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A Guide to Windstream Compatible Modems

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Windstream has earned a reputation for being a cost-friendly internet service provider (ISP) that is a good choice for people in rural areas and those on a budget. If you’re trying to save money on your monthly Windstream bill, buying a modem rather than renting one might be a good idea.

Choosing to rent a modem from Windstream costs at least $9.99/month, and those costs can definitely add up over time. While buying a modem costs more upfront, you won’t have to worry about rental fees moving forward. More importantly, you have complete control over your internet setup and might be able to enjoy faster download speeds.

We’ve examined the available Windstream compatible modems and uncovered seven top options. You can use this guide to help determine which Windstream compatible modem is right for you.

Actiontec GT784WN

The Actiontec GT784WN is a good fit for Windstream subscribers who don’t have heavy internet usage needs. With its simple setup, it’s also a good choice for people who are not tech-savvy. Once you’ve plugged in the device, its preconfigured settings should help you get the ball rolling quickly.

A modem-router combination, the Actiontec GT784WN works well for families as well. You can set up a firewall and parental controls to prevent children from accessing forbidden websites. It also works as a wireless N router with a four-port switch. Once set up correctly, you can connect devices to it using an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi.

Along with its easy-to-use features, the Actiontec GT784WN is also the most budget-friendly device on our list, with a price tag around $90. However, it doesn’t have the sturdiest build, and you may have to buy another device over time as a result.

Also, this ADSL model router won’t work for you if you have a cable connection. Before purchasing, you’ll need to make sure Windstream DSL does not require that you use a specific modem model.

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Actiontec T3200

If you want to go with the option preferred by Windstream, you should know that the Actiontec T3200 is the exact model Windstream rents to its subscribers. In addition, it is known to be compatible with all DSL speeds offered by Windstream and its fiber internet.

This modem has a built-in dual-band Wi-Fi 5 router to provide users with more network efficiency. That means the router will prioritize connected users according to their internet usage and demand. The device can also support download and upload speeds as high as 2.3Gbps.

It also has DSL, USB, WAN ports, and four LAN ports. The modem router combo also supports 802.11ac and 802.11n standards, resulting in faster internet speeds and more secure browsing.

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If you’re a hardcore gamer, then the ASUS RT-AX88U is your best bet. The ASUS RT-AX88U has an advertised speed of 6000Mbps. But thanks to its QoS prioritization, it allocates most of the throughput to game packets.

As a dual-band router, this modem covers a much wider area and allows multiple users to connect without compromising speed. It can handle approximately 40 devices connected to it in a large area.

Even better, its 8 Gigabit LAN ensures better connectivity, so you don’t have to worry about buffering with your game systems.

The modem has a current price of $300 or higher. Although that’s a high price, it’s realistic considering the features that even non-gamers will appreciate. In addition to its high speed, the ASUS RT-AX88U has features such as firewalls, DDoS attack protection, parental controls, and VPN support to provide added security to users.

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GreenWave C4000LG

The GreenWave C4000LG is another modem-router combo that prioritizes productivity and connectivity. It can handle speeds from 100Mbps—common among DSL connections—to the the 1000Mbps speed you can get with fiber internet.

Much of its performance is attributed to the InterAptiv chipset, enabling the modem to generate faster transmissions while keeping losses to a minimum. It also allows QoS traffic prioritization, which provides necessary resources for heavy applications, and beamforming support, which delivers higher signal quality by focusing in a specific direction.

The router has Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. As a result, it performs much better than Wi-Fi 5 routers because there is no impact to the speed and reliability of your connection, no matter how many devices are connected. At the same time, users can enjoy excellent range for their Wi-Fi signal.

With its subtle, cylindrical-like appearance, the GreenWave C4000LG can blend into your decor, a small but potentially valuable benefit compared to some of the other modems on our list.

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Motorola MD1600

The Motorola MD1600 possesses an excellent set of features packaged at an affordable price of around $300. What makes this modem-router combo stand out is its simplicity. Its setup wizard makes installation a breeze.

The modem has four gigabit Ethernet ports to connect your TVs and gaming consoles. There’s also a USB 2.0 port for printers and flash drives that you can use to share these devices and their contents with people connected to your modem.

Also, the Motorola MD1600 prioritizes security thanks to firewall, VPN, and WPA/WPA2 features for creating a much more secure network. One downside is that this modem doesn’t work with bonded xDSL vectoring, but this isn’t likely to impact the majority of Windstream internet customers.

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NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX70

The NETGEAR RAX70 is highly recommended not just as a Windstream compatible modem but also as a router in general. Similar to the GreenWave C4000LG, it is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router. Also, all four LAN ports support link aggregation, which uses multiple network connections to increase output that a single connection can’t sustain alone.

The modem also uses the WPA3 security protocol for better security and protection. With it, you can configure your VPN support, DDoS attack protection, guest Wi-Fi networks, and more.

The router includes premium access to its Nighthawk app, which is what you use to configure your router and any additional settings, such as parental control. It also has a one-month free trial of NETGEAR Armor for protection from internet threats.

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TP-Link Archer AX21

Through the years, TP-Link has provided users with some of the best-performing routers at affordable prices. Some of their routers compare favorably to heavy hitters like NETGEAR and ASUS. With the Archer AX21, TP-Link seems to have struck gold again.

With simplicity and straightforwardness in mind, this modem is perfect for people who use the internet without going beyond 200Mbps. But as a Wi-Fi 6 router, expect to experience improved Wi-Fi performance and coverage, with a reported range of 1.5k-2k sq. ft. Thanks to the modem’s 802.11ax support, you will also experience little to no lag even if there are more than 40 devices connected to it.

Aside from being a dual-band router, which runs on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands, the TP-Link Archer AX21 is also classified as AX1800. This means that its maximum speed is 574Mbps over 2.4GHz and 1200Mbps over 5GHz.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Does Windstream allow its subscribers to get their own modems?

While Windstream doesn’t overtly encourage subscribers to get their own modems, it allows users to make that shift with no problem. You can even call their customer support for help in choosing a Windstream compatible modem that suits your needs.

Why should I get a Windstream compatible modem of my own?

A Windstream plan comes bundled with a modem so you can get online using multiple devices. However, the ISP charges you a one-time installation fee and a monthly modem rental fee in addition to the cost of your plan. Regardless of the Windstream plan you chose, this can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars you could have saved by buying a Windstream compatible modem.

Getting a modem separate from what Windstream provides allows you to unlock the actual speed of your internet connection and save money over the long term.

What are factors to consider when buying a Windstream compatible modem?

The right modem for you depends on the internet needs of your household, along with the Windstream plan that you choose. Below are variables you should consider when selecting a Windstream compatible modem:

  • Type of connection. Find out if your Windstream internet connection is DSL, fiber, or cable. Not all modems listed above accommodate these different connection types.
  • Kind of DSL connection. There are different DSL connection types (ADSL, ADSL 2+, VDSL, etc.). VDSL Modems that support connect speeds of 100Mbps and higher also support slower speeds. But modems that accommodate ADSL and ADSL 2/2+ can’t support faster connection speeds.
  • Usage. Some people use the internet for work, others for streaming, and some play online games. So, you want a modem that allows you to maximize your connection based on how you use it.

If you have questions or need advice, you can reach out to Windstream customer support for additional information and solutions.

Are there any benefits to renting a Windstream modem?

If you decide to rent a Windstream compatible modem, you won’t have to worry about setting up a modem on your own. You may also be able to seek support or get your modem replaced through Windstream if there are technical issues. The monthly modem rental payment serves as a convenience fee for people who simply wish to have an internet connection and not worry about setting it up and troubleshooting it themselves.

What is DSL bonding, and why does it matter?

DSL bonding refers to two or more DSL lines merged to achieve faster internet speeds. This is done to help people living far away from their ISPs get the most out of their connections.

This information is crucial because it determines whether you can use Windstream compatible modems or not. If your connection is DSL bonded, That means there’s no way you can use a different modem except the one provided by Windstream.

How much should I expect to pay for a Windstream compatible modem?

Expect to pay from $100 to $400 for any of the modems listed in this guide. Although, the price you’ll pay for a Windstream compatible modem will vary depending on their specs, purpose, and your specific internet plan.

For example, the Actiontec GT784WN is one of the most affordable modems listed above at $120 because it only accommodates speeds up to 300Mbps. If you need more bandwidth for streaming movies and games, a tri-band wireless speed modem/router like the NETGEAR Nighthawk could cost more than $300.

At the same time, the Actiontec T3200 (currently around $140) is ideal if you’re subscribed to any of Windstream’s fiber internet plans. This goes to show that the most expensive modem isn’t always the best option for you.

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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our internet service page. Prices as of 5/9/22.

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Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.

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