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The system configuration and future possibility of a coherent optical transmission system using subcarrier multiplexing (SCM) techniques are described. First, signal multiplexing techniques for coherent optical transmission are compared, and appropriate application for coherent SCM system is discussed. By comparing optical modulation methods, optical frequency modulation (FM) using direct modulation of a DFB-LD and a heterodyne detection is shown to be feasible. lkansmission system using a configuration with a local laser in the transmitter is unaffected by polarization and is cost-effective. Phase noise can be suppressed by a phase-noise-canceling circuit (PNC) in a heterodyne receiver. This circuit is also effective for compensating for the frequency instability of light sources. A theoretical simulation of a coherent SCM system showed that a 100 channel of 30-MHz FM signal or a 15 channel of 155-Mb/s signal can be distributed to 10 000 subscribers using single stage or double stage optical amplifiers. To confirm the feasibility of coherent SCM transmission, preliminary experiments have been performed with optical FM by 2-channels 560-Mb/s ASK-SCM signal and a heterodyne detection using 3-electrode DFB-LD's. With a local LD setting at the transmitter, a span-loss margin of 40.7 dB was obtained using single stage Er3+-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA), and the system was insensitive to the state of polarization in the transmission fiber. In a subcarrier transmission of 560 Mb/s DPSK signal, the PNC effectively suppressed phase noise and the influence of IF frequency deviation. Finally, application of coherent SCM combined with optical frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) is discussed. A model allocation of optical carriers is proposed and possible receiving channel number is estimated.