welcome to try it, but CenturyLink recommends upgrading the firmware version.  Here are the firmware download and install instructions for various DSL modems.


After you are comfortable that you have the latest firmware installed in your modem, you can begin configuring your GT701 series modem for CenturyLink DSL access by clicking the Quick Setup tab at the top.  Leave the PPP username & password fields blank, since CenturyLink doesn't use PPP authentication.  Click the "Click here for advanced settings only if required by your ISP" link at access the advanced settings page.  Set everything on that page to be exactly like these settings.

Click Apply. After the system recovers from the Apply command, click the DSL Settings link in the menu on the left.  Enter settings exactly like below.

Click Apply. After settings have been applied restart the modem (power it down and power it back up again).  Make sure the phone line is connected to the back of the modem in the "Line" plug.  It should connect.  It takes awhile for this model of modem to start & connect, so be patient.  My modem connects in about 1 minute 45 seconds, as follows.

Power Light to Green: 15 seconds
DSL Connect Light to Steady: 80 seconds
Internet Connect Light On: 10 seconds
Total: 105 seconds (1 minute 45 seconds)

If you wish to connect more than one computer to this modem you can plug a router (either wired or wireless, or both) into the Ethernet plug and it should work just fine.

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