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This paper provides an analytical approach for optimization of an adaptive multi-dwell cell-search procedure in UMTS-based W-CDMA systems. This optimization is against the critical measures in cell acquisition, such as "overall acquisition time" and "the probability of false lock". Also, other key system design issues such as power consumption, the required memory, and the implementation complexity are considered. The adaptation procedure modifies the search parameters based on the mode of operation and the current search performance and/or channel characteristics.