Linearization technologies that can be used for linearizing RoF transmission are reviewed. Three main linearization methods, i.e.
electrical analog linearization, optical linearization, and electrical digital linearization are presented and compared. Analog linearization can be achieved using analog predistortion circuits, and can be used for suppression of odd order nonlinear distortion components, such as third and fifth order. Optical linearization includes mixed-polarization, dual-wavelength, optical channelization and the others, implemented in optical domain, to suppress both even and odd order nonlinear distortion components, such as second and third order. Digital predistortion has been a widely used linearization method for RF power amplifiers. However, digital linearization that requires analog to digital converter is severely limited to hundreds of MHz bandwidth. Instead, analog and optical linearization provide broadband linearization with up to tens of GHz. Therefore, for broadband radio over fiber transmission that can be used for future broadband cloud radio access networks, analog and optical linearization are more appropriate than digital linearization. Generally speaking, both analog and optical linearization are able to improve spur-free dynamic range greater than 10 dB over tens of GHz. In order for current digital linearization to be used for broadband radio over fiber transmission, the reduced linearization complexity and increased linearization bandwidth are required. Moreover, some digital linearization methods in which the complexity can be reduced, such as Hammerstein type, may be more promising and require further investigation.
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