The performance of radio over fiber (RoF) links using low cost optoelectronic components is assessed for distributed antenna applications in next generation wireless systems. Important design issues are discussed and an example link design is presented for a wireless system requiring the transmission of four radio channels per link direction, each with 100 MHz bandwidth, modulation complexity of 256-QAM and 2048 OFDM subcarriers. We show that the noise introduced by the RoF links does not have a significant impact on wireless range, provided the wireless system has uplink power control. Finally, we compare the cost and performance of RoF links for this application with alternative link types that use digitized radio transmission and show that RoF is the optimum choice from a cost perspective.
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