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Optimal dynamic rate allocation among mobile stations for variable rate packet data transmission in a cellular wireless network is an NP-complete problem; therefore, suboptimal solutions to this problem are sought for. In this paper, three novel suboptimal dynamic rate adaptation schemes, namely, peak-interference-based rate allocation, sum-interference-based rate allocation, and mean-sense approximation-based rate allocation, are proposed for uplink packet data transmission in cellular variable spreading factor wide-band code division multiple access (WCDMA) networks. The performances of these schemes are compared to the performance of the optimal dynamic link adaptation for which the rate allocation is found by an exhaustive search. The optimality criterion is the maximization of the average number of radio link level frames transmitted per frame time under constrained signal-to-interference-plus-noise ratio (SINR) at the base station receiver. Two different error control alternatives for variable rate packet transmission environment are presented. We demonstrate that the dynamic rate adaptation problem under constrained SINR can be mapped into the radio link level throughput maximization problem with integrated rate and error control. Performance evaluation is carried out under random and directional micromobility models with uncorrelated and correlated long-term fading, respectively, in a cellular WCDMA environment for both the homogeneous (or uniform) and the nonhomogeneous (or nonuniform) traffic load scenarios.