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The method of choice to investigate radio communication systems on a system or network level are computer simulations. The behaviour of the physical layer is often modelled by the error rate (ER) behaviour, e.g. the bit error rate (BER) or packet error rate (PER), of previous detailed investigations of the physical layer. A number of methods are known to approximate the ER curves, all of which have weaknesses. This paper proposes a novel method which is based on properties of the resulting ER curves rather than those of the physical layer. The approximation equations contain parameters which can be determined by fitting methods. The usefulness and performance of the novel approximation methods is shown with the help of selected examples.