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Modulation instability is thoroughly investigated and a simple analytical model for its power critically modifying the wave properties in terms of system parameters is derived and experimentally validated. The differences on the modulation instability gain spectrum in lossless and lossy optical fibers are analyzed based on theoretical models and numerical simulations. In particular the impact of background noise on the behavior of modulation instability is studied analytically and verified by measurements and simulations. The proposed analytical model is experimentally validated by monitoring the wave propagation along an optical fiber using a Brillouin optical time-domain analyzer. This way, the evolution of the optical signal traveling through optical fibers, especially, the pump depletion and the recurrence phenomenon are investigated.