A good cable will last for a long time if you treat it well, but a time will always come when it is best to replace them. Most people simply wait for the cable to break before looking for a replacement, but that isn't always the best course of action. Technology is always advancing, and sometimes it is best to replace a cable that still works because it is obsolete. Doing so can lead to a significant performance boost, and the signs that it is time to upgrade are fairly easy to notice.
The best time to check if your cables need an upgrade is when you purchase a new device, such as a computer. Each device will include a number of ports that can accept a cable. Most of them will have ports for every common cable, but they won't include ports for old cables that are falling out of use, or those that are no longer good enough to work with modern devices. It is sometimes possible to find an adapter to make the older cables work, but keeping track of adapters adds another layer of effort and an extra component that can break. If you find that you rely on cables that don't fit in a new device, it's probably time to upgrade.
Cables are always improving, and the most visible improvement is often in the form of increased data transmission speed, especially for Ethernet cables. Newer cables tend to be significantly faster than old ones, often offering as much as ten times the speed of the previous model. If you find that your home network is slow compared to the networks in businesses or other homes, it's a sign that your cables are out of date. Upgrading them will most likely lead to a significant speed boost. The upgrade will often come with a boost to bandwidth or offer other improvements as well, so this is also a sign that you have the opportunity to install an especially cost-efficient upgrade to your home network.
Internet service providers often give their customers advice about when they should upgrade their networks. This advice normally comes at the same time that the ISP upgrades its capabilities to offer faster service, and the upgrade might be necessary to take advantage of the upgrade.
Unfortunately, a lot of these alerts get caught in spam filters or otherwise ignored by their recipients. That keeps people behind the times with their cables and modems, but it's fairly easy to solve that problem. Most ISP companies will put up a permanent announcement of the upgrade on their website or in some other convenient location. If you want to stay on the cutting edge, you should make a point of checking for those announcements every so often to make sure that you can upgrade to take advantage of the latest improvements. These upgrades are usually easier than the rest, because the ISP will over provide advice to help you pick out the right hardware and cables to go with it.
It often pays to subscribe to a couple of industry newsletters that focus on networking and hardware. They will report on new technology as it becomes available. Some will also offer articles about the upgrade process, including advice on when users should do their upgrades. That means that subscribers will get frequent advice, often in a form that makes it easy for casual users to understand the importance of the new advances and decide on the right time to upgrade their own systems.