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Rate-distortion, based error control schemes to reduce the error rate in wireless image communication are examined. Although error correction codes can effectively protect transmitted bits, the introduced overhead bits decreases the available channel capacity. Based on the rate-distortion model of embedded wavelet image coders, an unequal error protection scheme with error resilience is designed. That is, according to the different importance of bits, packets of bits in the compressed image data are protected by error correction codes with different correction capability. The experimental results in this work show the proposed rate-distortion based error correction scheme good error protection as well as low overhead in the compressed bitstream.