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We design a cross-layer approach to aid in developing a cooperative solution using multi-packet reception (MPR), network coding (NC), and medium access (MAC). We construct a model for the behavior of the IEEE 802.11 MAC protocol and apply it to key small canonical topology components and their larger counterparts. The results obtained from this model match the available experimental results with fidelity. Using this model, we show that fairness allocation by the 802.11 MAC can significantly impede performance; hence, we devise a new MAC that not only substantially improves throughput, but provides fairness to flows of information rather than to nodes. We show that cooperation between NC, MPR, and our new MAC achieves super-additive gains of up to 6.3 times that of routing with the standard 802.11 MAC. Furthermore, we extend the model to analyze our MAC's asymptotic and throughput behaviors as the number of nodes increases or the MPR capability is limited to only a single node. Finally, we show that although network performance is reduced under substantial asymmetry or limited implementation of MPR to a central node, there are some important practical cases, even under these conditions, where MPR, NC, and their combination provide significant gains.