With less capital available for continuous system “upgrades”, new data center solutions must be space- and energy-efficient while supporting multi-faceted expansion to keep ahead of users’ data storage needs. Engineers are leveraging open industry standards like PCI Express (PCIe) and SAS/SATA to create efficient architectures that address current and future data center requirements. With only limited input and output signal conditioning written directly into these standards, hardware design has been constrained by cable and PCB attenuation of high-speed serial data. Even within a single rack of equipment, signals that remain on backplanes will exhibit losses beyond those detailed in the PCIe standard. This article explains how a pair of National’s new PowerWise 4-lane bi-directional transceivers (DS50PCI401 and DS64BR401) directly address interconnect attenuation challenges with capabilities beyond standards-dictated signal conditioning.