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In previous work, it has been found that using a data burst with size varying according to the encountered channel stationarity can improve efficiency and QoS for burst- by-burst wireless communication systems. In this paper, adaptive modulation is incorporated as a further means for improving spectral efficiency. The modulation scheme is switched according to the operating channel conditions, with an adaption metric based on the MSE. When the channel conditions are favorable, a high-throughput modulation mode is used for efficiency. Conversely, a robust lower-throughput mode is selected under adverse channel conditions, for quality. Obtained results show the utility of adaptive modulation in conjunction with a variable-size burst for optimizing spectral efficiency, while maintaining a prescribed level of QoS.