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This paper investigates performance impairments due to constraints imposed by the MAC layer when single-mode fiber (SMF) is used to extend the reach of an IEEE 802.11 network. It is shown that data throughput decreases as fiber length increases. It is also noted that the network fails long before physical layer limitations set in due to the timeout values defined within the MAC protocol. This study is based on both variants of the IEEE 802.11 Distributed Coordination Function. Moreover, both UDP and TCP packet transmissions are taken into account. An experimental enquiry is initially developed to provide a set of validation points before extending these results by simulations using the OPNET platform. Finally, an analytical approximation is presented to these results that allows designers of Radio-over-fiber (RoF) systems to quickly and accurately predict the data throughput given the specific parameters of their network. To our knowledge, this is the first analysis of this kind for a long reach fiber system.