Can An Ethernet Cable Go Bad? Detailing Ethernet Cables

You probably have used an ethernet cable for faster and more reliable connectivity, and you may ask, ‘Can an ethernet cable go bad? 

Ethernet cables are popular nowadays, and those who hate slow connections have adopted ethernet cables to improve speeds.

Transmission of data over cable makes the entire experience seamless. For gamers and users who require stable connections, the cable is more suitable than other options. The fast speeds and low latency make it ideal for gamers.

So, Can An Ethernet Cable Go Bad?

Yes, an ethernet cable can go bad under various circumstances. For example, when the cable has physical damage, the connection will not work. 

Also, if exposed to moisture, corrosion occurs, affecting the function of the cable. Furthermore, aging of the cable after a more prolonged use may lead to degrading due to wear and tear.

Let’s explore more about ethernet cables.

Types of Ethernet Cables

The evolution of ethernet cables has transformed the speed of internet signals. The latest cable types are highly recommended due to their swift speeds and support of many devices. Below are the ethernet cable types and what each means.

Cat 1-cat5

These are ancient cables that have run out of time. They are rarely seen; many have been discontinued due to slow connections.

Cat 5e

You probably wonder what the “e” in Cat 5e stands for, right? It means “enhanced”. Cat 5 and cat 5e have no major appearance differences, but in terms of stringent measures, while developing the two, the 5e has higher standards.

The 5 e supports faster speeds than 5, which is common due to its affordability.

Cat 6

The Cat 6 cable supports higher bandwidth than Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables. It has a foid or a braided shielding, making it tight. The shield protects the twisted wires inside the cable, preventing crosstalk and noise interference.

Although the cables are pricier than the Cat 5, they support speeds of 10Gbps for up to 55 meters.

Cat 6a

Cat 6a is one of the most sought-after cables in the market. The “a” stands for “augmented.” It supports two times the maximum bandwidth of cat 6. The cables can support higher transmissions over longer distances. The cables are also shielded to eliminate crosstalk.

Cat 7 and Cat 7a

The Cat 7 are high-performing cables that reach 100 Gbps at a range of 15 meters. The cables use a modified GG45 connector. The Cat 7a supports 40 Gigabit Ethernet connections up to 50 meters. The Cat 7a cables are expensive.

Cat 8

The Cat 8 offers a maximum frequency of up to 2,000MHz and speeds of 40Gbps at 30 meters. The cables are shielded and support two connectors. The cables are the most expensive but worth the amount.

Devices That Use Ethernet Cable for Connectivity

Technology is moving fast, and nobody is ready to experience slow internet transmission, hence the need for ethernet connectivity. 

Many devices have ethernet ports, making them compatible with ethernet cables. Below are the top devices that use ethernet cables.

Computers and laptops have ethernet ports to support wired connections. The ethernet ports are often located on the backside of a computer or a laptop. It is a small rectangular port with a wide opening at the top. Most are labeled LAN.

Simply plug the ethernet cable into the port for fast internet speed connectivity.

Routers also use ethernet cables for internet transmission. It is often used to connect devices with the local network. Like computers, the ethernet port is where you plug the cable to transmit the internet to other devices.

Ethernet switches also use ethernet cables to ensure multiple devices connect to the internet. You’ll find several ethernet ports on the switch that support local network connections. Ensure you read the instructions before installing the device’s cables to the switch ports.

Modems use ethernet ports to connect to routers. Moreover, the modem can still connect to a router or a computer with an ethernet cable.

Other ethernet cable devices include printers, cameras, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and media players. Before connecting the devices with an ethernet cable, read all the instructions to guide you through the installation process.

How to Use and Connect an Ethernet Cable

Assuming you just acquired your first ethernet cable and want to use it for transmission, you may wonder how to proceed. Depending on the type of cable you’ve acquired, you’ll be required to adhere to the installation instructions for connectivity.

The cables have connectors with copper, and these are prone to damage. Therefore, handling them carefully while putting the cable in the correct port will shield you from damaging it. So, how do you ensure you connect the cable correctly?

First, gather your equipment, including the ethernet cable and the specific devices you want to connect the cable. The devices may be a computer, laptop, or any compatible device. Locate the ethernet port on the device, which may be at the top, sideways, or back.

Some have the ethernet symbol on them, making it easy to spot.

Connect the one end of the ethernet cable to the device by inserting it in the ethernet port. Insert the other end of the ethernet cable into a router or a modem. You’ll feel a click once you push the connector into the port, meaning you’ve secured the connection.

Power on the device you connected with the ethernet cable and verify that the device is connected to the internet. You’ll see an internet icon on your device showing a successful connection.

If the cable doesn’t show the icon, check if it is damaged, old, or rusty. You may enter into a different port on your router. Alternatively, grab another cable and see if it works. You may also verify the network settings on your device.

Things That Make an Ethernet Cable Go Bad

You may have connected your ethernet cable to devices and realized it is not working. This may lead you to ask many questions about the cable, and you may try to find out if it is damaged.

So, what factors can lead to ethernet cable damage?

The cable can have physical damage. Poor handling of the cable by twisting, crushing, bending, or exposing it to high temperatures might cause it to go bad, affecting its performance. The cable is usually delicate, and handling with care ensures it lasts longer.

Besides physical damage, connector issues make cables go bad. The connectors at the end of the cable are likely to wear out and become loose, leading to internal faults. With the internal faults, you’ll experience poor or no connection at all.

Exposing the cable to moisture is another way the ethernet cables go bad. When in constant contact with water or liquids, the cable usually corrodes, affecting the internal wiring.

Aging is another factor that may lead the cable to go bad. Normal wear and tear lead to degradation of the cable after it has been in use for a longer time. The aging often leads to low performance and poor signal quality.

Low-quality cable manufacturing is another factor that can make the cable go bad. In the modern era, where competition in the market is still, some manufacturers may produce low-quality cables that go bad sooner than the original cables.

Lastly, interference from adjacent cables can make your cable go bad. Nearby power cables and electronic devices usually affect the signal quality of the ethernet cables.

How To Buy a Good Ethernet Cable

Buying an ethernet cable may look easy until you get a bad cable that doesn’t serve its purpose. Similar to other items that you purchase, there are key factors that you need to consider before investing in that ethernet cable.

First, check the cable quality. Who manufactures the cable must be the first question to find out before you embark on the purchasing journey. Search the manufacturer and check the reviews about the cable.

Find out the cable category you want. You can browse through the different cable types available. In most cases, cable types are cat 1 to cat 8. Cat 1 through Cat 5 are old and not common nowadays.

Get the latest cables that have been designed for your device. Note that the higher the cable category, the better the output.

Check the length of the cable by measuring the distance from your device. This will help you choose the right length of the cable for transmission. You must avoid excessive and lengthy cables as it may affect the signal quality.

Look for speed and bandwidth. Find a cable supporting the gigabit speeds if your network is a gigabit one. Cat 6 and above cables are suitable for high-speed demands.

Shielding is key when picking your cables. Usually, surrounding devices can affect the transition of the signals, and shielded cables (STP) have better protection against electromagnetic interference and other frequencies.


Can an ethernet cable go bad? Yes, ethernet cables can go bad because of manufacturing defects, poor handling, exposure to water and liquids, aging, and physical damage.

The cables are suitable for fast internet transmissions and come in various types. The higher the number type, the more expensive it is and the better the output.

You can get your desired cable and enjoy the fast internet transmission, and remember always to take care of the cable to avoid damage.

David Huner
David Huner
David Huner is a tech lover. After completing his graduation from the University Of Phoenix, he started gather his knowledge mostly on latest technologies that keeps his life smart and cool. Now he wants to spread his knowledge with people who loves technologies.

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