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We have modeled the noise properties of a novel waveguide device with regenerative properties. The device consists of alternating sections of saturable gain and absorption, which give a nonlinear power transfer function. We investigate the relative intensity noise spectra and signal-to-noise ratio after the device by both a small-signal analysis and large-signal simulation, and we show that the gain saturation gives noise redistribution at the mark level. We also examine the influence of the nonlinearity on the noise probability density function and show that the standard approximations of Gaussian and noncentral χ2 distributions do not give a satisfying description. The strength and weaknesses of the limiting cases of static transfer functions and linear noise transfer as well as the small-signal analysis are examined in the case of bit-error-rate estimation in a cascade of regenerators. The interplay between increased nonlinearity and noise is investigated and we show that the increased nonlinearity achieved by additional device sections can improve the cascadability although more amplified spontaneous emission noise is added.