Synchrophasor technology opens a new window for power system observability. Phasor measurement units (PMUs) are able to provide synchronized and accurate data such as frequency, voltage and current phasors, vibration, and temperature for power systems. Thus, the utilization of PMUs has become quite important in the fast monitoring, protection, and even the control of new and complicated distribution systems. However, data quality and communication are the main concerns for synchrophasor applications. This study presents a comprehensive survey on wide-area monitoring systems (WAMSs), PMUs, data quality, and communication requirements for the main applications of PMUs in a modern and smart distribution system with a variety of energy resources and loads. In addition, the main challenges for PMU applications as well as opportunities for the future use of this intelligent device in distribution systems will be presented in this paper.