We explore the advantages that integrated microwave photonics (IMWP) can bring to access networks. We first of all review the most common architectures of radio access networks (RANs) to identify the segments where microwave photonic components and radio over fiber links are located. Then, we provide a short description of the basic principles of IMWP with the aim of illustrating the current state of the art of this technology and its potentials. We discuss the possibilities of incorporating IMWP technology into the RAN front-haul. In particular, we first of all identify the required MWP functionalities and then discuss the feasibility of implementing these in light of the current and near future state of the art.
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