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Due to the nature that high datarate leads to shorter transmission range, the performance enhancement by high datarate 802.11 WLANs may be degraded when applying high datarate to an 802.11 based multihop ad hoc network. In this paper, we evaluate, through extensive simulations, the performance of multihop ad hoc networks at multiple transmission datarates, in terms of the number of hops between source and destination, throughput, end-to-end delay and packet loss. The study is conducted based on both stationary chain topology and mesh topologies with or without node mobility. From numerical results on network performance based on chain topology, we conclude that there is almost no benefit by applying the highest datarate when the chain length is 6 hops or more. With node mobility in mesh topology, the benefit of using high datarate diminishes at even shorter number of hops. To explore the main reasons for this behavior, analyses on multihop end-to-end throughput and network k-connectivity have been conducted later in the paper, and correspondingly an auto-rate adaptation algorithm has been proposed.