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This paper addresses the question of optimal packet size for data communication in energy constrained wireless sensor networks. Unlike previous work on packet length optimization in other wired and wireless networks, energy efficiency is chosen as the optimization metric. The use of fixed size packets is proposed in light of the limited resources and management costs in sensor networks. The optimal fixed packet size is then determined for a set of radio and channel parameters by maximizing the energy efficiency metric. Further, the effect of error control on packet size optimization and energy efficiency is examined. While retransmission schemes are found to be energy inefficient, it is shown that forward error correction can improve the energy efficiency eventhough it introduces additional parity bits and encoding/decoding energy consumptions. In this regard, binary BCH codes are found to be 15% more energy efficient than the best performing convolutional codes, which have thus far been considered for error control in sensor networks.