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Joint design and optimization of traditionally independent problems such as routing and link scheduling have recently become one of the leading research trends in wireless mesh networks. Although technically challenging, cross-layering is, in fact, expected to bring significant benefits from the network resource exploitation standpoint to achieve high system utilization. In this article we propose a versatile framework for joint design of routing and link scheduling, introducing the notion of link activation constraints, which are related to the transceiver capability and the broadcast nature of the wireless medium. To this end, we introduce a taxonomy of wireless interference models to harmonize existing approaches presented in the literature. Finally, we evaluate the impact on network capacity of the various interference models when optimal joint routing and link scheduling are employed.