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The authors address the short-term quality of service (QoS) issue caused by the unexpected nature of traffic and network operators' expectations of a high network utilisation. The authors develop a short-term QoS guaranteeing scheduler, called the short-term QoS deficit round robin (SQ-DRR), which adapts the allocated bandwidth to guarantee delay constraints. The key feature of the scheduler is that it guarantees the delay constraint for the short-term aggregate burst traffic violating pre-contracted descriptors without losing long-term fairness. The performance of the scheduler with and without an admission control scheme is evaluated for non-stationary long-range dependent traffic. The simulation results indicate that the SQ-DRR performs well in dynamic burst traffic conditions.