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In this paper, a novel ring laser platform is presented that uses a single active element, a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA), to provide both gain and gain modulation in the optical cavity. Gain modulation is achieved by an externally introduced optical pulsed signal. This signal periodically saturates the amplifier gain and forces the ring laser to mode lock. Using this laser platform, we demonstrate picosecond pulsetrain generation at repetition rates up to 40 GHz, either in single or multiwavelength operation mode. In particular, using rational harmonic mode locking, 2.5-ps pulses were obtained up to a 40-GHz repetition rate, while output pulses and output power were constant over a 20-nm tuning range. In addition, a multiwavelength optical signal was obtained using the same laser platform with the addition of a Fabry-Pe´rot filter for comb generation. Multiwavelength oscillation is possible due to the broad gain spectrum of the SOA used and its inhomogeneous line broadening. To this end, 48 oscillating wavelengths were obtained at the laser output, with 50-GHz line spacing. Combining both modes of operation, it was possible to mode lock the oscillating multiwavelength signal and to obtain at the output ten wavelength channels, simultaneously mode locked at a 30-GHz repetition rate. The mode-locked channels are temporarily synchronized and exhibit almost identical spectral and time characteristics.