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The design of packet radio networks involves a large number of issues which interact in a very complex fashion. Many of these pertain to the RF channel and its use, others pertain to the operational protocols. Clearly, no single model can be formulated which incorporates all the necessary parameters and leads to the optimum solution. The one essential element which complicates matters is that, contrary to point-to-point networks in which each channel is utilized by a single pair of nodes, the radio channel in packet radio networks is a multiaccess broadcast resource: i) in a given locality determined by radio connectivity, the channel is shared by many contending users, hence the need for channel access protocols; ii) radio is a broadcast medium and thus the action taken by a node has an effect on the actions taken by neighboring nodes and their outcome. Despite the complexity of the problem, there has been significant progress worth reporting on. The work accomplished so far has been either the analysis of specific examples of networks or an attempt to create models that would be useful in the design of general networks. The purpose of this paper is to survey the various modeling techniques that have been used for the performance analysis of packet radio networks, and to discuss the assumptions underlying these models, their scope of applicability, and some of the results obtained.