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This paper addresses network coding in wireless networks in conjunction with medium access control (MAC). It is known that coding over wired networks enables connections with rates that cannot be achieved by routing. However, the properties of wireless networks (e.g., omnidirectional transmissions, destructive interference, single transceiver per node, finite energy) modify the formulation of time-varying network coding in a way that reflects strong interactions with underlying MAC protocols and deviates from the classical approach used in wired network coding. To perform network coding over conflict-free transmission schedules, predetermined network realizations are separately activated by a time-division mechanism and the content of network flows is derived through network coding to optimize performance measures such as achievable throughput and energy costs. A systematic method is presented to construct linear wireless network codes and interactions with MAC schedules are discussed under wireless assumptions. Network coding is also extended to operate with arbitrary (random or scheduled access based) MAC protocols. Alternatively, conflict-free transmission schedules are jointly constructed with network codes by decomposing wireless networks into subtrees and employing graph coloring on simplified subtree graphs. Finally, network coding and plain routing are compared in terms of throughput, energy and delay performance under different MAC solutions.