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A detailed numerical analysis of the nonlinear dynamics of a directly modulated 1.55 μm InGaAsP distributed-feedback laser diode (LD) is carried out. Results show that when simulating the nonlinear dynamics of LDs, it is important to account for the gain suppression being dependent on the injection current. Only when this dependency of gain suppression is included in the conventional single-mode rate equations, can excellent agreement between simulated and measured results be achieved. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.