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We consider the problem of finding the jointly optimal end-to-end communication rates, routing, power allocation and transmission scheduling for wireless networks. In particular, we focus on finding the resource allocation that achieves fair end-to-end communication rates. Using realistic models of several rate and power adaption schemes, we show how this cross-layer optimization problem can be formulated as a nonlinear mathematical program. We develop a specialized solution method, based on a nonlinear column generation technique, and prove that it converges to the globally optimal solution. We present computational results from a large set of networks and discuss the insight that can be gained about the influence of power control, spatial reuse, routing strategies and variable transmission rates on network performance.