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The radio link control (RLC) protocol in Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) contains a suite of features and options which make the protocol very flexible and adaptive to operation in different radio environments and for various applications. We analyze the various features and functions associated with the RLC protocol and evaluate the performance over UMTS specific physical link through simulations. Specifically, we examine the detail behavior of the protocol under various conditions and options, including polling, status transmission mechanism, and packet discard functions. We compare different polling mechanisms and examine their impacts on the delay and throughput as well as acknowledgement overhead. We also compare different discard parameters and service rates and evaluate their impacts on the overall performance. Finally we provide quantitative results for web-browsing traffic which is considered as one of the future applications in 3G wireless networks.