As wavelength converters based on four-wave mixing (FWM) in semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) attract more attention, dynamic effects and wavelength dependent performance become key aspects to be investigated. Such issues are particularly important, as complex configurations are likely to be used to overcome challenges like tunability and polarization dependence. In this paper a numerical model is used to predict the dynamic performance of three FWM configurations and an analytical model is used to derive design rules. First, the wavelength dependent behavior of a wavelength converter is investigated and the requirement for a widely tunable converter is identified. Secondly, a configuration for extinction ratio (ER) improvement is studied and novel design rules are obtained analytically, tested experimentally and explained by the numerical model; experimental results with ER improvement at 10 Gb/s were achieved for the first time. The third configuration studied is a dual-pump arrangement enabling wide tunability. Fixed input/tunable output and tunable input/fixed output configurations are discussed in terms of optical signal-to-noise ratio and tunability. Design rules are extracted and verified for all three configurations that are likely to be deployed: simple wavelength converters, regenerating converters and tunable wavelength converters.