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The input power dynamic range (IPDR) of a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) gives the input power range within which an SOA can be operated error free. It is among the most important parameters describing the usability range of an SOA in an access network. In this paper, we give design guidelines to maximize the IPDR at a given gain. Our IPDR description indicates that a large IPDR can be obtained if SOAs are designed properly. A particular large IPDR is predicted to be found for well-designed quantum-dot (QD)-SOAs. We apply both theory and experiment to a 1.3- μm QD-SOA and investigate the IPDR as a function of bitrate, wavelength, and bias current. Large IPDRs of 41 and 36 dB are found for single-channel experiments with a signal quality of Q2 = 12.6 dB at 2.5 and 40 Gbit/s, respectively.