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Model abstraction techniques have been widely used to accelerate simulations in the context of homogeneous wired networks. However, the application of these techniques to wireless networks is rare. The authors investigate how model abstraction techniques can be applied to simulations of mobile ad hoc networks (MANETS). The authors focus on the time-stepped (TS) simulation technique and its effect on simulation accuracy, analysing the simulation error introduced and providing a formal expression. This technique is implemented in a new simulator, session level simulator (SSIM), a TS session-level MANET simulator developed in the course of this research. The results of experiments conducted using SSIM show that the TS simulation can speedup MANET simulation and improve scalability by reducing the number of events and the simulation running time. Moreover, the study on simulation error illustrates that besides the length of the time step, parameters of mobility and traffic models also have great effect on simulation accuracy.