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Several recent studies have addressed the suitability of current wireless technologies for industrial communications which, frequently, are requested to cope with severe timing constraints. Most of the analysis that have lately appeared in the literature have focused on the performance offered by the lower layers of the communication stack. However, in order to obtain a complete picture, it is important to analyze how this gets coupled with the features of higher layer protocols typically employed by industrial communication applications. In this paper, we investigate the performance obtained by an application layer protocol, derived from those currently employed by wired fieldbuses, running over COTS devices based on two popular wireless communication standards, namely, IEEE 802.15.4 and IEEE 802.11. In particular, we present a mapping of the application service elements onto the services offered by the mentioned wireless systems and discuss some possible design choices. A prototype of the application layer protocol is then implemented for each considered wireless technology and the performance figures evaluated by means of experimental measurements.