In recent years, a wide variety of mobile computing devices has emerged, including portables, palmtops, and personal digital assistants. Providing adequate network connectivity for these devices will require a new generation of wireless LAN technology. In this paper we study media access protocols for a single channel wireless LAN being developed at Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center. We start with the MACA media access protocol first proposed by Karn  and later refined by Biba  which uses an RTS-CTS-DATA packet exchange and binary exponential back-off. Using packet-level simulations, we examine various performance and design issues in such protocols. Our analysis leads to a new protocol, MACAW, which uses an RTS-CTS-DS-DATA-ACK message exchange and includes a significantly different backoff algorithm.