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A design-to-hardware methodology applied to the synthesis of handoff protocol for wireless ATM based on performance analysis techniques and genetic algorithms is presented. The process requires a choice between the tasks to be implemented in hardware and those to be implemented in software, i.e., the selection of the best HW/SW partition. This methodology uses a genetic algorithm to optimize an error function defined by the required performance and the implementation cost of the protocol. The protocol performance is analyzed by a modelling environment called Tangram-II. Hardware implementations using Synopsys and ALTERA tools are presented and compared to software implementations. The methodology is intended as a tool to help protocol designers to select the best performance/cost compromise.