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To reduce medium access control (MAC) overhead and improve channel utilization, there has been extensive research on dynamically adjusting the channel access behavior of a contending station based on channel feedback information. This paper explores an alternative approach, named pipelined packet scheduling, to reduce the MAC overhead. MAC overheads can be divided into bandwidth-dependent and bandwidth-independent components and these overheads can both be reduced by using split-channel pipelining mechanisms, as demonstrated in this paper. In the past, pipelining mechanisms have not been well studied. This paper introduces two total pipelining schemes that attempt to fully pipeline contention resolution with data transmission. Further, the paper identifies shortcomings of total pipelining in the wireless environment and proposes a partial pipelining approach to overcome these shortcomings. Simulation results show that substantial performance improvement in channel utilization, average packet access delay, and access energy cost can be achieved with a properly designed scheme.