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In this paper we provide a comprehensive mathematical framework for performance evaluation in ad-hoc and sensor networks. This framework can be used to compute interference, capacity, delay and energy consumption. The novelty of our work is that we address, to the best of our knowledge for the first time, all major factors that collectively affect each performance metric. Consequently, our framework can be considered as accurate and reliable. Our approach provides valuable new insights into capabilities and limitations of multi-hop point-to-point networks; and helps to mitigate some misconceptions regrading the performance of these network types. For example, we demonstrate clearly that optimizing network topologies to reduce interference does not necessarily produce the best Carrier-to-interference ratio (C/I) or the highest capacity. Also, optimum C/I is no guarantee for maximum throughput. Further we show that low energy consumption and high capacity are not incompatible properties. Our framework can be used to design ad-hoc and sensor networks with a balanced combination of performance characteristics for different application types.