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This paper demonstrates the respective roles that combined index- and gain-coupling play in the overall link performance of distributed feedback (DFB) lasers. Their impacts on both static and dynamic properties such as slope efficiency, resonance frequency, damping rate, and chirp are investigated. Simulation results are compared with experimental data with good agreement. Transmission-oriented optimization is then demonstrated based on a targeted specification. The design tradeoffs are revealed, and it is shown that a modest combination of index- and gain-coupling enables optimum transmission at 10 Gbit/s.