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This paper addresses the optimal number of simultaneous data transmissions that maximize the system throughput in an MIMO WLAN. To facilitate simultaneous packet transmissions, both transceivers have to exchange preambles to calculate the channel state information. This exchange is combined with the RTS (request to send)/CTS (clear to send) handshake which is used to contend for the channel in WLANs. This study presents an expression for the optimal number of simultaneous data transmissions under the distributed coordinate function mechanism derived using the Markov chain model, as well as an analytical formula for the optimal system throughput given the length of the contention window and the number of nodes in the network. The analytical results show that the system throughput cannot be enhanced by simply increasing the number of simultaneous data transmissions.