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3G wireless networks such as UMTS are currently providing wide area Internet access. However, the Internet protocols exhibit a suboptimal performance in such scenarios. In this paper we first characterize a live UMTS link from the IP level. We identify critical features such as high latency, delay spikes, high packet loss probability and connectivity gaps, specially when the user moves between cells. Next, we test a set of TCP configurations, demonstrating that TCP performance can be optimized over UMTS by the usage of adequate end-to-end mechanisms and parameter values. Finally, we perform a preliminary study of applications behavior over UMTS.