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In centralized wireless networks, reducing the transmission power normally leads to higher network transport throughput. In this paper, we investigate power control in a different scenario, where the network adopts distributed MAC layer coordination mechanisms. We first consider widely adopted RTS/CTS based MAC protocols. We show that an optimal power control protocol should use higher transmission power than the "just enough" power in order to improve spatial utilization. The optimal protocol has a minimal transmission floor area of Theta(dijdmax), where dmax is the maximal transmission range and dij is the link length. This surprisingly implies that if a long link is broken into several short links, then the sum of the transmission floors reserved by the short links is still comparable to that reserved by the long link. Thus, using short links does not necessarily lead to higher throughput. Another consequence of this is that, with the optimal RTS/CTS based MAC, rate control can at best provide a factor of 2 improvement in transport throughput. We then extend our results to other distributed MAC protocols which uses physical carrier sensing or busy-tone as the control signal. Our simulation results show that the optimal power controlled scheme outperforms other popular MAC layer power control protocols.