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A cross-layer mechanism to improve the performance of real-time applications over IEEE 802.16e metropolitan area networks is presented. The proposed mechanism uses channel quality and service quality information from the physical and medium access control layers, respectively, to determine the most suitable burst profile, transmission power level and media encoding rate for a connection, or even initialize a handover execution. The main contribution of this mechanism is the integration of the handover initiation into the cross layer logic, aiming to improve the overall system performance. Extensive simulation results show that the proposed mechanism offers significant performance improvement in terms of packet loss rate, power consumption, throughput, and system capacity.