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This paper presents an analytic model for characterizing the traffic in wireless networks using IEEE 802.11 as the MAC protocol. The results of this paper are aimed at filling the existing void created by the absence of any accurate models or understanding of wireless traffic, critical for effective performance evaluation. Our results show that the behavior of wireless traffic can vary significantly from the characteristics of traffic in wired networks. We show that the operating mechanism of 802.11 MAC leads to "pacing" in the wireless traffic. Additionally, the interarrival times are best characterized by a multimodal distribution, In sharp contrast to the models used for for wired networks. The analytic model has been verified through extensive simulations and is applicable to both ad hoc and infrastructure based wireless networks.