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This study presents and thoroughly compares different alternatives to create DC links in distribution networks by means of voltage source converters (VSC). Such links give rise to fully controllable loops in nowadays radially operated systems, allowing higher levels of distributed generation penetration. Suitable VSC-based devices are reviewed and compared from several points of view, including topologies, degrees of freedom, operating ranges and performance. Several case studies, involving actual urban and rural distribution networks, are worked out to show the potential benefits provided by the use of the proposed smart links.