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The success of next-generation mobile communication systems depends on the ability of service providers to engineer new added-value multimedia-rich services, which impose stringent constraints on the underlying delivery/transport architecture. The reliability of real-time services is essential for the viability of any such service offering. The sporadic packet loss typical of wireless channels can be addressed using appropriate techniques such as the widely used packet-level forward error correction. In designing channel-aware media streaming applications, two interrelated and challenging issues should be tackled: accuracy of characterizing channel fluctuations and effectiveness of application-level adaptation. The first challenge requires thorough insight into channel fluctuations and their manifestations at the application level, while the second concerns the way those fluctuations are interpreted and dealt with by adaptive mechanisms such as FEC. In this article we review the major issues that arise when designing a reliable media streaming system for wireless networks.