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IEEE 802.11 is worldwide established and the most used protocol for wireless local area networks (WLANs). In this paper, we propose an improved analytical model that calculates IEEE 802.11 DCF performance taking into account both the packet retry limits and transmission errors for the IEEE 802.11a protocol. Validation of our new analytical performance model results is carried out by comparison with the simulation results using the OPNETTM simulation package. We explore the effect of transmission errors, packet retry limits, data rate and network size on the performance of the basic access scheme, in terms of throughput, packet delay, packet drop time and drop probability.