An integral multi-disciplinary chain optimization based on a high-level cascaded Shannon-based channel modeling is proposed. It is argued that the analog part of the front-end (FE) will become a bottleneck in the overall chain. This requires a FE-centric design approach, aiming for maximizing the effective data capacity, and for an optimal exploitation of this capacity for given power dissipation. At high level, this asks for a new view on the so-called client-server relations in the chain. To substantiate this vision, some examples of research projects in our group are addressed. These include FE-driven transmission schemes, duty-cycled operation with wake-up radio, programmable FEs, smart antenna-FE combinations, smart and flexible converters, and smart pre and post correction.