Abstract: The exponential traffic growth, demand for high speed wireless data communications, as well as incessant deployment of innovative wireless technologies, services, and applications, have put considerable pressure on the mobile network operators (MNOs). Consequently, cellular access network performance in terms of capacity, quality of service, and network coverage needs further considerations. In order to address the challenges, MNOs, as well as equipment vendors, have given significant attention to the small-cell schemes based on cloud radio access network (C-RAN). This is due to its beneficial features in terms of performance optimization, cost-effectiveness, easier infrastructure deployment, and network management. Nevertheless, the C-RAN architecture imposes stringent requirements on the fronthaul link for seamless connectivity. Digital radio over fiber-based common public radio interface (CPRI) is the fundamental means of distributing baseband samples in the C-RAN fronthaul. However, optical links which are based on CPRI have bandwidth and flexibility limitations. Therefore, these limitations might constrain or make them impractical for the next generation mobile systems which are envisaged not only to support carrier aggregation and multi-band but also envisioned to integrate technologies like millimeter-wave (mm-wave) and massive multiple-input multiple-output antennas into the base stations. In this paper, we present comprehensive tutorial on technologies, requirements, architectures, challenges, and proffer potential solutions on means of achieving an efficient C-RAN optical fronthaul for the next-generation network such as the fifth generation network and beyond. A number of viable fronthauling technologies such as mm-wave and wireless fidelity are considered and this paper mainly focuses on optical technologies such as optical fiber and free-space optical. We also present feasible means of reducing the system complexity, cost, bandwidth requirement, and latency in the fronthaul. Furthermore, means of achieving the goal of green communication networks through reduction in the power consumption by the system are considered.