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The emerging applications for 3G and 4G wireless systems typically require highly heterogeneous and time-varying quality of service from the underlying protocol layers. The wireless links, however, provide only an unreliable communication channel that suffers from temporal outages. As a consequence, protocol mechanisms are needed that, based on the unreliable wireless links, provide the different service qualities required by the emerging applications. We identify the emerging IP-based applications for 3G and 4G wireless systems and categorize their QoS requirements. We discuss the wireless access mechanisms that show promise as the basis for supporting these applications. We then propose a set of protocol mechanisms that, based on the discussed wireless access mechanisms, provide the required QoS for the different application categories.