Ensuring reliability is a key requirement for using wireless mesh networks in industrial applications. Analytical models provide a valuable support in the design of reliable networks, especially for large scale applications, where simulations do not provide the required scalability. This paper proposes an analytical model for multi-hop IEEE 802.15.4 networks that incorporates significant improvements compared to previous models.

Comparisons of the model with simulations using the MiXiM framework for OMNeT++ exhibit a very good compliance. The analytical model is therefore adequate for assessment of very large wireless mesh networks. Additionally, the model yields new insights into the characteristics of IEEE 802.15.4 networks, regarding the impact of acknowledgment collisions and the influence of hidden nodes on retransmissions.