In this paper, a novel method degrading the combined effect of four-wave mixing (FWM) and amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) noise of the amplifier on the most heavily affected channel in an equally channel spaced wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) system containing in-line optical amplifiers is proposed. FWM effect is directly related to input powers of channels. So, FWM effect can be degraded by controlling channel input powers. In the proposed method, varying the input power of each channel in an optical fiber, the output optical signal to noise ratio (OSNR) values are evaluated and input powers of all channels are optimized in order to maximize the OSNR value of the channel having the lowest OSNR. To interpret the results obtained, output OSNR values for the minimum optical input power launched to the system by each channel are also computed. Being compared to the computed results for minimum optical input powers, the lowest output OSNR value among all channels for optimized input powers shows a 5.1867 dB increase in a 5-channel system, a 3.5988 dB increase in a 9-channel system, a 3.0855 dB increase in a 15-channel system and a 1.6795 dB increase for a 21-channel system. Furthermore, output OSNR values of all channels exhibit a significant increase. (c) 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.