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We present an analytical framework for the performance evaluation of medium access control (MAC) protocols with and without carrier sensing operating in mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs). The model captures the functionality of MAC protocols together with the characterization of packet reception under a realistic physical layer that impacts the performance of the MAC protocols due to interference caused by concurrent transmissions, channel fading caused by multi-path effect, and node mobility. The model reveals the interplay between the MAC protocol functionality and network parameters, and provides new insight on the performance of MAC protocols operating in multi-hop wireless networks. The analytical results are corroborated with results obtained using discrete-event simulations.