In this article, physical layer awareness in access, core, and metro networks is addressed, and a Physical Layer Aware Network Architecture Framework for the Future Internet is presented and discussed, as proposed within the framework of the European ICT Project 4WARD. Current limitations and shortcomings of the Internet architecture are driving research trends at a global scale toward a novel, secure, and flexible architecture. This Future Internet architecture must allow for the co-existence and cooperation of multiple networks on common platforms, through the virtualization of network resources. Possible solutions embrace a full range of technologies, from fiber backbones to wireless access networks. The virtualization of physical networking resources will enhance the possibility of handling different profiles, while providing the impression of mutual isolation. This abstraction strategy implies the use of well elaborated mechanisms in order to deal with channel impairments and requirements, in both wireless (access) and optical (core) environments.