Signs of a Bad Ethernet Cable – Everything You Need to Know!

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Just like anything in the world wears out one day or the other, so happens with the Ethernet cables. Unfortunately, they are never going to last forever, and eventually wear and tear out due to all the external factors assisting the decay process.

For example, UV radiation bends, and twists, or damaged wire due to heat, etc. All of these factors and many more eventually result in the revealing symptoms of bad Ethernet cables.

Luckily, it’s quite cheap these days to replace an Ethernet cable, but the difficulty comes when signs of identifying a bad Ethernet cable are not known in the first place, and we keep on using the old Ethernet cable long enough until it totally breaks down.

There are a few revealing signs of Ethernet cable aging that everyone should know to avoid network problems. 

  1. The loss of connectivity – No Internet!
  2. Discontinuous internet performance: lagging issue.
  3. Disruption at regular intervals: sometimes works, while sometimes doesn’t.

Well, all the above issues we are considering are for high-quality Ethernet cables, and not for those cables, which are manufactured with substandard material or developed locally without any brand.

For instance, non-uniform twisting of pairs per inch can lead to impedance variance, which is an amount of resistance that a component offers to the current flowing at a specific frequency; or building cable not from the same pool affects the impedance, which means signals reflection turning into bit errors or frame drops.

While we are assuming that you already have a high-quality standard Ethernet cable, if not so, then perhaps consider buying a new Ethernet cable here. Therefore, to learn more about which cable to buy, we already have collected a collection here

Let’s now discuss more what you can do to figure out signs for worn-out Ethernet cables.

The loss of connectivity: No Internet!

First off, you need to make sure that connectivity is not the problem you are facing. Connectivity means that both sides of the connectors are properly connected – means the connection has been established.

So to check the connectivity, check the LED lights on the front panel of the network adapters. Usually, it’s a small LED light that blinks to show that the wire has established the connection on both sides.

Sometimes this issue may arise if the Rj45 connector isn’t perfectly placed to the cable or the contact between the Rj45 connector and twisted pair cables has loosened out. In that case, just changing the Rj45 connector with a crimping tool would hopefully solve the problem.

However, if that’s not the problem, then the network adaptor, the interface where you connect the Ethernet cable to, or the cable itself may be the cause of the connectivity problem. 

What to do now?

Take another Ethernet cable that works, and connect between the adapter and the device. If the problem is solved, great, if not, then the problem must have been originated from the network adapter.

Try changing the port if possible, otherwise contact your network administrator, or internet service provider for professional help. 

Discontinuous internet performance: lagging issue.

Usually, this is a primary concern for HD lovers and professional gamers, who don’t want to face any lagging issues. The reason may be due to a lower category cable.

Just look at the internet speed, if your device doesn’t receive the specified speed, usually it’s called bandwidth calculated in Mbps, which stands for Megabit per second. 

For example, if someone says that your internet is 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second), then it means that a bandwidth of 1000 Mbps (Megabit per second). 

That being said, just ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about the bandwidth if you don’t know, then check out your internet speed with a speed test. If it doesn’t match or is quite low compared to what your ISP has promised then you should do something about it. 

For instance, you are entitled to have a speed of 1 Gbps, and the speed only fluctuated between 100 to 200 Mbps, then the problem may be due to a bad Ethernet cable. here, 100 to 200 is just a placeholder. You can have any range but keep in mind that it should be lower than your connected internet speed. If this is the case then you must consider buying a new Ethernet cable or compatible category on Amazon here.

Remember, a little up and down in speed is normal. This is because several other factors are also responsible for lagging or reduced Ping.

For example, the response time of the server you are communicating, or maybe overall traffic on the network, and many more factors all of which can contribute to lagging or lower response time. 

Disruption at regular intervals: sometimes works, while sometimes doesn’t.

If your internet stops working intermittently or the speed is reduced oftentimes. Usually, irregular connectivity happens due to bents or broken wires.

Also, sometimes due to foreign objects like a nail or screw piercing into the cable causing interference or sometimes wave interference like Electromagnetic interference. All of these issues often disrupt the internet.

To put this another way, if one of the twisted pairs inside the Ethernet cable is broken, then sometimes when the position of the cable changes due to a wiggle maybe, then copper inside the twisted pair cables might get disconnected, and sometimes gets restored.

How to resolve the bends, and kinks in the wire?

  1. Use a cutter to cut the wire where you found the bend.
  2. Cut out the insulation of both sides to at least 3 inches, whatever it suits.
  3. Now, peel off the skin of the twisted pairs one by one.
  4. After you see the copper wire of each twisted pair, connect each wire of same color-band with each other accordingly; you need to twist both of them together.
  5. Apply an insulation tape on connected joints, and to all the twisted pairs where you cut the insulation of the cable.

This is a quick solution to solve this problem. Remember, you have to do this to every bend you see for proper functioning. However, if you don’t like doing it, then consider buying a new Ethernet cable here

If the problem persists? What to do now?

If you replaced the older Ethernet cable with a newer one and yet the problem persists, then maybe the problem lies with the network adapters, or any of the network devices in the network i.e. Switches, Routers, etc.

In that case, a higher level of troubleshooting is required, and for this purpose, you need the help of an expert such as a network administrator. 


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