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This paper proposes a new approach for joint source and channel coding (JSCC) of meshes, simultaneously providing scalability and optimized resilience against transmission errors. An unequal error protection approach is followed, to cope with the different error-sensitivity levels characterizing the various resolution and quality layers produced by the input scalable source codec. The number of layers and the protection levels to be employed for each layer are determined by solving a joint source and channel coding problem. In this context, a novel fast algorithm for solving the optimization problem is conceived, enabling a real-time implementation of the JSCC rate-allocation. An instantiation of the proposed JSCC approach is demonstrated for MeshGrid, which is a scalable 3-D object representation method, part of MPEG-4 AFX. In this context, the L-inflnite distortion metric is employed, which is to our knowledge a unique feature in mesh coding. Numerical results show the superiority of the L-inflnite norm over the classical L-2 norm in a JSCC setting. One concludes that the proposed joint source and channel coding approach offers resilience against transmission errors, provides graceful degradation, enables a fast real-time implementation, and preserves all the scalability features and animation capabilities of the employed scalable mesh codec.