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Can An Ethernet Cable Go Bad

Can An Ethernet Cable Go Bad? [How Long It Should Work]

Recently a weird thing happened to me. I purchased an ethernet cable from an online store and after using that for only a few months, it was not working fine. I was having so many problems with that cable.

I’ve never experienced such a thing, so I decided to take a deep look at this matter and tell you guys how long can an ethernet cable last and what are some important things we need to care about.

✦ Highlights
1. An Ethernet cable can go bad if it’s too old [more than 5 to 20 years or more].
2. Also, an Ethernet cable goes bad if it is cheap and bad-quality and don’t made with pure copper.
3. The lifespan of an ethernet cable depends on its quality and how you treat the cable, meaning you should take care of your ethernet cable to make it last longer.

So let’s start and find out those other important readings which will help you to figure out some essential facts.

Can An Ethernet Cable Go Bad?

Yes, an Ethernet Cable can go bad depending on various causes. If your Ethernet Cable is older than 5 to 20 years or more, it can go bad, or if you’ve a poor quality cable, it won’t last that long. Also, if you don’t treat and care for it wisely, it can quickly go bad.

If you bend it, mess with other cables, are exposed to bad weather, don’t keep it in a good environment, and often get pulled away. Then don’t hope it will last for long.

The external pressure on the junction where the connecting clip is attached to the cable or the connectors can damage, and you’ll have connection errors, so it is a problem with your cable’s connectors.

Often your cable will be okay, but the connectors can be damaged and cause issues.

Now, the quality matters a lot; if you have just installed your Ethernet recently and didn’t treat it badly, but it goes bad, then maybe you’ve purchased a poor Copper Clad Ethernet Cable.

That’s why you should always go for a Solid Copper-made Ethernet Cable, it will last longer, and you won’t have any problems.

💡 Note
When you buy Ethernet cables, always check if there is any label of “CCA” which stands for “Copper Clad Aluminium” which is not good at all, never lasts long, and is a fire hazard. So always go with Pure or Solid Copper Ethernet cables.

How Long Does an Ethernet Cable Last?

So if you’re using your ethernet cable for a long time, then might be wondering how long it can last. So here I’ve cleanly discussed everything, let’s check them.

An ethernet cable can last for an average period of 5 to 20 years or even more than that. It is an approximation as it can vary based on the usage pattern. It also depends on the ethernet cable’s quality, and how you treat it. Here are a few points to look after:

  • If the cable is facing rough usage, then you can expect a lesser lifespan.
  • If the cable is not of good quality, then also it can have a shorter lifespan.
  • The other thing that you can take care of is to avoid getting into the trap of a cheap offer for a probable duplicate cable. In such cases, a cable may be of bad quality and can become useless in a short period.

Now let’s see how you can identify if your ethernet cable is bad.

How To Know If Your Ethernet Cable Is Bad?

In the case of an ethernet cable, some signs can depict that there is something wrong with the cable. To start with you can divide the signals into the following points:

1. Unstable Internet Connection

Sometimes we can observe that our internet connection is behaving strangely. It can be due to some of the following given situations:

  • PC or the device is connecting and disconnecting from the internet frequently.
  • At times, the cable can behave inappropriately when touched or moved.

2. Internet Error

This error can only happen when you do not have an internet connection. But sometimes, it can also be due to a faulty ethernet cable. Now, you can look at the router and all the other cable connections. But everything seems fine. Now, you can realize that the cable is at fault.

3. Packet Loss

While we use the internet the small data units called packets are sent and received. But, if some packets fail to complete the process you’ll face problems.

So, if you’re using a damaged ethernet cable you’ll have a packet loss issue. Hence, it is worth checking your ethernet cable if you’re having packet loss issues.

I’ve written a whole guide about this matter which you can check from here.

4. Try Using Another Cable

If you cannot check or understand the above points, the easiest way is to check your internet performance with another suitable ethernet cable; you can ask for help from your friends and relatives.

You just have to compare the performance of your old and new ethernet cable; thus, you’ll get to know if your ethernet cable is bad or still usable.

We can also check the cable closely to see if there is any damage to your cable. If yes, then you can understand there are issues with your cable. But, if it is a long cable installed in all your room then you can’t do this trick.

5. Use an Ethernet Cable Tester [Best for Long Installed Connections]

If you’re about to check an ethernet cable that is long and installed in your home, business, or office, then it is pretty obvious you can not uninstall it and check the cable.

In that case, you can purchase an Ethernet Cable Tester and then check if there is any damage to your cable. The Tester can tell you which wire is damaged or what issues you have on your ethernet cable. This Tester will also help you in the future if you install any network connection.

How To Make Your Ethernet Cable Last Longer?

If you have to spend a lot of time just fixing and changing your ethernet cables, then when you’ll do your other work. So that’s why it is important to buy a better cable, take some small but great care, and forget about it.

To increase the life span of an ethernet cable, you can take some measures. Those measures are as follows in some points:

1. Proper Care

If you connect an ethernet cable to a device, then it keeps on putting greater tension on it. You should be careful with your ethernet cable in order to make it last longer.

Read some points from below, you’ll get to know how to care properly for your ethernet cable.

2. Buy Branded Quality Cables

It means that when you decide to buy an ethernet cable, then take a careful look at the product. Even observe that the product is not defective in any way. If you are in doubt, then take any other cable.

Here I’ve discussed which one is best between a good brand of ethernet cable and a non-branded ethernet cable.

Also make sure you’re buying a pure solid copper Ethernet cable, as there are so many brands selling ethernet cables with Copper-coated aluminum wires, which is not reliable and it will go bad after using several months or years.

3. Compatibility Is Crucial

When you are planning to buy an ethernet cable, then take a thorough note of the configuration or minimum specifications of the cable. It will ensure that the cable will be suitable for your system or router in the house.

It will save you from the painstaking process of getting stuck with a worthless cable or revisiting the shop and getting a new cable.

4. Tie the Excess Cable

If you have extra cable lying around after connecting your devices, then coil the extra length of cable to avoid any form of damage to it. But, don’t coil it excessively because it can create some magnetic field itself.

Also while tieing the cable, don’t tie it firmly as it can cause signal loss.

5. Don’t Put Heavy Objects on the Ethernet Cable

To increase the lifespan of an ethernet cable, you can take care of the cable by not putting heavy objects on it. It can save the cable from extensive damage.

Inside an ethernet cable, there are 4 pairs of twisted pairs and they can get damaged and untwisted if you behave harshly. So keep this thing on your mind.

6. Avoid Tension in Connecting Cable to a Device

When you connect a new cable to your system or router, then try to avoid creating tension in the cable. It will help you in preventing accidental damage to your brand new ethernet cable.

7. Behave with your Cable Carefully

Whenever you are going to unplug the ethernet cable from your device, then try to be gentle with your cable. It will avoid any form of damage to your cable and will increase its lifespan.

How Often Should You Replace Your Ethernet Cables?

So, you might question how often you should replace your ethernet cables.

Well, it depends on the quality of the cable highly and the care you take for your cable. There are no such numbers on how often you should change your ethernet cables, but on average, an ethernet cable lasts for 5 to 7 years or more than that. So, you can have a check or replacement after every 5 years.

Also, changing your cables every five years can prevent performance loss and degradation. So now it is up to you and your needs.

Why I Replaced My Ethernet Cable after Using Just for a Few Months?

I have a few Ethernet cables to use for my different places. Recently, I brought an Ethernet cable, but do you know right after using it for 3-5 months, I replaced that cable and got another from amazon? So why?

It is because I got a pretty cheap Ethernet cable from, and I just ordered the cable without caring much about the brand and so on. Then, once I received it from amazon, I unboxed it; I was getting a smell from the rubber of the cable.

two of my ethernet cable, one is cheap another is branded

OK, it is OK! But, I also felt the cover of the cable is not that durable; it is made with soft material.

Then I started using the cable for almost a month until I got heating issues. I was still using the cable without caring much, but after a few months, I had many problems like packet loss, unstable connection, and more.

Next, I just plugged it out and went through amazon again, then purchased a brand new patch ethernet cable from AmazonBasics.

I’ve been using the cable for almost 1 year I didn’t have a single issue with it. So that’s why a suitable ethernet cable from a reputed brand is vital for your internet connection, as Ethernet protocol is tricky.