This paper presents successful 20 and 40 Gb/s potentially low-cost transmission experiments using 1310 nm directly modulated distributed feedback lasers (DMLs) in the very-short- to medium-range distances. This paper will recommend operating conditions for error-free transmission at these bit rates and distances. Pattern dependencies are identified. General characteristics of direct laser modulation are confirmed by dedicated simulation software and experiments. Unknown laser parameters needed to solve the rate equations are estimated by a given method based on measured and calculated small- and large-signal DML responses.