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The IEEE 802.15.4 protocol has the ability to support time-sensitive wireless sensor network (WSN) applications due to the guaranteed time slot (GTS) medium access control mechanism. Recently, several analytical and simulation models of the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol have been proposed. Nevertheless, currently available simulation models for this protocol are both inaccurate and incomplete, and in particular they do not support the GTS mechanism. In this paper, we propose an accurate OPNET simulation model, with focus on the implementation of the GTS mechanism. The motivation that has driven this work is the validation of the network calculus based analytical model of the GTS mechanism that has been previously proposed and to compare the performance evaluation of the protocol as given by the two alternative approaches. Therefore, in this paper we contribute an accurate OPNET model for the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol. Additionally, and probably more importantly, based on the simulation model we propose a novel methodology to tune the protocol parameters such that a better performance of the protocol can be guaranteed, both concerning maximizing the throughput of the allocated GTS as well as concerning minimizing frame delay.