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Building upon recent advances in radio over fiber (RoF) technology, in this paper we propose a novel architecture comprised of a distributed antenna system (DAS) and a central processing unit which are connected through an optical fiber backbone. The flexibility of the fiber-connected DAS architecture facilitates deployment of various broadband wireless access networks in an efficient manner. In particular we elaborate on two potential applications of this platform, namely cognitive WLAN over fiber (CWLANoF) and femto-coordinated multipoint transmission (femto-CoMP). We present numerical analysis to demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed architecture over conventional networking standards, and discuss research challenges arising from this architecture and possible future research directions.