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The LTE radio interface for 3GPP Release 8 was specified recently. This article describes the LTE link-layer protocols, which abstract the physical layer and adapt its characteristics to match the requirements of higher layer protocols. The LTE link-layer protocols are optimized for low delay and low overhead and are simpler than their counterparts in UTRAN. The state of- the-art LTE protocol design is the result of a careful crosslayer approach where the protocols interact with each other efficiently. This article provides a thorough overview of this protocol stack, including the sub-layers and corresponding interactions in between them, in a manner that is more intuitive than in the respective 3GPP specifications.