Abstract: The growing popularity of the 802.11 standard for building local wireless networks has generated an extensive literature on the performance modelling of its MAC protocol. However, most of the available studies focus on the throughput analysis in saturation conditions, while very little has been done on investigating the interactions between the 802.11 MAC protocol and closed-loop transport protocols such as TCP. This paper addresses this issue by developing an analytical model to compute the stationary probability distribution of the number of backlogged nodes in a WLAN in the presence of persistent TCP-controlled download and upload data transfers. By embedding the network backlog distribution in the MAC protocol modelling, we can precisely estimate the throughput performance of TCP connections. A large set of experiments conducted in a real network validates the model correctness for a wide range of configurations. A particular emphasis is devoted to investigate and explain the TCP fairness characteristics. Our analytical model and the supporting experimental outcomes demonstrate that using default settings for the capacity of devices’ output queues provides a fair allocation of channel bandwidth to the TCP connections, independently of the number of downstream and upstream flows. Furthermore, we show that the TCP total throughput does not degrade by increasing the number of wireless stations.