In the quest to transmit higher data rates over copper backplanes, various standards organizations such as the IEEE 802.3ba committee are proposing extensions to existing specifications. One possible path to achieving transmission at 100 Gb/s would be to move to a 4 x 25 Gb/s implementation. New component requirements for the channel must be defined to accommodate these higher signal speeds. A new approach is presented whereby a theoretically perfect channel is first characterized to establish the feasibility of transmitting a data rate of 25 Gb/s over copper backplanes. Subsequently, models of real components are inserted into the channel, and the resultant performance degradation is observed.