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In this paper, we analyse the impact of the Contiki Operating System (OS), and its Carrier Sense Multiple Access and Collision Avoidance (CSMA-CA) implementation on an IEEE 802.15.4 node's throughput and wireless channel utilization. The analysis is based on Contiki's Rime networking protocol stack, and its target is to determine an upper bound for the stated metrics. We explain that in Contiki with CSMA-CA as a MAC layer protocol, a node's throughput is limited to 8.1 kbps, at maximum, even without power saving features. In order to maximize a node's transmission capability, we modified Contiki's CSMA-CA implementation. A number of simulations are performed, and it is observed that with our modifications node throughput reaches 45 kbps, at maximum. Simulation results for estimating the channel capacity with our modified CSMA-CA MAC layer protocol show that the average per-node delay is low when the offered data load remains below 100 kbps. For an offered load of 100 kbps, the channel drops almost 20% of packets. Going beyond 100 kbps results in large latencies and significant packet loss. Results presented in this paper can serve as basis for the available bandwidth estimation in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), QoS-based routing, and design of congestion control algorithm.